Review by redskinStu
"Liked DW 4: Empires? You'll love this game."
As a huge fan of the Dynasty warriors series, I admit I'm a bit biased when it comes to reviewing DW games (someone has to make up for the magazine reviews).
I was a huge fan of DW4: Empires, and I hoped Koei would make an updated version. Well, I wasn't disappointed.
Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires uses the all the new tweaks from the latest game in the series, then added some "Axis and Allies" style strategy to the game.
GRAPHICS: 9 out of 10. I've always felt the DW games had great graphics, and DW 5: Empires ahs the best in the series. The outfits and weapons of the characters are very well detailed, the special effects such as Musou attacks are very dramatic and the different settings are all well illustrated.
Character animations are very fluid and two officers dueling each other look very much like two people fighting in real life.
Most of the levels are translations of their DW 5 counterparts, but some are new and unique. Add in music tracks from most of the previous DW games, a great bonus (Xu Chang from DW 4 is a must).
PLAYABILITY: 9 out of 10. When you think about everything that goes on in a DW game, it's amazing there isn't more slowdown. The games plays quite quickly 99 per cent of the time, with the odd bit of slowdown during very intense action such as multiple officers, special weapons, etc. all happening at once.
The controls are simple to learn, yet quite detailed in execution. Each character has many different moves they can use, special attacks etc.
The strategy part of the game is where DW 5: Empires really shines.
While DW 5 is a translation of what happened in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms book, DW 5: Empires allows you to tell your own story. You can take charge of one province of China circa 200 A.D. while choosing your own strategy to conquer, whether it's brute force, guile and a bit of diplomacy or a combination of both.
The choices you make governing your provinces can often affect the path your story takes. For instance, if you are a cruel ruler who continually taxes his subjects a cut-scene may play which shows you crowning yourself Emperor of China.
STORY: 10 out of 10. This game is based on the ROTK book by Luo Guan-Zhong, and written sometime around 1400 A.D. It describes the mostly real-life struggles of three empires trying to conquer China about 200 A.D. Great story.
REPLAY VALUE: 9 out of 10. I see high replay value in this game. With many skill levels, about 50 primary characters to use, several different modes and about 75 different strategic polices and tactics to employ, there are lots of different ways to play DW 5: Empires. Throw in two-player cooperative and you have a fairly deep game for the price Koei is asking.
OVERALL: 9 out of 10. Fans of action games will probably like renting this game, but fans of the DW series, especially fans who like a little strategy thrown into their martial arts battles, will love it. I did.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/06
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