Samurai Warriors 4 Empires Review
It’s that time of year folks! Another installment of the warriors’ series, this time the samurai are up to bat in Koei/Techmo’s Samurai Warriors 4 Empires. Since I’ve played every Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Orochi, Empires, and Xtreme Legends K/T has to offer, I went in with a harsh mindset. After the “okay” Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires, the awful Samurai Warriors anime, and the “eh” of Samurai Warriors 4-II I was worried about this upcoming installment but excited at the same time. It was kind of like starting a new job sorta thing. But nevertheless SW4E has appeased my soul.
There’s not much too much to say here. Basically the goal is either A. Whoever’s clan you choose goal, or B uniting the land. You can either choose from a scenario or create your own.
Now here’s the surprising part. I was actually impressed with Koei this time around. I thought they were gonna do the old lather rinse and repeat copy paste with their gameplay. But this isn’t the case. Now before I go into all the good stuff you will be doing an assortment of square mashing throughout the battle. Good thing battles only last about 14 minutes tops depending on what you do will go into that later).
You see dear player combat consists of very few elements. There are square triangle combs, musou, soul mode, and soul musou. There is this thing you can do occasionally with the L1 button but it was nothing that changed the combat dramatically. When enemies come at you, there are X and Triangle commands which can trigger an isolated combo attack. But aside that you are basically mashing square and triangle to some catchy techno beat.
Now for the good stuff. To make up for the mindless square mashing SW4E focuses more on the building of an army, relationships between officers, and actually making invasion/defensive battles difficult (that last statement primarily for normal mode or higher).
First building an army is harder than what we koei folk are used to. You cannot just bum rush and mash your way to victory on the battlefield. The player starts with a basic castle. There are rooms in which employee officers to do a specific task. But not all officers are cut out for the job. You know that one coworkers whose working a position and is so bad it it you can’t stop wonder how the hell they got the job in the first place? Well if the ya put an office with the wrong status in the wrong room, then they will offer bad decisions for your army. There is an option of placing officers in the same room. You ever work with that one coworker you wish you could meet one on one in the parking lot after work? Well place two officers that got beef in the same room and poor decisions will continued to be offered up.You can build up the castle when you get more territory, or raise enough fame or money. To increase the number of turns, players must raise their fame which can be done in a variety of ways.
How do you know if characters got beef or can be homies you might be thinking? Well this time SW4E has a relationship system. Instead of just having a spouse, kid, and sworn sibling; this time players can get a nemesis, rival, sworn sibling, spouse, friends, master/protege, and retainers. This is done by a few development options, putting officers in the same room, and battling alongside each other. This along with other things will unlock scene events.
When going into battle there are skills and formations. You will have to constantly switch between different ones until you are all dried out in order to get and keep the upper hand. And this time around players can’t just mash square through the battlefield with ease. The enemy officers comeback almost instantly and will make a B-line for your main camp. ALL OF THEM! They will also tag team your bases and steamroll you officers if you army doesn’t have all its Ps and Qs in a row. But fear not if relationships are good, and certain silks are used you can switch between officers. If you haven’t gotten to that point you can always give out instructions. Lastly battles take no more than 14 mins and that on the highest resource setting. The time goes fast and you can add a bit more using skills but again more time is more money and resources which aren’t thrown at you.
The nice thing this installment is you can choose whether on not to reunite all of Japan, or just fulfill the goal of the clan leader. So, if you get sick of having your thumb glued to the square button you won’t have to go very far in you conquest to unlock another scenario.
Lastly the, “create a warrior”. Not going to lie this was actually the most disappointing part. If you didn’t buy any DLC from the previous editions then you will have to download about $20 bucks worth of customs and hair. The gear is okay, but the hair and accessories have been the same since Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires (can’t slip one by me K/T) so honestly the game fails sort of on this. This is one of its main aspects, so I do hope the DLC will make up for it and that it is priced reasonably.
Personally I like this game a lot. I’ve been a devote fan of K/T because they’ve been good to me for so many years. But as far as combat goes it’s a lot of the same stuff. If anyone played Hyrule Warriors, the combat in that game is how all the other warriors should have been playing. You are actually required to use evade and block buttons as well as the knifty lock on button. This would really do wonders for both SW and DW series. But what SW4E lacks in combat it makes up for with focusing on relationships and army building. And that is the point of an “empires” series.
Samurai Warriors 4 Empires walks away with a 3.5. It is good enough to keep players interest, and priced well. But if Koei wants to take home the gold they need to come up with a new combat system. Just don’t pull a Dynasty Warriors 6 where combos where removed and players were LITERALLY just mashing square.
Previous Post: Street Fighter V Review