Critic: Rebecca Rd
Date of Review: Mar 11, 2016
Game Page: N/A
The probably last installment of Samurai Warriors 4 is Samurai Warriors 4 Empires. It is supposed to be the ‘Ultimate Warriors Conquest Simulator‘. So I just had to try it out as someone who loves the Warriors games.
In fact the game has a very neat building. You have the usual design of the Main Menu and some stuff to choose from. The Settings and the Downloads are explaining themselves, I think, so I don’t think it’s necessary to include them here.
I will start with the Edit Mode, as this mode interests a lot of people. The Edit Mode from the previous games returns, giving the opportunity to either build your own character or view special costumes you acquired through DLC in Samurai Warriors 4, Samurai Warriors 4-2 and Samurai Warriors 4 Empires itself.
The Custom Characters Mode doesn’t show that many differences to the previous games. It adds the Ability to give the character it’s name, set a parent and set a compatibility. You can choose any characters you want to be a parent to your character, regardless of the gender. However you can just put in characters that come with the game, custom characters aren’t able to be a parent to you. I at least tried and didn’t find my created character in that list, which was a bit sad.
Setting a compatibility allows your character to increase the friendship or rather relationship to the chosen character more quickly. Say you put in Yukimura, then the relationship between Yukimura and your character increases more quickly than it does with any other character.
Another addition to the Custom Characters Mode is the Exchange Characters. It is like the exchange system in Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires, for those of you who played it. As for those who didn’t I explain: here you are able to exchange any existing character in the game by the one you made. Even the ones that were made by Koei Tecmo using edit parts. You create your character, choose exchange character and you’re able to actually decide who it will exchange. Comes in handy if you aren’t satisfied with the looks of some characters.
Also when you choose the Abilities of your character, it will get values in the three domestics Leadership, Wisdom and Politics and will set some policies to your character based on its growth. If you pick a focus on Attack it has policies mainly for Military purpose. I will explain these policies later on the Magistrate part.
The other modes are similar to the installments of Samurai Warriors 4 and Samurai Warriors 4-2, we have the Vault that shows the ingame scenes, enabled you to listen to the music and view biographies of all characters. And your overall completion and play time.
In the Archives you can view all the cutscenes that appear in the game and you can also decide which characters participate in them. People who played the previous Empires installments of Koei Tecmo know of this feature. Also I would rather call them events here as it’s more conversation events than actual cutscenes. You simply choose the event you would like to see and then you are able to place the characters in it as you want them to appear. It’s nice for people like me who want to make videos telling a story. Since the game is said to also have a focus on human drama, there are a lot of scenes. Way more than in Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires for those wanting to know. The scenes are sorted in 4 categories: Territorial, Historical, Battle and Human Relations. There also is a 5th categorie called ‘Other’ but that’s only the opening and the ending of the game. The categories are very self-explained. So it’s easy to actually find what you are looking for.
In Biographies you’re able to choose to either look into the biographies of the famous officers, meaning the ones with unique appearances and other officers, meaning those with rather generic appearance and the ones created by Koei Tecmo using edit parts. You also get to see the famous officers characters relation with other famous officers, too.
I don’t think I need to explain the Music. It’s just that you can listen to the music of the game there.
Now we get to the part for the actual gameplay. The Conquest Mode and the Genesis Mode. The Conquest Mode let’s you choose one of the scenarios to play as.
You choose the scenario and then you choose which Clan you want to play as. The Clans have different goals in the game. For example: You choose the Battle of Sekigahara, the game will then let you decide on which clan you want to choose and also gives you some recommendations in making the Clan’s symbol shine on the map. While looking through the Clans you see their Daimyo, which is marked by a helmet symbol, the officers and the goal. The goals are things like destroying a specific Clan, reaching the capital or unite a specific region and some other things. The goal is to actually specify on when the actual scenario ends and the optional game begins. If you reach the goal of a Clan you can either decide to end the game at this point or continue and unify all of Japan. It’s very nice to have if you want to just quickly play through a scenario you can actually end it after reaching a goal. After finishing a scenario, you will unlock another scenarios. Together with the DLC scenario ‘The Osaka Campaign’, I counted 7 scenarios available in Conquest Mode. There also will be more scenarios added with upcoming DLCs.
In the Genesis Mode you’re able to actually create your own scenario. You choose one main scenario of the ones existing and then you are free to edit everything on the map.
You can clear the whole map of all Clans and then place everything on yourself. You can also clear everything, place on one or two Clans and have the other places randomly or you can just edit the existing Clans per hand, doing some minor changes. You have a lot of freedom in it.
