Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires

On the off-chance that somebody cares, this game was recently released in both Europe and America, and I even got three dog tags with my order! Sadly I don’t have a dog.

Seems the combat system is largely unchanged from DW6 but the Renbu meter is gone, you can upgrade weapons as in Warriors Orochi, and you can get four special attacks per weapon (rather than one per character as in DW6). And you can command other officers in the field, so hopefully you can prevent them from doing utterly idiotic things as was their wont in DW6.

The “vagrant” mode looks particularly interesting. You play as a mercenary until you befriend some ruler and join his forces… or attack and overthrow him! You can even step down as a ruler and again become a mercenary. What I don’t see yet is why you’d want to do that… just for fun or to avoid defeat?

I’ve been enjoying this the last few days. It’s a good strong layer of strategic and general polish. Easy to recommend – if you like the previous games at all, you’ll like this one, if you hate them, don’t bother. Some many assets are often completely unchanged from DW6 (many maps in particular), however it has a recession-friendly retail of 40$.

I haven’t bought a DW game since 4… this is tempting. It has been long enough for me to forget everything, so this should be nice.

Thank heavens someone started this thread, as I need answers to questions and reviews are worthless.

My arguments against Dynasty Warriors 6, after further playing, were the homogenized movesets and that renbu thing. I’m glad that the renbu is gone, but how does that work? Do you basically have all of the attacks that you would have had at Renbu 3/Max all the time?

How many characters share movesets? In DW6, about six people had default spear. I think it was Sun Ce, Lu Meng, Zhang He, and a few others. Pang Tong and Zhang Jiao had the same moveset. Has that changed? Do we have some differences now?

I don’t think I quite understand four special attacks per weapon, as opposed to one. Can you elaborate on that?

Renbu is not actually gone, the weapon system just raises and works differently. I’m not sure how many more or less people have default weapons this time around.

Weapons have 3 upgrade paths now. Well, one is you can buy 4 castable spells (out of a list of maybe 30), which doesn’t have much to do with a weapon, but is purchased at the forge anyway. The second facet is special procs on the weapon – flash, elemental attacks, true musou, etc. The third weapon upgrade is “strengthen” which raises “attack” – and also where renbu comes back in. You can strengthen the weapon up to level 10, and along the way it progresses from (1? 2? I forget) up to infinite renbu at lvl 10.

Strengthen just costs money, but the spells and weapon abillities cost money and gems. Weapons are the only piece of equipment, and there’s no equip screen (except for choosing a horse). Officers, special events, and little in-battle kind of side-quests now drop “treasure” in the form of gems, rather than little bits of equipment.

There’s a (surprisingly short) thread on NeoGAF where people said that character move sets have been de-cloned compared to DW6, so you should see more unique weapon styles now. Xiahou Dun and Dian Wei still suck, though…

Speaking of weapon upgrades, it seems Koei realized that elemental affinity (especially ice) was hopelessly overpowered in DW6, so now you get elemental effects only with power attacks on a full mosou gauge.

Some other things I noticed while working my way through the sumptous manual:

  • There’s a neat special movement mode called “surprise attack” where an officer is invisible on the map for a while and gets a big attack bonus if reaching an enemy camp without detection by enemy officers.

  • Officers can get “targets” during battle which I understand are those little side quests that beloved one mentioned, as in Bladestorm.

  • Officers can now jump up cliffs. That’s a huge change from DW6 since those maps went crazy with chasms and mountain paths that channeled tactical movements. On one hand I’m relieved since navigating some of these maps was a pain, on the other hand I wonder if the tactical significance of the map design isn’t lost now? Am I understanding correctly that officers can climb cliffs but their troops have to follow along the normal road?

  • Speaking of which, the manual mentions troop size per officer that gets upgraded with level. Are those actual individual soldiers with concrete physical location and movement as in Bladestorm, or just a pool of imaginary troops which kind of beam in around the officer as in regular DW?

Note that the basic DW6 is somewhat simpler and has a very nice set of story campaigns with tons of entertaining cutscenes, so if you’re getting back into DW that might be a better place to start. DW6 should be quite cheap now, too.

Why can’t they give Dian Wei back his Axe??

Nope… actually…

Huh. No longer in stock, eh? Well, just get Empires then… before supplies run out!

It doesn’t have Pang Tong’s awesome John Wayne-impersonating DW4/Orochi voice, though.

This sounds pretty interesting, though. And it’s pretty cheap, compared to a standard PS3/360 game.

Your troops are no longer represented as a little crowd of guys that follow you around - instead, the more troops you enter a battlefield with, the more bases you start out controlling. Obviously, in ruler mode, this is a huge strategic edge. The balancing factor is that, unless you use cards to prevent it, one battle will take out half or more of the troops from each officer, leaving you more vulnerable on the defensive side.

