The latest in the ‘Empires’ spinoff series from Omega Force và Koei Tecmo, Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires brings the exciting Musou kích hoạt of 9 to the Switch platform for the first time, trading in its open-world for a deeper focus on strategy & conquest.
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Despite these new features being a welcome, refreshing addition to the game play formula that we’ve seen before in Musou titles on Switch, visual và performance issues prevent it from becoming the new go-to game for scratching the ‘1 vs. 1000’ itch.
Those who have played the popular Zelda spinoffs Hyrule Warriors or Age of Calamity will be familiar with the 1 vs. 1000 game play crux that these sorts of games are predicated on. However, Empires follows the tradition of adapting the Dynasty Warriors games into a strategic conquest. Tasked with unifying đài loan trung quốc and expanding your Empire, you’ll have lớn recruit officers, phối goals, gain resources, negotiate with rivalling kingdoms, và defend your territories as you rise to the challenge of ruling. Depending on the chiến dịch that you select at the beginning, and the sort of ruler that you want khổng lồ be, your story will unfold in a variety of ways, so it feels very personalised right from the start.
Empires features over 90 playable officers, with quality styles và weaponry to suit your preferred playstyle. You can even create your own officer to lead your forces out into battle, using a ridiculously comprehensive customisation suite. The battles themselves are set up around castles, with you either having to lớn defend yourself from an oncoming invader or stage a siege khổng lồ spread your influence across the land.
As someone who has found the game play in these sorts of games to lớn get a bit repetitive after a while, I feel this format really helps to lớn keep you engaged with the combat, with each invasion or defence holding weight over your ultimate success in establishing your kingdom. You’ll fight tooth and nail lớn secure new territories when the timing is right, grow respect for neighbouring kingdoms that send reinforcements khổng lồ aid you in your efforts, và take it personally when enemies decide now is a good time khổng lồ start knocking on your castle doors with a battering ram.
It’s a shame, then, that with such a varying suite of strategy elements built around it, as well as battles that genuinely feel more meaningful as a result of the way you plan them out in advance, the actual core game play itself is by far Empires’ worst component. Weapon combinations & abilities work well, và the objectives you can phối in advance are satisfying to complete, but poor optimisation makes the battles a chore, rather than the action-filled spectacles và payoffs they should be.
It’s that PC-benchmarking test level of visuals—everything turned down to minimum, with so much pop-in that you’ll think the enemy has suddenly received a garrison of reinforcements on the field. Things are slightly better when docked as opposed lớn playing in handheld mode, but the on-screen text can then sometimes appear pixelated and difficult to read, and blowing up the minimal textures is a last resort when looking for ways lớn survive in the heat of battle.
Even as a spinoff focusing on strategic elements, it’s a major disappointment that the core gameplay is so lacking, và the weaker performance can also leak into other aspects of the experience.
Cutscenes look rough and take too long lớn load. Other nice touches—such as the ability lớn ‘stroll’ throughout locales, or personalise hideouts with furniture—are rendered pointless by the painful visual fidelity. Eventually, I found myself skipping these sections entirely khổng lồ avoid the tedium, an irony considering that they’re interspersed khổng lồ break up a game play loop that some considered lớn be rather monotonous in the first place.
The price tag attached khổng lồ the game—and its additional downloadable content—is another strike for Empires, with the standard edition setting you back £54.99 & the deluxe edition a whopping £89.99. The latter contains some additional stages, cosmetics for characters, & a DLC season pass for future nội dung and chiến dịch options.
Coming at a chiến dịch from a fresh angle provides plenty of replay value lớn the package, and I’m sure new nội dung is something that hardcore fans will have fun with but, ultimately, if you’re paying that much for an experience on the platform, you expect it to lớn run well.
Overall, Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires offers a lot of depth và replayability in its strategic campaigns, but the visual mess on-screen unveils a major Achilles heel in its action gameplay—which should be the bread và butter of the experience. With a chink in the armour that wide, it’s hard to lớn recommend the trò chơi on this platform.
If you’re a fan of the series & value being able to take your campaigns on the go, then you might be able to see past the issues. Otherwise, it’s decent, but another platform might better help you khổng lồ enjoy the grand scale of Empires warfare in the way Koei Tecmo intended.