‘Samurai Warriors 4 Empires’ Review: Strategizing & Fighting for Clan Supremecy

Game: Samurai Warriors 4 Empires
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), PS3, PS Vita
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force

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The wars that erupt on the battlefield aren’t just decided through the use of guns, swords, spears, axes etc. What decides the ultimate victor are the strategic maneuvers that transpires before a massive battle takes place. The Samurai Warriors series has continued on for the past few years and has gotten by on it’s wide-scale battles. With this latest update, you now have the responsibility to handle the more important duties that take place off the battlefield. Samurai Warriors 4 Empires employs a wealth of new elements that makes the repetitive combat just a little bit more tolerable.

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires’ main campaign involves more than just wiping out hundreds and hundreds of Japanese feudal soldiers. You’ll spend a good amount of time and in-game resources helping upgrade your clan’s influence and settlements. You have several clan options to align yourself with and each of them have a different end game. That may involve destroying a rival clan, moving all the way to a set destination or something entirely different. There’s a huge amount of powerful clans to join, which means you’ll have plenty of campaigns to play through if you choose to do so. The custom campaign takes these mechanics and allows you to craft your own clan’s goal and map out your own placing in Japanese history. The replay value offered with this entry is plentiful.

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Before you engage in the more physical aspects of war, you’ll need to carefully plan out your next moves. The Empires moniker within the game’s title comes to fruition thanks to the pressing matters at hand here. Within your base of operations is the leading general, his/her advisors and several options that goes toward improving your clan. It’s fun to decide which decisions to make as you move ever closer to achieving your overall goal. It’s up to you to place the right officers under certain jurisdictions (military, resources and development) in order to manage your progress for the better. Your leading general (the Daimyo) can be spoken with in order to build new settlements, fulfill your clan’s next moves and provide advice on what should be done next. Most of the fun for this update comes from all the decision making that comes into play during the campaign’s many seasons. Players can opt to increase their riches, improve their military might or progress in an entirely different manner.

When the time comes to participate in the more familiar elements of Koei Tecmo’s Warriors games, you’ll do what you’re already accustomed to. But this time, a few wrinkles have been included in order to make those battles a little less of a chore. When engaged with stronger foes, you can defeat them with the new parry system and save yourself from certain doom at the very last moment. It’s also possible to pull off super flashy finishing moves on them and smile with glee as they bellow out their last words. You have more direct control over your soldiers since you can choose to put them more on offense, defense or change each group of soldiers’ advancement.

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It’s hard to deny just how repetitive all that hacking and slashing is when it comes to Koei Tecmo’s Warriors formula. While the more strategy-focused mechanics and new battle features are welcome additions, this is the same old Samurai Warriors solder massacring basics you’ve played before. Not much has really changed in that regards, so only the most ardent fans of these games will enjoy the majority of what this has to offer. If you’ve grown tired of this franchise, this latest update won’t rekindle your past appreciation for it. The graphics don’t look terrible at all, but they haven’t changed drastically too much. The audio has been reused as well, so don’t expect to come into this game seeing or hearing anything entirely new.

Bottom Line

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires provides a solid dose of fun with its inclusion of strategic features. Managing your dojo, strengthening your troops, expanding your influence, placing your generals in the right areas etc. are just a few of the fun tasks tied to your campaign. On the battlefield front, having the ability to counter powerful officers with parry attacks and instant kill moves is admirable. However, this release isn’t much of a worthy upgrade. The repetitive battles get old, so your interest will start to subside pretty quickly. The game’s visuals and soundtrack are repeated from previous entries too, which lends to this entry’s “been there, done that” feeling. Hardcore fans will find something to appreciate here. For everyone else, the fun factor here dissipates faster than it did before.

Score: 6.5/10

Pros:

  • The more strategy focused elements are strong and provide a nice change of pace from the battles
  • The quick parry maneuver and instant kill techniques freshen up the button mashing a bit

Cons:

  • The hack ‘n slash gameplay eventually gets repetitive
  • The game’s visuals remain the same and don’t look that much of an improvement over the last two entries