Once you chose your scenario and you Clan, you will get into your castle.You will be asked to choose your Target, Strategist and some Magistrates. The Target is the province you want to conquer. If you form an alliance with the target, the target status will be removed and you will be asked to choose another target. You’re also free to conquer other aside from your Target without setting them as target. The Strategist will stay for as long as you want. You can change the Strategist at anytime in the castle’s Menu. The Strategist will give you advices during the Politics phase and during the Battle phase, like telling you that it is the right time to attack the province you have a target. You will also be attacked occasionally. If you choose to actually attack a province, you will get an overview. The overview shows you if you’re at an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to Troop Strength, Supplies and Gold.. Everything that is in advantage will be displayed in blue. The disadvantage will be displayed in red. Giving you a good view if you will have it easy or not. All in all is this very helpful. If you decide to go into battle, you will be able to prepare. Also the game will show you the differences in forces. If you have more troops than your enemy, the enemy will be weakend due to being at a disadvantage. Opposite happens when you have less troops.Other than that you can add a formation, that brings different Benefits with it. You gain benefits such as raising the defense or attack of your forces and more. You can also choose strategies that will be used in battle to make the battle easier for you. They are similar to the Stratagems of Dynasty Warriors Empires. The first of the 3 strategies you can chose will be active from the beginning of the game, the other two can be triggered through the Menu during the battle. All strategies use strategie points that you acquire. During the battle you might get Objectives for deepening the relationships of your officers.
The Magistrates are officers working in different deparments. At the beginning of the game, you have 3 departments: Development, Military and Personnel. You can place up to 2 characters in one department. You can see different symbols of the departments and the policies of the characters are in effect here. There are policies who have for example a two sword symbol, which makes them effective in the Military department as that one also has this symbol, it seemed to me like it at least. They will give you various proposals on what you should do. Here is to mention that the actual development of your provinces is similar to Nobunaga’s Ambition. They added a good amount of system from this game into this Empires title, making it rather big in managing. You will get proposals like developing the crop fields in a province, raising the defense of a province and various other things. You can choose to follow the proposals, which also raised the EXP of the officer proposing them, you can also do stuff yourself by choosing your daimyo, seeking advice from your Strategist what proposals you should go with or leave it completely to your Strategist.
I really like the management in this game as it gets you to do many stuff and you actually get to think about what you want to do like it is in Nobunaga’s Ambition and I really love playing Nobunaga’s Ambition, so it was a pleasant surprise to actually see such an advanced managing system in the game. The system surrounds many aspects from actual Development to managing the relationships between your officers.
Officers in the game can have various relationships to other officers. The can be friends/retainer, rivals, master and pupil, nemesis or sworn ally. The friends and retainer depends on if your character is a daimyo or a normal general. If your character is the daimyo of the Clan, he will be able to have up to 5 (trusted) retainers. If you have at least 4 of such retainers you can make them the four guardians of the Clan. The retainers section will be exchanged to a friends section if the character is a normal general. You’re able to have up to 5 close friends.
You’re able to deepen these relationships with making them work together as Magistrates, using them in the same battles and various other stuffs. Which enables you to actually form your own ‘network’ of relationships. Deepening the relationships of various officers will then trigger some events in the game, which will be then added to the Archive with these characters as the default characters, making it easy to actually determine which was who.
Other than this you’re also able to ‘adjust’ the look of your castle and banner a bit and develop your castle. You can change the wallpaper on the wall inside the castle or change your banner. You can unlock banner in fighting together with characters or destroying a Clan, which are the two ways I found at least. The banners bring various benefits in strengthening your Clan.
If you have a specific number of provinces you can further improve your castle, giving it more rooms for Magistrates and adding facilities such as a shop. You will also unlock other departments like a strategy department, where the characters come up with various battle strategies for you to use.
The first improvement comes with 3 provinces. And you have multiple choices. The benefits of the castle will be shown in the description.
Now for my humble opinion of the game. The game offers a wide range of system to use. You have to manage your kingdom more thorough than in the previous Empires installments. As I enjoy Nobunaga’s Ambition very much, it really is a nice system for me and maybe also other people who like it. The battle system also is nicely done with the formations and their effects on the forces. Also that the battle gets harder, if you’re in a disadvantage towards the enemy is very nice. The AI in the game also got improved and you notice it very much. And lastly the human relationship system is also very nicely done. I would have prefered real cutscenes like in Dynasty Warriors but since Samurai Warriors also was more focused on conversations in the Samurai Warriors 4 installment, it’s okay. All in all is the game nicely done, is a lot fun to play and, as for my opinion, deserves the title of the ‘Ultimate Warriors Conquest Simulator’. I hope they keep the upcoming Empires titles at this niveau or rather improve from this niveau. This game is the pinnacle of greatness of Samurai Warriors 4.
Very well done, Koei Tecmo!