The framerate still looks a little choppy like it was in DW7. Peons definitely became worse as the series progressed. In DW3 and probably 2 they do generally attack you when they have an opening and pose a somewhat of a threat even on normal difficulty. I'll probably be passing on DW8 though as it doesn't seem to be much of an improvement over DW7 which I was disappointed in.
There was an "Aggressive A.I." Gameshark code for Dynasty Warriors 4, it made the game so much better. I hope something like the PC version of Devil May Cry 4's Legendary Dark Knight mode becomes standard in next gen H&S games, high enemy count & they wouldn't be afraid to attack.