Developed by Omega Force. Published by Koei Temco. Released on March 15, 2016. Available for PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Vita. Review copy provided by publisher.

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Samurai Warriors 4: Empires is a game that lets you do a lot of… stuff. Yes, that sounds awkward & vague, but that’s because the trò chơi itself feels awkward & vague. The pretenses for your actions are poorly explained & the effect that game play systems have on everything else is poorly defined. I wouldn’t hotline it bad, unfun, or even badly designed, but it is overwhelming. It’s like you were given a huge sack of different toys and then were told you can play with all of them at once.


So finally you manage to lớn make it into battle và what bởi vì you do? You press a button until everything around you dies. Sure, the trò chơi says there are more options. You can alternate between weak & heavy attacks, AOE attacks, special buff commands, & your all powerful musou attack, but in reality everything around you simply falls khổng lồ pieces if you spam the weak attack button. The only trouble you’ll ever have is when you are facing enemy generals, & even then the only strategy you have khổng lồ figure out is when there is an opening khổng lồ mash weak attack.

The rest of the game mirrors the tone of the battle system, which is to say it has a lot of options but you can ignore most of them. When I first started the game I was obsessed with enacting new policies and figuring out perfect magistrate combos, but soon I was fast forwarding through menus khổng lồ get khổng lồ the next battle. Heck, even the options thực đơn has more options than are strictly necessary. There’s an option that determines whether or not female officers show up. Its oddest option I’ve ever seen. I ignored the sausage fest toggle & everything else except for the difficulty option.

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The game’s weak tutorials only compound the problem. Mechanics are explained through splash screens that pop up every few seconds. They throw dumps of info at you all at once, neglect khổng lồ mention specifics about what equipment does or what stats mean. You can go into the game’s manual khổng lồ get a better explanation, but that involves sitting in front of your TV reading through each individual entry, & no one has time for that. We just want lớn start killing troops and building up combos.

The trò chơi is a bit too large for its own good. There are so many things to bởi vì that each individual decision barely matters. The action is fun, though button mashy, & the politics are fun, though complicated, but I’m rarely in the mood for both at the same time. Granted, that’s kind of the MO of the Empires wing of the Warriors series, but previous entries in the series managed khổng lồ integrate all their systems better. I would have liked to lớn see Samurai Warriors 4: Empires have a little more focus. It would have made the difference between a fun but forgettable diversion and a genuinely solid game.

Bottom Line: Samurai Warriors 4: Empires is fun, but scattered. It’s a decent diversion but it’s complexity và lack of transparency will keep you from being hooked.

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Recommendation: Fans of previous warriors titles will likely enjoy this one as well, but it’s a poor title lớn act as an introduction to lớn the franchise.