By Steve Baltimore / February 17th, 2022
|Title||Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires|
|Publisher||Koei Tecmo America|
|Release Date||February 15th, 2022|
|Platform||Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC|
I have always loved the Dynasty Warriors franchise, but I never played one of the Empires titles. I have finally decided to remedy this by checking out Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires for review. I was pretty sure the 1 vs. 100 action would be fun like always, but I wasn’t quite sure how deep, or complex, the strategy elements would be. I like some elements like that, but I always felt things like Nobunaga’s Ambition was a bit too much. Let’s dig in, and see how my first Empires title went.
Like other Dynasty Warriors titles, the game has several different scenarios you can play, each taking place in a different era with a unique story. Most of these are ones players are very familiar with, like the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Three Kingdoms, but there is one that really stood out to me, A Gathering of Heroes. In this scenario, you can form your kingdom with most of the famous officers across the entire franchise. I was shocked at just how many choices you had here, but Koei Tecmo took this a step further by allowing you to use your custom created officers as well. This level of customization means you can have a new experience each time you play.
Graphically, I won’t say the Nintendo Switch version is the prettiest offering, but it looks nice given the console limitations. The models and shadows have certainly been toned down, but there are still plenty of enemies on the screen at once, and the frame rate is pretty solid most of the time. There is the occasional slight slowdown when a horde of enemies is bunched up in one area, but it’s nothing game breaking.
The soundtrack is pretty basic for a Dynasty Warriors title, but that’s not a bad thing. I always loved the high energy battle themes, and the calmer themes for those epic moments. The voice acting is all Japanese as you would expect, and the cast is wonderful as always. Created officers have some voices you can choose from as well, and some of the cut scenes they appear in are also voiced.
When gameplay begins, you will be given a set of objectives to achieve before the next war council. These goals can include, gaining more food, soldiers, or gold via politics. Others will have you strolling with your officers to gain their favor, or trying to recruit some from other nations. There is usually an invasion goal as well. I mean, you are trying to unify China, so kicking some ass is required here. These goals are generally very achievable, but doing them all in the time limit can be a stretch. As the game progresses, you can suggest goals for the Emperor to consider, or pick them for yourself when you become the Emperor.
When you stroll around to interact with officers, you can just use the menu, or you can walk around the city in full 3D and explore it. Once you have built up enough affection with an officer, they may even ask you to accompany them. You can wander around the city talking to folks, hunt down some foes outside of the city, or even customize your hideout. I thought this was an interesting way to add some interactive elements here.
Let’s dig into the action part of this one, with the castle invasions. As I said above, you set an invasion goal for each war council cycle. Once this begins, you are put into the Musou style battles we all know and love. These battles start with you choosing a secret plan, and these come in various forms. Some plans will make the battlefield erupt with fire, or summon a lightning bear to lay waste to your foes. You will have to complete the battlefield objective to put these into action, but these are nothing too major. Players will also gain some affection with the officer whose plan they chose.
On the battlefield, you will need to take over enemy bases in order to storm the castle. If you take over catapult bases, you can start using these doomsday devices on your foes, and taking over all the watchtowers will allow you to scale the castle walls and bust the gates open. If you cannot take all these towers over, you can always clear a path for your battering ram to just bust the gates open. Once the storming of the castle begins, just defeat the leader to take this land as your own. At the end of the battle, you can recruit some of the enemy officers to your side as well. This will all work in reverse if you decide to defend a territory. You will have to keep the invading forces from taking your castle for a certain amount of time.
I have to say, I had a lot of fun with Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires. The level of customization here is crazy, the political parts of the game are easy to understand, it’s fun to stroll around with officers, and the combat here is great. I feel like if I were playing this on a higher difficulty the strategy part would get insane, but there are a few different levels to choose from. This means every player can adjust this until it feels right to them. It took me around 10 hours to do one campaign and see a good bit of the events this one has to offer. There is still plenty of gameplay on the table here for me. If you are fan of these games, this one would certainly be worth the $59.99 asking price. There is a lot of meat here to keep players happy for a long time. If you want a graphically stunning version, the Switch version probably isn’t the way to go, but it runs well enough that if you want to have it on the go, it certainly isn’t a bad choice.
Game was provided by the publisher
Dynasty WarriorsDynasty Warriors 9Dynasty Warriors 9 EmpiresKoei TecmoMusounintendo switchReviews