Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires Game Poster Image
Tactical action offers more customization, weak graphics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Being victorious on the battlefield seen as both a positive (defending one's beliefs, fighting for one's country) and a negative (killing others). There's also the use of diplomacy, political schemes to unify factions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You can create a unique fighter -- or use one of more than 80 existing ones -- but you don’t know enough about their backgrounds, personalities, motives to determine if they're positive role models.

Ease of Play

Unless familiar with the series, some might find it a little challenging to play, even though introductory missions get you going. Mostly a hack-'n'-slash-style action game with combos and special moves.

Violence

Players master a number of weapons -- swords, spears, hammers, crossbows -- to defeat hordes of enemy soldiers. Though there's no blood, enemies often scream out in pain, fall to the ground when defeated.  

Sex

Many female characters wear revealing outfits showing ample cleavage, buttocks. Camera angles sometimes focus on breasts and legs. Breasts often jiggle when characters perform acrobatic attacks.

Language
Consumerism

Part of the long-running Dynasty Warriors franchise. The game soon will offer optional downloadable content (DLC) for additional money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking alcohol not shown, but dialogue contains references to heavy consumption, such as, "His love for wine and drink more often than not led to his defeat in battle."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is a combat-heavy tactical war game that lets players fight to take control over ancient China. Players can choose to create their own warriors or use one of more than 80 included in the game to fight for your faction. A number of swords, knives, hammers, and crossbows, among other weapons, can be used to defeat hundreds of enemies. There's no blood or gore but lots of violence against swarms of AI-driven opponents. Parents also need to know there's some suggestive imagery of female characters, references to alcohol, and an optional in-game purchase for extra content.

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What's it about?

Koei Tecmo's DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 EMPIRES is a third-person tactical action-adventure that revolves around fighting to gain control over ancient China. Along with creating your own unique character, you can assume the role of 83 warriors, including many fan favorites from previous games. Playable on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as a digital download for PlayStation 3 and Windows PC, this latest game includes new features such as deep customization (fighters, horses, banners, and armies), the ability to import characters from previous saves, battlefields that evolve with environmental changes, and a "custom scenario" mode that lets you tweak virtually every detail in the world.

Is it any good?

Though this is not quite a mainstream game in the western world -- mainly because of its historical premise and heavy tactics -- fans of the series likely will appreciate Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires for its many customization options, such as an unprecedented number of warriors to choose from, dozens of battlefields, and the return of the awesome Empire mode. Here, gamers can choose from one of many unique roles, warfare methodology, and locations to fight through. Not that it's a bad thing, but the core gameplay hasn't changed much over the years. You'll hack-'n'-slash your way through armies, swapping weapons and utilizing combo attacks for extra damage, along with conquering bases, claiming territory, and defending your land against relentless intruders. Along with the action, there's some diplomatic decisions to be made. Players have a Risk-like map of territories to conquer and stats to wade through, if you like.

Improved this time around are the "stratagems" load-out before battles, where you can equip yourself with life-saving special attacks and self-healing abilities, summon new officers, change the weather, and more. Unfortunately, the visuals aren't breathtaking; the graphics are simply OK on next-generation consoles, and the awkward English voice-overs likely will cause you to roll your eyes every so often. Worse, there’s no online multiplayer. Although it delivers more of the same as previous installments, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires adds a ton of customization and other features for fans of this franchise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires. Is the violence justified because it mirrors history? Since ancient Chinese battles were well-documented, could it be argued there's some pretext here for these battles, or is it plain wrong to present war as entertainment?

  • Talk about strategy. Is it better to charge into battle or diplomatically negotiate conflicts? Are there moments when one of these options is stronger than the other?

Game details

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