As to why you’d want to step down from being a ruler - quite frankly, ruler mode isn’t nearly as fun as officer mode. In ruler mode, you make a few small decisions, and then decide who you want to conquer. In officer mode, you influence your ruler in war councils, fulfill his mission requests, go on mercenary missions of your own, make friendships, form oath brotherhoods, potentially marry people - there’s just a lot more happening in the officer gameplay.

So far, I’m loving this game. Out out of the new movesets, Meng Huo got shafted the most, and Yue Ying won the goddamn lottery. Her combo wristblade/crossbow is ridiculously fun to fight with.

So the Dynasty Warriors games are good stuff? They always sound really interesting to me, but the generally negative reviews that every game in the series receives has always turned me off. Do they get these poor reviews because each new game isn’t some drastic reinvention of the series?

Any screenshots of this running on a big rig PC?

I noticed that same thing when DW6 came out – all the negative reviews basically said “Just like every other DW game.” I had never played one before, so I had no idea if that was good for me or bad for me. I picked it up and had a really good time. It took a bit (hourish? maybe two?) for me to figure out basically how the game works, and I may even have had to ask for help a few times in the Dynasty Warriors thread here, and I think what character you start with makes a big difference to how much fun you have starting out. But I ended up really enjoying the game. It’s mostly big dumb fun (as far as I was concerned), with some bits of non-dumbness thrown in… run around and slaughter guys, and then slaughter some other guys, and along the way accomplish various goals and maybe win the battle.

That, and Koei games get reviewed more for their reputation than for their gameplay. I remember when Bladestorm came out, a game utterly unlike Dynasty Warriors in almost every significant way - it was panned by one major review site and dismissed as a ‘dynasty warriors clone’ and ‘another mindless button masher’ on others. There are reviewers out there with a very definite opinion of everything Koei does, and despite the fact that they’ve significantly changed the series, nothing short of an entire conceptual overhaul is going to satisfy them. Of course, if they did that, the game would no longer have a damn thing to do with fighting through the wars of the Three Kingdoms era, the explicit point of the game - but that’s never mattered much to the western appreciation of this game. For most people, the historical period in question might as well be a generic fantasy world, for all they know about it.

It’s a frustrating tendency, and one I’ve gone out of my way to avoid when reviewing Koei games.

Yeah, that still bugs me too, damn it. On the upside, several of the returned characters are a lot of fun to fight with now. Meng Huo is ridiculously trippy, with a stone pillar as his default weapon. He occasionally exchanges it for a palm tree that he yanks from the ground and spins, flinging coconuts at his enemies, or a mushroom that he bashes them with, before chowing down on it. He was always a joke character, the joke is just a little more ridiculous now. And for some reason, they’ve given Guan Ping a halberd, and given an even more ridiculous version of his sword to Ma Chao, which is somewhat baffling. I haven’t played him yet, but it’s not exactly a cavalryman’s weapon.

Thanks for the explanation, so your character is always fighting solo as in DW6. I was wondering why Diaochan was looking so lonely…

As to why you’d want to step down from being a ruler - quite frankly, ruler mode isn’t nearly as fun as officer mode. In ruler mode, you make a few small decisions, and then decide who you want to conquer. In officer mode, you influence your ruler in war councils, fulfill his mission requests, go on mercenary missions of your own, make friendships, form oath brotherhoods, potentially marry people - there’s just a lot more happening in the officer gameplay.

Makes sense that a ruler won’t do mercenary missions but I’m surprised that you can’t make friends or marry as a ruler. Sounds like you wouldn’t wont to be a ruler until you’ve filled out your relationship roster.

The Dynasty Warriors series has kept Koei in business for many years… clearly lots of people like them, just not reviewers. And really, most reviews (if not downright ignorant as quatoria describes) simply say that the reviewer doesn’t like the basic gameplay. That’s what I would say if I were reviewing football games – but I don’t because that would be irrelevant to fans of the genre. Same here.

There’s no PC version yet, but it will probably look the same as DW6 on a PC since it’s the same engine and art assets.

Rulers can marry and make pacts, as well as some other sort of events. That said, I agree that the officer role is more interesting/varied, and the mercenary quests allow your general to be more powerful (by granting ability rewards) than just ruling alone would allow.

Little clouds of men will still follow around allied generals, which can paradoxically be counterproductive sometimes – if you play split screen, pop-in is a big issue: the little clouds of men can take your precious max draw capacity and make it difficult to find more targets to eliminate while reducing an enemy base.

I think a pc version could be quite a good deal more enjoyable, it would definitely eliminate pop-in (and presumably increase draw distance, and representative army size), and networked multiplayer would be great.