Strategy hack ‘n slash?
Ah, the Warriors series. I think any video game player has at least heard of them before. Dynasty Warriors has made it big both in Japan as well as other countries, and while Samurai Warriors is a smaller entry in the overall series, they’re making a name for themselves as well. I’ve played my fair share of them in my day, but the Empires version of the series is one that I never really tried that much. They offer up more strategy along with the button mashing of the Musou battles. Digging into Samurai Warriors 4: Empires tells me a few things – they’re complicated, complex, and sometimes not really needing to be.
Everyone knows what players do in a Warriors game – run a map full of enemies, take out those enemies with a short but quick combination of attacks, and kill other officers to win the battles. Easy stuff in concept. Of course, giving objectives during battles and other aspects can make it more than just kill, kill, kill, but for the most part, it is some rather simple interactions. With Empires, players are tasked with fulfilling a certain faction’s ambition. These can be to kill a certain person, unify Japan, or conquer it. This is done through those battles we’re all familiar with, but with a bit more strategy involved in between the battles.
Price I’d pay: $25
Players must delegate different ideals and directives while appointing a leader and magistrates in their clan’s house. Pairing up magistrates that get along with each other will yield better results. In between each season, players can choose a set of directives to improve their money or crop harvest that effects the upcoming battles, strengthening their troops, or giving more time to finish a battle.
On top of all that, player can also develop new battle tactics like formations that give buffs to both the troops and the officers that will give them the competitive edge in battle. There’s actually a lot to do in this portion of the game, but ultimately I could eventually just not do it. After a few battles, I could tell that many of my decisions were giving me a slight edge over the enemies, but it was never game changing. That then got me thinking I could just do the bare minimum in the planning stages and just move on to the battles. And I totally could do that.
Deciding the next course of action takes place on a map of Japan. Players can look over each territory, see the stats of the clan that rules over it, and decide whether or not to take it over. There’s a good amount here, and accomplishing my clan’s ambition would take some time to get through.
One of the bigger issues I had with the game was the bare minimum tutorial that was presented. For the first four battles, I honestly didn’t know how to use my all powerful Musou attacks. The game just figured I knew how to pull them off. I was able to go back and look through the menus to find this information, but why not just go through it while doing the first battle? Even then, sitting in menus while playing a Warriors game is not my idea of fun.
For the most part, Samurai Warriors 4: Empires is a decent Musou game that is distracted by the Empires lure. It makes up for it with tons of options, even when the tutorial doesn’t really show them off. For the Warriors fans that are looking for hack ‘n slash with small RPG elements involved, I’d say go for standard Samurai Warriors 4. It is a much more condensed game that is a lot of fun to play. People looking for more strategy in their Musou games can find it here, but keep in mind, many of the strategy elements can come across pointless after a while.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.