Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is a spinoff to the main series. It’s more of a tactical take on the pure action normally found in them. While it offers some good gameplay loops on the PS Vita as a portable game, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Empires’ main mode is called, well, Empires. Players choose both a scenario and an officer to try and do their best to control the land. They’re not alone as they can gain supporters through menial tasks like offering gold, or going on missions for them. Players can even join armies to better their success rate. Aside from the main mission of taking over territories, side quests offer extra gold and items for slaying wolves, protecting caravans, and so forth. The combat is the same as Dynasty Warriors 8 and all DW games for that matter: run at guys and slash away. While the core hook is there, even for the series, it’s repetitive, offering very little in terms of variety.
Not to mention it’s technically atrocious. The frame rate dips constantly and while the series has never been about looks, this one looks rough for a PS Vita port. The most damning thing of all is the lack of content, which is usually what these games are brimming with. Aside from Empires, there’s Free Mode, which allows players to take on missions randomly as sort of a testing ground to try out different officers. There’s also online multiplayer, which is hard to connect to. Players can customize maps and characters, but it adds very little appeal.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires feels like an addition that should have been included in the main DW8 game. It’s lacking in content even for this series. That, plus the technical hiccups, keeps it from being the addictive portable brawler that it should be. It’s fun for a bit, but the love wears thin fast.
Score: 2/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review copy. This article was originally published on December 2, 2015 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.