For those unaware, Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires will be released sometime next year and is shaping up to be another bittersweet game by Koei. It will, for some ungodly reason, not have English voices like the equally upsetting Warriors Orochi 3 and Samurai Warriors Chronicles. Koei’s Empires titles have always been my favorite of their releases and I can’t help but struggle with my feelings over this announcement.
In other news, I’ve been spending a good bit of time playing Samurai Warriors 2: Empires and Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends. I find myself deeply saddened by the less prominent RPG elements in DW7: Xtreme Legends. The Koei formula simply isn’t as addictive when experience points and special skills are taken out of the equation. A bigger issue overall is the lack of content in DW7: Xtreme Legends. There aren’t nearly enough levels in Legend Mode to justify the price tag and the Challenge Mode is a complete joke. The three new characters for Wei are great additions. Pang De might still be a loser, but Guo Jia and Wang Yi are fantastic!
As for SW2: Empires, it just makes me wish Samurai Warriors 3: Empires would see localization. Even if it had to be sub-only, I’d just be glad to have it. I sorely miss the strategic elements of these awesome Koei expansions.
Years ago, I passed up on buying Dynasty Warriors 6. Frankly, it was terrible. I’d purchased practically every Koei Warriors title until DW6; it was that much of a letdown. The awful Renbu attack system, the abundance of Free Mode only characters, and the hideous new character designs all rapidly nailed the coffin down. I did purchase and enjoy DW6: Empires, but even that couldn’t redeem the original.
Now, for $9.50, I have finally purchased Dynasty Warriors 6. I figured Koei’s Three Kingdoms abortion was worth the price of two DW7 costume packs. Maybe. I can’t be certain. Now and then I would get the urge to buy this substandard game only to forgo it in disgust. At that price-point, I finally caved in. We’ll see if time has improved DW6 like a fine Musou wine or caused it to rot like a greasy meat bun.
I’ve spent several hours playing Dynasty Warriors 6 and, I have to say, it has not improved much. While much of my initial dislike has seen little reason to fade away, some other issues have come to light. The camera is way too far back. Enemies look like tiny slivers of resistance and objectives are difficult to focus upon.
Unlike previous DW titles, the combat system requires no finesse or strategy thanks to the horrid Renbu system. On a more personal note, what’s with the choices for who got a Musou mode! Dian Wei, Zhang Liao, and Diao Chan got stories, but not Sun Ce, Ling Tong, or Cao Pi. What were they thinking? The fact that they didn’t offer a single new character is damning enough, but then they choose Meng “Nanman Goober” Huo of all cut characters to bring back for Empires 6 and Strikeforce! Wow.
It seems like Koei did everything they could to infuriate their fans with this entry. They cut several characters, cloned several remaining characters, gave less than half of the playable cast story modes, ruined numerous character designs, and trashed the gameplay. What a shame.
There are a few areas where beams of light manage to crack through the grimy surface. While most characters received terrible art shifts (Sun Ce, Gan Ning, Liu Bei, Zhang He, Sun Shang Xiang, Xu Huang, Lu Xun, Ma Chao, Wei Yan, Ling Tong, Guan Yu, Lu Bu, Huang Gai, Pang Tong, and many others!), there were a few positive changes. I think Lu Meng, Sun Quan, Sun Jian, Xiahou Dun, and Xiahou Yuan all got great updates.
The base system taken from Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires was certainly a big success and I wish it had been implemented into DW7: Xtreme Legends. The strategic elements were quite impressive in this one and were even further improved in DW6: Empires. The last credit I can give DW6. At least it has an English dub, unlike several of the more recently released Koei titles.