Another instalment of hacking, chopping, and slashing, with Samurai Warriors 2: Empires. Just like Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, this time, KOEI's Samurai Warriors series takes on the Empires name and tries to illuminate the features that made Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires special and unique, which Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires clearly failed to achieve. Having said that, Samurai Warriors 2: Empires misses the bench mark also, but still it turned out to be a fun game for those that fancy controlling massive armies with the simplistic game play that KOEI's 'Warriors' series' offer.
Samurai Warriors 2: Empires comes with the standard game modes, which are: Empire Mode, Free Mode, Archives, New Officer Mode, and Options.
Empire Mode, the main part of the game. Here, you get the chance to start your own kingdom, or control a pre-set kingdom through numerous scenarios. You can also use your own created officers, as a ruler, or just a warrior. There is a variety of options inside, and outside of battle. First you start off by choosing where you want your kingdom to be positioned (choose a fief within Japan), then you choose which officers you want in your clan, though unlike other Empires', you can choose to start off with controlling more then one fief. Once you've done that, you then enter 'Strategy Phase', where you are able to take care of your provinces, your troop numbers, prepare plans for upcoming battles, etc.
After the strategy phase is done, you then choose if you wish to invade a territory, help an ally (if able to) or do nothing for this year's season. If you invade, you get to bring up to 5 officers along with you, and 2 officers to arrive as reinforcements. Then, once in the battle, you get to choose where your officers attack, what they should defend, and pretty much their entire actions on the battlefield, as well as be able to perform up to two strategies (such as, set ambush units, poison enemy supplies - these strategies are purchased in the strategy phase). Pretty much, Empire mode is like that, and continues until you have unified Japan under your banner.
Free Mode; offer's you to play through any battle on your own accord. You get to choose which officers are on your side, and which officers you are facing, and tear through the enemy ranks with your overly powerful skill your officers have over the enemy. There's no real purpose to this mode, just purely if you fancy a quick battle, without all the empire controlling aggravation, then this is the mode to play. This mode is also ideal to those whom are new to KOEI's 'Warriors' series, and will give them a chance to learn the ways of the game, and with a friend to!
Archives, pretty much just allow you to view officer statistics, artworks, movies and the works. Nothing really special occurs here, more of, a minor satisfaction to know that when you play through, your unlocking new content, as you unlock what's in the archives by playing through Empire mode many more times then you'd want to.
New Officer Mode, now this is something you'd think would be special. But unfortunately for us, KOEI royally screwed this part up. Unlike previous Empires' you cannot create a unique character. You are offered pre-set models, and depending on your gender, is depending on what very few weapons your character can use. You cannot have a female or male character that is opened to all of the weapon options, which is downright dreadful. Once you've created your officer, you look exactly like the generic officers that appear in the game; I have no idea what was going through KOEI's head when they came up with this piece of crap, but personally, it'd be far better if they skipped it altogether.
Options, as normal, just cover the sound settings, picture settings and what-not; your standard stuff.
Samurai Warriors 2: Empires does offer some good features though, as it offers over 400 officers to choose from (most of them being generic, but your still able to play as them!), over 50 new policies from prior Empires series' games. Multi musou attacks with up to 3 officers onto the battlefield (musou attacks are like your overdrive, when your musou bar is maxed, you unleash a magical steamroll of attacks). It includes a new 'formations' feature, that is unique to Samurai Warriors 2: Empires, which allows you to gain advantage over the battlefield with better unit formation, and lots more!
I, being a fan of the KOEI hack n slash games, had quite a bit of fun with this game, even with its many disadvantages, with little advantages. Its' storyline, the characters, and its' simplistic game play gets me hooked, and keeps me there. I expected a lot more from this though, as it just seems like a cheap pawn off of the other Empires with different characters.
The game is fairly addictive, depending really what your tastes are. I enjoy this game mostly due to its' strategic features that it offers outside of the normal Samurai Warriors style, being able to control every single it of your empire, without having to follow what the computer tells you to do. It makes a complete difference. The game isn't original at all, as it's' pretty much a straight copy from Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, with some different characters and worthless added features.
As with all KOEI games, graphics should never come into account, simply because, they are utter crap. KOEI cannot produce good, detailed graphics to save their lives, it is probably the worst problem with the Warriors' series, either that, or the A.I, they're both pretty damn useless. Though, this game shouldn't be bought for an eye-saw, as its' strategic features, its' game play, and good storyline far make up for its' downfall in these areas.
The soundtrack is pretty decent, just like Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, this game allows you to choose which track you wish to play as background for your battle, which you can never do in the original series, or the Xtreme Legends series. Though with its' pop style, unlike the rock style they use for Dynasty Warriors, is a real disappointment. When I'm hacking up hundreds of enemies, I don't want to listen to pleasant oriental esc music, I want hardcore rock/metal that really gets you into the mood for a killing spree. The sound effects are rather mediocre, with the basic grunts of enemies, and the dreadful voice acting the main characters have, none of it fits well at all. Quite literally, some of the voices make you want to mute the TV just to avoid the crap that comes out of them.
Like most Warriors games, this is no different; the game isn't difficult at all, or complex. The most unskilled gamer could pick up the controller, play this, and complete it without any trouble at all. It quite literally is, button mashing until everyone is dead. Nowadays, you'll find this game for a cheap price, we're looking at the £10 range, which can be worth it if you're a diehard fan of the series', but for those that want a more, compelling game with an actual challenge, then avoid this and wait for later, hopefully better instalments.
Samurai Warriors 2 Empires combines the most exciting aspects of Action, Fighting and Strategy games. Japan is divided into 25 warring states and it is up to you to resurrect a nation using equal amounts of strategy and strength! Before each battle, you will meet with their war council to discuss military and political affairs; then it's time for combat. Samurai Warriors 2 Empires is a tantalizing blend of strategy and true warrior action. The Empires games have long been regarded as the deepest most tactical installment in the Warriors' series. Samurai Warriors 2 Empires takes these strategic foundations even further with more choices and opportunities for the player to shape policies and build an army capable of uniting all of the warring states within Japan under one ruler. This game balances the political and tactical machinations of preparing an army for battle with the spectacular battlefield action that the Warriors games are renowned for to provide an incredibly involving tactical action experience.