reviews\ Apr 18, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires - 360 - Review

As more and more titles begin to take advantage of next generation systems, gamers are expecting more out of their games. Huge worlds, realistic physics and Hollywood-caliber story telling are just a few of the expectations for games these days. Unfortunately it seems as though Koei was not aware of the expectations when bringing over Dynasty Warriors 5, as their first foray into the next generation has not yielded the results expected from a next-generation title.


Upon entering the first battle within the Dynasty Warriors 5, players will not be able to avoid the issue of visuals – or lack there of. Graphically the game is nothing to boast about – as even compared to its PS2 counterpart, the title barely ups the ante in the department. Other than high resolution textures, nice looking character models, a rock steady frame rate and quick loading times, the 360 version is essentially identical to the PS2 version. View distances seem to be average at best and environmental pop-up is evident throughout the game, which isn’t as big of an issue as one might think, due to the incredibly sparse environments. The entire battlefields seem almost completely devoid of life with an occasional tree or rock thrown in for good measure. Other locales within the battlegrounds include deserted villages, occasional towers and the enemy bases, which happen to be based on one single design. The generic rock music is tolerable, but won’t blow your mind, but if you’re like me, you’ll be very pleased that every 360 game can support custom soundtracks. However, the English voices (which are the ONLY option) are downright horrendous and painful to listen to, it would’ve been easy and a no-brainer to include the original voice track. There’s no excuse for having such terrible dialogue to be the only option.


Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires Screenshot

Anyone familiar with the Dynasty Warriors series will feel right at home with the title, as the 5th iteration in the series continues to follow the familiar gameplay mechanics found in the previous entries in the series. Players can expect to find themselves running through battles, capturing strategic positions and repeatedly pressing the same two face buttons over and over again. To advance through Dynasty Warriors 5, players have the choice to either capture all enemy bases within the map, hold the majority of the bases until the time ends, or capture the main enemy base, resulting in a victory. To unlock the achievements, players capture specific enemy leaders and are then able to hire them for their own army – adding a nice element of customization to the game. An added element of strategy can be found through the commands, which are issued with the directional pad and give some uniformity to your soldiers. It was nice however, to see that the strategy elements of the game (where the Empires subtitle comes into play) are easy to get acquainted with and they don’t prove too tedious or tiresome.


Unfortunately the biggest issue with the gameplay of the title is the combat itself. When broken down, Dynasty Warriors is fundamentally a button masher at heart. New comers to the series expecting to find a deep and expansive combat system will have to look else where as the experience is as superficial as one could get. Another issue players will experience is a lack of motivation to progress throughout the campaign, as there aren’t many rewards to winning. Upgrades seem like a no-brainer and would have made the title much more enjoyable from a player’s standpoint. Adding in new weapons, moves, armor or mounts would curb the repetitive gameplay found throughout the title. An automatic leveling system is also present, but its role within the game is too minimal to add anything substantial to the title.



Everything about the 360 version of Dynasty Warriors screams last generation. From the generic environments, the repetitive gameplay, and the lack of any online modes, the game cannot disguise itself as something next generation. It could not be any more apparent that Koei’s only focus on the title was getting a quick port out for Microsoft’s new system. It looks better than its PS2 counterpart, but this game could’ve easily been done on Xbox, to the same effect. It’s not a bad game per se, it’s just another Dynasty Warriors title that doesn’t offer anything new, but at least Koei didn’t charge $60 for it, because at full price, it would’ve been impossible to recommend. If you’re a huge Dynasty Warriors fan, or just looking to get into the series, the $40 price tag makes the game approachable, but in the end, it just doesn’t seem worth it, especially with Ninety-Nine Nights (hopefully) coming to North America this year.

Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires Review Details


Gameplay: 6.6

There’s nothing we haven’t seen here in past iterations. The combat is pretty repetitive, but the strategy elements are easy and intuitive.


Graphics: 6.8

Except for the models of the main characters, there’s nothing here that looks next-gen, it’s just a hi-res PS2 port that could’ve been done on Xbox.


Sound: 5.9

The rock music will probably annoy you after a while, but it’s solid. However, the voice acting is atrocious and with only English voices, your ears will not be pleased.


Difficulty: Medium

The strategy is well done and not hard to get the hang of. Other than that, it’s just button bashing.


Concept: 5.2

It’s a Dynasty Warriors game, there’s some strategy and a lot of button bashing, but this series is as stagnant as can be.


Overall: 6.5

Unless you really love Dynasty Warriors or have never played the series before, you’re going to be disappointed and probably bored. It’s a solid game, but it’s just another sequel of a series that refuses to change. Hopefully with N3 coming out, Koei will step things up and give this series the upgrade that it so desperately needs.

Above Average

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