Samurai Warriors 4 Empires feels a bit like Déjà vu

Thomas Wellburn
April 22, 2016

Publisher: Koei

Developer: Omega Force

Where to buy: In-Store

Cost: £29.99



The Warriors franchise has mostly been about hacking and slashing your way through hordes of enemies, usually with a lot of magic and fantasy stuff thrown in for good measure.

Empires makes a bit of a departure from this and instead throws in tactical elements that add a bit more forward thinking to the formula. You may have remembered when we reviewed Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires back in the January issue of What Mobile; this is largely the same game but set in a different time period to the Dynasty franchise. Samurai Warriors has always somewhat played second fiddle to the former franchise and, especially here in the west, is largely unheard of by most people. Despite this, it could be seen in some ways as the better game overall. Playing at a slower pace which requires more tactical thinking and focusing far more on the overall interaction between characters, it adds a few elements that the Samurai series doesn’t necessarily have.

Set during the Sengoku period of Japanese History, it doesn’t really follow any true-to-life storylines and instead focuses on conquering feudal Japan. Much like any of the Empires titles, you’ll be given a heavy amount of customisation when the game initially begins. Character creation is the order of the day, as is creating a clan and preparing for that elusive takeover. Each clan will have its own set of ambitions; be it the need to unite land and regions or seizing control of a capital city.

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Combat itself a lot more streamlined in the Empires franchise, with less crazy fantasy elements and attack combos. The battles favour a slower pace that focuses much more on hitting key targets within the enemy clan. Where the Empires franchise does succeed is in tactics, with a much greater focus on providing resources to your troops and methodically starving your opponents. You’ll need to capture supply lines and do various chores to enhance your own cause before attacking the enemy commander and claiming their land as your own. There’s also a big focus on building alliances within the clan; appointing advisors for each battle and listening to their advice will build loyalty and offer certain perks during combat.

Graphically, the game has been toned down a lot when compared to its PS4 and even PS3 counterparts. It’s not an ugly game by any means but it does have a tendency to look somewhat bland, with environments feeling like empty arenas with no real character. The lack of any high-resolution textures only cements this, with everything bar the warriors looking blurry and stretched out. There’s also occasional slowdown when the action gets heavy, but this is a hardware limitation issue much like the hordes of identically dressed characters.

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires is essentially a slightly more tactical version of Warriors-II, but it doesn’t really have enough new additions to warrant a purchase. If you already own the former title, it will feel like you’re playing the same game twice.

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