Samurai Warriors 4 Empires Review

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires was developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo. The game will be released on March 15th 2016 for Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and PS Vita for the price of $69.99. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels.

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It’s time to venture into the world of the Bushido as you take control of this massive roster of warriors. Samurai Warriors 4 Empires acts as a big expansion to the fourth game in the series and adds a massive amount of game play. As an avid player of Warriors games, I’m happy to be able to get a lot of replay value from this but I am disappointed with a few aspects. The boys and girls are pretty to look at, however, with their beautiful costumes and fantastical, flashy moves to make the game even better. Let’s see what else we can talk about here.

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What I enjoyed:

Strategy before combat – When beginning a new game in Conquest mode, players must choose between one of the three clan campaigns, with an additional two campaigns that require completion of the previous ones to unlock. Before throwing you into the heat of war, players must strategize their clan’s diplomatic system by appointing a desirable strategist who will help assist in the Daimyos conquest. Time and money are invested into aspects such as leadership, politics, and strategy to help in future battles by creating an effective unit. You can hear out officers complaints, build strong relationships between others, go solo and drop officers you don’t like, and gain more provisions to build a strong army. When you’re overwhelmed with a surprise attack and must defend having effective battle tactics and forms can help in your favor. Having good relationship among your officers allows for those officers to be playable and also gain the ability to  switch  between them during combat. The amount of different strategies that can be conducted throughout the game adds on to the replay value as you continually go back after completing a mode or try something different on the next battle to switch things up from getting bland. Each play style in every playthrough can be varied and really gives the player freedom to do what they want and try new things.

Customizing history – The game features an editing mode where players are allowed to freely create their own warriors to change the course of history by either recreating themselves or a fictional persona. Character customization is thorough and easily accessible when navigating through the menu to create a cool warrior that not only ranks up 1000 KO’s but looks good doing it. With numerous hair and armor options. You can tailor the character to your specific taste while adopting weapon and fighting styles from your many favorite and famous warriors. The game also features Genesis Mode which is basically Conquest Mode but with editing availability.  You choose the clans and its officer roster while inputting your customized characters into the fight.

Revised gameplay – Like most of its predecessors the gameplay mechanics strives to use the same formula that so many fans of the series are accustomed to but with more revised animations that doesn’t leave the experience feeling stale. Gameplay feels intensely fast-paced despite always having that initial style. Each famous character’s combo-chains including standard or heavy attacks are performed with more elemental flair and finesse which adds extreme awe and satisfaction while in combat. The characters felt amazingly entertaining to use and rarely did it feel like certain characters were at a disadvantage over others. The jump ability finally feels like it has more usage as opposed to just knocking generals off their high horses. The jump prompt, when timed right, can be used to effectively dodge enemy attacks by side stepping at any direction when it’s most appropriate. When suffering through a barrage of attacks from an officer, the ‘X’ prompt also allows the chance to counter your enemy and tilt the scale in your favor.

The challenge of the fight – In most Warriors games, the goal of battle is diminishing your enemies’ esteemed officers until there’s no one else, leaving the main general to fight on his own. In this game, however, simply defeating your opposing officer just delays them for a bit before engaging in the real target; enemy bases. To gain control of the battle, you must conquer the enemy bases accordingly before ever approaching the main camp. The more bases the enemy has, the stronger the troops and their main general become which can make it almost impossible to approach but remember, this must all be accomplished while protecting you own bases. What can be done to your enemy can be done unto you. Depending on difficulty setting and the strength of the opposing side, not having available battle tactics or strong, healthy relationships can make the battles difficult. Everything has to be considered when marching into war and this factor is what makes the game challenging for the player and fun. You have to eat away at the foundations of a strong army first before taking on the general.

It’s so pretty – As with all the latest Warriors games, the graphics are done very well by Koei Tecmo. They always deliver on their designs for the environment and making their warriors beautifully ornate. The men and women in armor look so regal and traditional yet clearly display their samurai origins. The concepts behind the variety of weapons, armor, and fighting styles are really creative and ensure that each warrior feels different from the other. The contrast between them and a simple foot soldier makes it clear that they’re the one to look out for on the field during battle and to not be mistaken for others. Clean graphics throughout the game really add to the awe of it with amazing moves being pulled off and the warriors looking good while doing it.

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What I disliked:

Different modes but same premise – The game primarily features two modes which are Conquest Mode and Genesis Mode. Conquest Mode allows players to engage in the feudal clan conflict as you thrive succession over the entire land of Japan while Genesis mode does just that but provides the player the option to edit the map. Genesis lets players to edit specific clans and appoint certain officers to each faction. Don’t fret becuase there is an option to randomize the map for those like myself who are not up to the task. Both modes are strangely identical but with different names.

Redundant InteractionSamurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors uses the same formula in their games but what I enjoyed from the experience were the historic (altered) backstories on each character through cut-scenes and dialogue which sadly felt lack-luster in this installment. Even with character relationship status implemented into the game there’s not much interactive dialogue between casts and cut-scenes or events that occur in between battles are repetitively the same, only ever changing characters while using the same scene. It just tends to dull the games ability to be immersive.

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Conclusion:

Samurai Warriors 4: Empires ensures that the gamer will get a lot of content but not much variety when it comes to game modes. While Genesis mode is more challenging, it’s objective is still very simple to Conquest and thus feels like the variety is lacking. There’s tons of strategies and game play elements to be done in the single mode and doesn’t lack when it comes to entertaining the player and making them feel extremely satisfied to pull off a very fancy move. The world’s canon is fantastic but the impressiveness ends there. Interactions between characters between battles feeling dull and boring after the first few times. For fans of the series this title is great to spend a lot of hours completing missions and conquering all the land but for outsiders just getting into it it might feel exhausting and bland after awhile.

Recommendation:  Buy it Now

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ItsJustaMirage

PlayStation fan-girl since 1995 but an avid collector of all consoles and games. I currently reside in Silent Hill where I judge and condemn those who wander into my domain!!

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