Average User Score: 7.4Mar 19, 2013DW7 is mostly the same as it predecessors. Despite what some nay-sayers think, it does change with every new installment, but the basics (and story, due to being based on a novel and history) are always the same, so if you are not a fan, you never will be. That said, I think the seventh game is the best in the series, even after having played some of the older ones. Every character can use nearly every weapon now (some types are gender-restricted). While that's nice, it also makes characters less unique. However, they are encouraged to use their preferred weapon, since that is necessary to execute EX Attacks, special moves and that are easy to execute and can be pretty powerful, depending on the character. Also, every character has two Musou Attacks now (although the second one has to be unlocked with skill points). The story modes are kingdom specific again and quite rigid, since you are can't choose which character you want to play in every mission. It's not so bad, since it forces you to learn to play with different characters and makes the missions rather coherent. The story is unusually good this time. It still tends to be overly dramatic at times, it's quite well-done and easier to take seriously. The cutscenes are nice to look at and some death scenes surprisingly touching. I really hope that Koei stays with this. Sure, the old hammy scenes are amusing, but DW7's story actually makes me care. Also, there is a fourth kingdom now, Jin, that rose from the kingdom of Wei. However, that's also were my criticism lies: It's mostly about the rise of Jin and its split from Wei, there is not much to see about the actual Jin period. I hope they will rectify this in future games (I don't know whether they did this with the eight one already). Aside from the Story Mode, there is also a "Conquest Mode". In that one, there is map of China, that is composed of hexagonal fields, everyone of them a single battle. The exception are towns, where you can buy various stuff, and "legendary battles", field, which have two or three battles and are locked to a character. It's quite fun and there is a lot of battles to be fought. However, even that doesn't make up for the games biggest flaw: The lack of a Free Mode, in which you can fight every story mode battle with a character of your choice. It's the one DW that really needs one and it's also the only one not to have any. It doesn't even exist as DLC, you actually have to buy the XL expansion (which in my opinion is over-priced) to have it. It's a credit to the game, that it only makes me subtract one point from the score. DW7 is a great game, which I can only recommend to both fans and newcomers. Non-fans should stay away from it. The lack of a free mode is quite a big flaw, but the overall quality of the Story Mode and the sheer fun of the Conquest Mode make up for it.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Mar 18, 2013Due to the admittedly repetitive nature, the DW series is rather polarizing. The Empires sub-series are unlikely to win anyone, who dislikes it, over. Still, they are quite a different experience from the main games. And DW7:E is quite a step-up from it's predecessor.
The strategy part is not the most complex one has ever seen and is rather light-weight compared to "real" strategy games. Still, it offers quite some possibility. First of all, one has the option to become a ruler or serve one. The main difference is that the options as an officer are limited, since one can only invade a territory, make diplomatic relations or try to convince an officer to join you, when your ruler orders you to. Arguably, this makes things more interesting, since one could be tempted to monotonously attack one territory after the other, when one is a ruler. It's also possible to begin the game as a free officer, who doesn't serve a ruler, but you can't win the game like this and are expected to join a ruler or raise your own kingdom.
An important part of the game is "fame". There are six kinds with different meanings and effects. The main ways to raise them are mostly the same. Every officer has a "main fame" that is raised whenever they fight a battle. Certain kinds of fame can also be raised by "skirmishes", various small battles with certain kinds of objectives (without much variation, though) in which you can fight freely. As your fame rises, you get "stratagems", various effects that can be used in battle. Some may summon a wild animal or a elite unit of soldiers near you. Some make you invulnerable for a limited time. Stratagems of the same fame type are usually quite similar. For example, the "Orderly" fame has several stratagems that transforms ordinary bases in special ones. You fame also dictates what ending you get, but only a short sequence. The rest of the ending isn't much better either and rather unsatisfying after you fought a long war to unite China.
You can interact with other officers (either free or in service of another ruler) and convince them to join your cause. Every character has a friendship rating (with ranks ranging from "E" to "S") and the higher it is, the more likely they are to comply with your request. Even if they refuse, the friendship rating rises (although it doesn't always reaches the next rank), so it can be useful to ask them multiple times. You can also interact with officers (and ruler) of your side and, when their friendship rating is "S", make them your spouse or sworn sibling (of which you can have two). They are the only ones you can bring with you into a battle, if you are an officer (unless you got promoted to Marshall, then you can fully decide who joins the battle). Other than that, there is not much point in it, though.
But at it's heart, DW7:E is mostly an action game. You probably won't get very far, if you are bad at them. On the other hand, when you are great at DW games in general, you don't need much strategic skill to win the game. Every invasion battle, no matter whether you are on the invading or defending side, is fought the same way: There are various camps on the battlefield, with a defense rating, that lowers when you kill soldiers and, most importantly, "defense captains". When it hits zero, the camp is conquered. Officers can also defend camps and raise the defense value significantly. All camps are connected with each other and to win the battle, the own main camp has to be connected with the enemy one. Then, the enemy main camp has to be attacked. After its defense value is low enough, the main commander appears. To finally win the battle (and take over the territory or drive off the attackers) you can either defeat him or lower the defense value of the main camp to zero.
Aside from the Empire Mode, there aren't any other game modes. Personally, I think that's fine with this game, but others may wish for more. Of note is the Edit Mode, in which you can create your own officers to play and/or interact with. It's not the most extensive character creation mode, but there is quite a range of options (and compared to it's predecessor a big step up). Aside from that, you can play with a huge range of characters. You can even play characters before they are historically born (like Wang Yuanji (born 217) during the Yellow Turban rebellion (184)). But there is not that much difference between them, especially with DW7's system, that allows every character to wield every kind of weapon (although with different proficiencies).
All in all, it's much better than DW6:E and probably even better than DW7. However, it's still a pure Dynasty Warriors game, so it's only interesting for fans (for which I recommend this game whole-heartedly, especially if the like the seventh game). People who don't like the series won't be happy with it. Newcomers may want to try a main series game first.… Expand