Samurai Warriors 4 Empires is the second expansion to the original SW4 release. Every Empires title from Dynasty to Samurai has been localized for the U.S. except for Samurai Warriors 3. It’s been nine long years since SW2 so was the wait worth it? Let’s get to it.
The core gameplay of beating the crap out of samurai is still here, but it’s accompanied by a tactics overlay. Players choose a scenario, like the Battle of Sekigahara, and then choose a family to play with, like the Shimazus. The game is similar to Risk in that the goal is to conquer the world, or in this case Japan. In-between invasions, players must build their empire’s resources. Turns can be used to adopt alliances, grow crops, tax the citizens, build up army strategies, and so forth. There’s a lot to do and it seems overwhelming at first, but given a few hours, it all starts to sink in. And if it doesn’t, well turns can be handed over to the player’s strategist to do it for them.
Players can take as long, or short a time to conquer Japan as need be. In order to start an invasion, gold and supplies must be met, which can be accumulated during the above stages. Battles play out by capturing points on the map, which weaken the other army and expose the army’s general. After waging war, officers must be laid out around the map to both ensure a good party for attack as well as defense. Again, it’s like Risk.
It may be a simple twist on the original game’s mechanics, but it works and it works well. This writer’s first conquest took him about nine hours, which was split between two play sessions. It’s hard to put down with the mentality of “just one more” always striking the brain due to the battles relatively quicker pace. At the same time, that’s all there is to the game. There’s little in the way of story and even choosing another family, or scenario will result in a sense of diminishing returns.
Samurai Warriors 4 Empires is awesome and more addicting than this writer felt possible. That said it felt like a mode that should have been included with the original. It’s good, really good, but the lack of varied modes is distressing despite its wealth of options. The allure, simply, fades fast.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review copy. This article was originally published on March 11, 2016 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.