Tuesday 7 July 2009

Video Game Reviews

Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires
(PS3 (version tested), XBOX 360)
Review by Blake Harmer

With the video games industry now costing the same as, if not more than, big movie releases, I would expect games (especially sequels) to evolve and create new experiences as well as having better graphics and sound. However, Koei (Now Tecmo Koei due to the recent merger) appear to have done very little.

Those who are new to the Dynasty Warriors franchise the premise is as follows, you choose your hero out of a huge number of 300 characters and go around trying to unite China under one flag by clubbing the other armies into submission with a big weapon, Sauron Style. The Empires iteration of each game adds a light strategic element, you can either control as a ruler and try to conquer each area of the map and eradicate the other rulers from history, or you can play as an officer under a ruler where you have to follow orders but can offer suggestions to affect the rulers decision as you rise through the ranks.

This game suffers from several problems. To begin with, the combat hasn’t really changed since Dynasty Warriors 2 which was a release for the PS2, and despite the increased graphics and processing power of the next generation consoles, the detail of the battlefields and the number of characters on screen at a time haven’t hugely improved since then either. When I tried playing through the game as an officer, I found my ruler seldom invaded territories and decided to send me off doing mundane tasks like killing snow tigers (in China?). I would have tolerated this if it weren’t for the fact that all of my suggestions were ignored so it’s a bit like trying to conquer China, but only when someone with ADD feels like it:

My Ruler (He Jin): We should attack the Snow leopards rather than progressing through the game.
Me: Wouldn’t it be better if we attack here, sir?
He Jin: No, Tigers are way more interesting and...Oooh, fluffy.

My last annoyance with the game came in the form trying to access the multiplayer option. The game said there was a 2 player option but didn’t say how to access it. It was only when I looked online that I found out how to do it. This makes it feel like a cheap after thought for what essentially is just a single player strategic version of Dynasty Warriors 6.

The game still has merits though. The strategic elements of the game (when you play as a ruler) are fun and not too in depth to bring attention away from the true fun, which is the combat. Although I said that the gameplay hasn’t really changed, there is still no better way to relieve stress than to charge into battle and single handedly kill 1,000 people in five minutes. The Dynasty Warriors series is always a great game to play after a bad day at work and this installment is no exception.

Overall, this is a fun game in it’s own right. However, I find it very difficult to recommend it to anyone. Fans of the series will find that the strategic elements have been dumbed down since DW 5: Empires to welcome newcomers to the series, and so they would probably stick to DW 5: Empires. However, as a gamer who enjoys playing the odd Dynasty Warriors game occasionally, I cannot recommend it to newcomers either, as you can pick up an earlier version of the game for far less money. All in all, I recommend this as either a rental for a couple of days, or pick it up when it becomes cheaper. 5/10.

1 comment:

  1. 'there is still no better way to relieve stress than to charge into battle and single handedly kill 1,000 people in five minutes'

    -- It isn't as much fun when it's only a computer game, though.