Dynasty Warriors 9 was released four years ago, and has been done for several generations of consoles, an Empires expansion has been developed as a follow-up. Given that this is the sixth Empires expansion in this long-running franchise, are there still fresh ideas to be found this time around? Find out in our Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires PS5 review.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires PS5 Review – Next-Gen Lite
The PlayStation 5 affords built-in benefits to games made for the platform, and Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is no exception. The speedy SSD makes for snappy load times, while the system’s graphical upgrades compared to the last generation make for the best-looking Dynasty Warriors game to date. There are two graphics modes to choose from on the PS5, much like you’d find in other games. The Movie mode renders higher-quality visuals while targeting 30 fps, while the Action mode renders at a reduced quality as it targets 60 fps. You’d be hard-pressed to notice much improvement in visuals when using the Movie rendering mode, and in a 1-vs-1000 game, where dozens or hundreds of enemies are often on-screen at the same time, any of whom may attack you, a high frame rate is a must. Thus, the Action mode is recommended.
Beyond the built-in benefits the PS5 has to offer, not much else is taken advantage of on this platform. The only use of the DualSense controller is in using the touchpad button to bring up a menu. The adaptive triggers are left unused, which is a shame when you consider that many characters come armed with bows and arrows. Vibration is used, but in no significant way to convey any extra information to the player. The controller speaker is also unused, which feels like a missed opportunity when you consider how many times enemy officers talk to you nearby on the battlefield.
While this may be the best-looking Dynasty Warriors game yet, it’s not necessarily a showcase title. With a ton of characters that often need to be rendered at once, their level of detail is usually lacking. The environments are also not very memorable. Most buildings are indistinguishable from one another and quite blockish in design. Perhaps Koei Tecmo should use the same rendering method that Samurai Warriors 5 used to impressive effect in order to rehabilitate the aging visual design of Dynasty Warriors.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires PS5 Review – Task Manager Incarnate
The Empires expansions for any Dynasty Warriors game are always focused on the more tactical elements of ancient Chinese warfare, and this entry is no exception. The Conquest mode is the main campaign, which is broken down into multiple timelines which tell the history-based stories of various officers, both real and fictional, during the famous Romance of the Three Kingdoms era of feudal China. Here, the player serves a lord and is tasked with carrying out various tasks or reaching certain development milestones before the next meeting of the war council. Players are free to attempt to complete as many of these milestones as they can within the timeframe given, with merit given out as a reward for doing so. Obtaining enough merit will unlock titles for that character, which can open up new secret plans or ally types, which can be helpful in battles.
Speaking of battles, most of the time in Conquest mode is spent decidedly not on those, but instead on being buried in menus and reading. It wouldn’t be an Empires mode otherwise! Players can only perform one action per month, usually. A Stroll option allows players to freely roam around a very large map that is populated with natural features alongside enemy soldiers as well as occasional animals. Defeating these rewards some extra supplies, so this method can no doubt be used for some light farming of resources. But this Stroll mode is mostly used to interact with other officers in order to build or strengthen relationships. Unaffiliated officers may be recommended to join the player’s army, with a percentage of success shown prior to attempting the recommendation.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires PS5 Review – Repetitive Repetition
The issue with Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires stems mostly from repetition. While combat is fun and varies slightly from battle to battle thanks to “secret plans” which task you with fulfilling occasionally varying objectives during the mission, it’s the in-between moments of which I speak. There are countless menus to navigate, and upon performing any action that involves interacting with any other characters, their responses are just one of a very small number of possibilities. By the time you’d played through even a single in-game year’s worth of turns (so, 12 actions), you’ve seen most of the game’s script. With eight campaigns to play through, expect to skip a lot of the same dialog hundreds of times. Alongside that is some occasional combat, which is done in classic Dynasty Warriors style. So, if you enjoy the repetitive nature of Musou-style fighting, then you’ll find something to like here. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is tailor-made for super fans of the franchise. While players may feel like a lackey at the start of any new Conquest campaign run-through, rising up the ranks and having the Prime Minister agree with your suggestions can feel rewarding. If you enjoy making decisions about whether to increase ration development or to collect tribute on a monthly basis, or politicking in general whereby interacting with important people gets your heart racing, then by all means check out Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires. The rest of us will get by on regular Dynasty Warriors 9 just fine.