A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While some of the characters are fighting for the people, others are fighting simply to rule over the rest or to create a lasting legacy. The soldiers are viewed as little more than cannon fodder and the plot all boils down to just finding reasons to throw hundreds of soldiers on the screen at once.
Positive Role Models
Players take on the role of various warriors and their armies as they all fight for control of ancient China. There are some story elements that explain they characters' motivations for fighting and ruling, but outside of some being more honorable than others, they're pretty much interchangeable.
While the game does a fair job of showing both male and female characters as equally capable, the setting in ancient China leaves very little available in terms of other representation.
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Ease of Play
The bulk of the gameplay is the straightforward hack 'n' slash, button mashing action that the Warriors franchise is best known for. But as with other Empires releases, this game includes more strategic/tactical elements, which requires more micromanagement of troops, political choices, and a slew of menus to navigate that slow down the action.
Violence & Scariness
A core mechanic to the Dynasty Warriors games is violence. The bulk of the game is hack 'n' slash action using special abilities, martial arts skills, and medieval weapons against overwhelming odds. While there's lots of violence, most damage is represented by flashy effects, with no onscreen blood or gore, and defeated enemies simply fall over and disappear.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters are shown in revealing outfits, emphasizing their cleavage, legs, and rears.
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Products & Purchases
This is the latest chapter in the long-running Dynasty Warriors franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The in-game dialogue occasionally makes references to drinking alcohol and getting drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is a historic fantasy action game available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows based PCs. The game's a follow-up to Dynasty Warriors 9, combining the hack 'n' slash gameplay of that title with the strategic and tactical elements present in other Empires games. Violence is a core part of the gameplay, with players fighting overwhelming numbers of soldiers and more powerful commanders in fast-paced combat. While there's lots of violence, there's little to no bloodshed present. Some female characters are presented in a sexualized manner, wearing outfits that spotlight their cleavage and other assets.
Is It Any Good?
For the past twenty-five years, Koei Tecmo has been bringing gamers the history of ancient China's Romance of the Three Kingdoms era by way of hack 'n' slash action. And outside of the main titles, there have been numerous spin-offs, expansions, offshoots, and the like of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, with the most common being the more tactically driven Empires series. Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is just the latest chapter in this long running saga, breaking up the fast paced action of Dynasty Warriors 9 with a slog of micromanagement, political diplomacy, and other strategy-based elements. While some of this works to add an extra layer to the tried and true Warriors formula, the overabundance of options coupled with the repetition of content tends to weigh down the overall experience.
Although Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is almost bursting at the seams with content, it's hard not to feel like that content is a bit stale. Aside from the fact that most of the material is recycled from Dynasty Warriors 9, it doesn't help that there are only so many ways to retell the same story with the same framework from the same page in history. The new Castle Sieges don't feel like they add too much to the gameplay outside of creating bottlenecks in the action, and the expanded Politics system feels shoehorned in. None of this makes the game unplayable and there's still fun to be had if you dig around. It's just hard to ignore the sense of déjà vu of playing yet another formulaic chapter, especially when coupled with the awkward flow of the gameplay that the tactical elements bring to the mix.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.