Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires

Is it just us, or is there now a new Dynasty Warriors in the shops every other week? Too much of a good thing.

Koei don't half know how to milk the DW series. While there might only four 'proper' sequels, there seem to be a constant stream of tweaked versions such as Xtreme Legends and, of course, Empires - which tries to thicken the watery Dynasty Warriors experience with some turn-based strategy.

This aspect of the game demands you conquer the whole ancient Japanese map in 100 turns. This can be achieved by selecting loyal lieutenants, forming alliances and recruiting soldiers, while maintaining land you already possess and invading land you don't. It's all very straightforward functional stuff, which might satisfy if the reward for your tactical nous wasn't just another round of harvesting idiot soldiers - which sadly is Dynasty Warriors' signature.


Basically there's no point having huge battles featuring hundreds of enemy soldiers when they pose no threat whatsoever. They're just sword/ pole/axe fodder - stooges trying to trick you into thinking you're ace. You're not, you're just fl ailing a stick around in a field while some idiots keep getting in the way. The only time Dynasty Warriors has ever been challenging is when an officer puts up resistance, but if one-on-one fighting is what you want, play Soul Calibur III.

That Dynasty Warriors as a series has endured the entire lifespan of PS2 suggests it has its fans, but surely they must be getting fewer with every identikit hack'n'slash mess. Koei undoubtedly have plans for a next-gen version, but if it's just another game exactly like all the previous versions, we're not sure who's going to care.

The verdict

The same old Dynasty Warriors, but with a competent-yet-underwhelming strategy game stapled onto it. Yet more of the same old thing unfortunately.

PlayStation 2
Action, Sim / Strategy