Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires – Review
Follow Genre: Hack 'n Slash, Strategy
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: KOEI TECMO
Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Switch
Tested on: PC

Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires – Review

Site Score
Good: Quick and fun matches, Still has a lot of potential
Bad: Buggy, Lacks a lot of options of the earlier versions, Graphical prowess really takes a dive at times
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It’s already been a whopping three years since we reviewed Dynasty Warriors 9, and we concluded it wasn’t the best entry of the series. We found that the story dulled down the further we progressed, and we also didn’t really care that much for some of the game’s open-world mechanics. Nonetheless, at its core, it was another proper Dynasty Warriors experience, and it guaranteed many hours of hack ‘n slash gameplay. Traditionally, after the release of the main series, an ‘Empires‘ version soon follows. These Empires spin-offs are often a bit more fast-paced and allow for a bigger mix of different (yet similar) scenarios to play through. We were given the chance to try the latest version of Empires on PC, and we enjoyed the core, but there is still work to be done to truly let this diamond in the rough shine.


There is not that much ‘story’ value to be found in Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires. The game presents you with a few fixed scenarios, as well as the opportunity to create your own unique officer. You’ll play through some different historical eras, but outside of a few snippets of text revolving around certain officers, you’ll be mostly left in the dark. The game does try to spice things up by adding small interactions between officers, even allowing your character to form (superficial) bonds, get married, and even have a child. While this still doesn’t really add any story content, it’s a nice touch allowing you to somewhat bond with your favorite characters.


Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires has left us with very mixed feelings when it comes to the game’s graphical prowess. At certain points, we found the battles that unfolded in front of our eyes extremely impressive, to then get disappointed with clipping errors, jagged edges, more pixels than one could count, and so on. The latter is further enhanced during the short interaction scenes where the backdrops look very bland and undetailed. The game needs a whole lot more polish to truly look like something we’d expect from a 2022 release. Of course, optimization is a key component for games such as this, as there is so much action on your screen, and thus some compromises have to be made. Nonetheless, certain parts of the game look as if we’re going back a generation or two.


The sound design is actually top-notch here. We loved the very adrenaline-infused music, which gets you in the mood to bash in the skulls of the hordes of enemies at your castle’s doorstep. We loved the backdrop, even though there is not that much variation. Even the voice acting has been handled in a professional fashion, but the dialogues do have awkward pauses very much reminiscent of old-school 90s games.


Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is an arcade-like Musou game with a few strategic elements thrown in the mix. For the most part, you’ll just be wiping out complete armies of grunts, and a few officers, during the many battles you’ll take part in. Outside of combat, you’ll have to make minor strategic choices that will aid the provinces under your control, or simply to allow your troops and officers to rest, to gain more income, and so on. You might even go for a stroll, talk to unaffiliated officers, and persuade them to join your brutal conquest.

Overall, the game’s concept is simple. You either take part in one of the game’s standard scenarios, or you make your own custom character. In either case, the offset will remain the same, and you’ll just have to make certain political decisions, and then duke it out with hundreds of soldiers trying to kill you. The game offers a set of different difficulty options, and we advise you to start off on the easy difficulty so you can properly gauge what to expect.

As a whole, the foundation of the game is decent, but it does feel a bit dated at times. The different maps in this title all feel the same, and after completing one scenario in the Conquest mode, you pretty much know what to expect from all of them. The cast of characters available is fairly varied, but we did miss a certain something when playing the game. One of the biggest flaws of the game was the absence of a local co-op function. The Empires spin-off titles are always fun to play with a friend, and we were utterly disappointed that Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires does not have the option to play with a friend. This also dulls down the tactical aspect of the game, as giving commands to NPCs to defend or attack a certain objective often ends up with them needing extra help anyway. An additional player often allows you to gradually take control over an area, without having to run back and forth because the AI keeps messing up.


Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is a lot of fun at its core, but in its current state, it’s a diamond in the rough that needs a whole lot of polish. We very much enjoyed the classic combat, the scenarios were fun to play through, the interactions between characters were interesting, and even the tactical elements added something extra to the mix. Sadly, the overall quality is diminished by the very rough graphics, the somewhat ‘basic’ feel of all the game’s mechanics, and most importantly the lack of a local co-op mode. Fans of the series will probably still very much enjoy this one, but we’d recommend waiting until the price drops a little, or at least until certain kinks get ironed out.

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Aspiring ninja.

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