ZachF.Sep 4, 2007A great game for people who actually enjoy Japanese history and characters. People who know nothing of the samurai should never play this game because they won't know what is going on. I love the game altogether, great design and combos, and cool music.
JimP.Jun 3, 2009My only other experience with a Koei game was Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires (DW5 Empires). Samurai Warriors 2: Empires (SW2 Empires) delivers quite a similar experience. Basically, you can summarize whether or not you'll like the game in the following phrase: If you like DW5 Empires (or any of the Empires games) you'll probably like SW2 Empires.
The game feels virtually the same as DW5 Empires, except the designers felt the need to pull the camera down so you're practically staring at the ground while running into combat. The strategy section of the game remains the same with a few additions to the Policy Cards. The leveling takes much longer than DW5 Empires and you can go through an entire campaign, see your character at level 10, and when you look at the experience bar, it's barely even full. Perhaps the designers were looking for more replayability in making the characters have such high levels (whereas in DW5 Empires you went from rank 16 up to 1) but it ends up scaling back the troop numbers and creating a virtual grind session.
The Create-A-Character section had some new additions from DW5 Empires and some reductions. You can no longer mix and match armor types but you are instead limited to 4 preset costume types. I believe there are also 4 different colors to chose from. You can still select one of the many weapons to arm your character with from fans to muskets, but they're all character based and I wish they would allow you to change the weapon without having to completely delete and remake the character. They also added a new voice type (goofy) and allow for 15 created characters instead of 10. There is also the family crest that is used for your character if they are a lord in the Empire Mode as well as the Japanese characters that appear when you use your Mosou or True Mosou attacks. Really, these do little to add to the game, and are really only aesthetic in nature. You do get to choose your "battle tactic" and you get to pick a special skill ranging from dealing small damage to several targets to double-jumping. It creates a small new dynamic to the whole fighting area, albeit a very insignificant one.
Combat remains virtually the same, hit X and Y in combination until everything around you dies or you have to run away. The difficulty seemed to climb a bit faster than in DW5 Empires and officer battles that seemed to be even in one season ended up being much harder the next. Also the computer loves to just sneak up on you (thanks to the low camera angle) and a 1 vs. 1 fight turns into a 1 vs. 5 fight really quick. The dodging roll helps to escape some sticky situations but the computer usually will catch up and start juggling you around until you're either holding on by a thread or until you can find a way to get them stuck behind some kind of object and escape.
The game also introduces "formations" that can be used during battles. The formations have 3 levels and increase an army's attack, defense, or speed. Whoever has the better formation in play (the higher level) will receive that benefit. This ends up being merely a contest of who happens to have a better card than you and it makes it more about timing and which cards you happen to have rather than strategy. Also mounts are now a permanent addition to your arsenal (unlike DW5 Empires where you had to "build" the harness and could only use it once).
I miss the whole industry upgrades of DW5 Empires where you could give yourself items to improve your character for one battle (which was really nice towards the end of the game). SW2 Empires decided to replace industry with a grain harvest and you can improve the harvest of each fief which in turn produces more money each turn.
The ending of an Empire campaign seemed to be very original at first, explaining what happens to the empire after your lord wins, but it ended up dragging on and it felt more like a Lord of the Rings ending rather than a real conclusion. Your use of policies and other things helps to determine how well your "ending" is. There is also the use of "culture" in the game, but it's never really explained what culture does, except for maybe influence that ending explanation.
You also get the same bland voice acting of DW5 Empires (although with different voices, at least for the most part) and the repetitive, bouncy techno music, but that problem is not difficult to get past. You could always use music installed on your 360 or listen to your own music device (e.g. iPod or Zune) to drown out the music.
Overall, it's a good game if you like the genre. If you're just starting out, give it a rent from GameFly or from a video store before you invest the money to buy it.… Expand
AdamB.Mar 15, 2007An excellent game with solid gameplay, excellent music, and nice visuals. But it also has no online play, repetitive textures and voice acting, and limited anti-aliasing making for choppy graphics on high definition monitors. Critics whine and groan about Koei's games never changing, but it's the same way for many other series like Grand Theft Auto, Madden, Final Fantasy, Halo, Tony Hawk, and Street Fighter. People like what they like, and don't like what they don't. But don't try to complain about lack of originality when a game is built solid and you just aren't into it. Of all the games in the SW/DW series, Empires is by far the most engaging. Xtreme Legends (especially 5) has more RPG-like elements, however. Fans will enjoy the game, and those who have never played will like the $40 price tag. Others will play other things.… Expand
May 5, 2012One of the worst games ever created. I am a huge Dynasty Warriors fan, but this game is just horrible. I really wanted to like it. I love Dynasty Warriors and I love Japan so this game should have been fantastic. No, what I got was slower gameplay, insanely unfair enemy A.I., dull graphics, horrendous voice acting, and a ton of other awful problems.
Until Koei takes the time to enliven the painfully monotonous action, this is one samurai best left an honorless ronin--especially since Empires inexplicably abandoned the two-player Live action of its predecessor. [Mar 2007, p.79]
A decent title, but it doesn’t offer the same visceral experience that gamers became enchanted with eight-plus titles ago. The "empires" portion adds replay and upgrades the hack-n-slash, but it’s tough to dig deep into those pockets and dole out money for a near carbon-copy artfully repackaged.