Samurai Warriors 4 Empires – Review
Follow Genre: Hack and Slash
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS Vita
Tested on: PS4

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires – Review

Site Score
Good: Endless possibilities for your chosen or created kingdom.
Bad: Repetitive cutscenes can quickly become boring.
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Samurai Warriors has been running strong since 2004, gathering a massively dedicated fan base and providing a tactic led and chaos filled adventure. This is the third revision of the game, with Samurai Warriors 4 receiving an upgraded version that is Samurai Warriors 4-2. Following the pattern of many of the previous Omega Force games, a more tactic based ‘Empires’ version has come. We grew up with the button mashing, overdriven lead guitar filled series that is Dynasty Warriors and we were hugely excited to get a chance at expanding our own clan in Japan with nostalgia fighting by our side the entire way.

Samurai Warriors 4 Empires Logo



Samurai Warriors 4 Empires is primarily based on the ‘Sengoku’ period of Japan. This was a time of mass warfare and political struggle. Rival clans battled fiercely against each other with many different goals in mind such as the unity of Japan or simply a quest for power and domination. It is in this very period where you are placed and as advertised, publisher Koei and developer Omega Force wish for you to ‘Create your own version of history’. Many of the in game characters are based on real life warriors as are the wars based on actual events. Both are of course heavily romanticized in the typical ‘Warriors’ series. You also have the option to build your own characters with a highly in depth creator. The choice of hair and armour options are astounding and give you the tools to create your ideal warrior to lead your clan.

Cut scenes before, after and inbetween battles lead the story and keep you updated with the relationships of fellow officers as they carry out their sworn duties. Relationships can blossom, rivalries can flourish, experienced warriors can welcome protegees and sworn enemies can be found on the battlefield.

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The Warriors series has never really been known for its stand out visuals and this entry really isn’t all that different. Clipping issues, lack lustre environment mechanics and bland textures are the norm here and that’s exactly how we like it. Really, we wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, Samurai Warriors 4 Empires has done a great job of retaining the classic look of the series whilst bringing in enough visual upgrades to be considered an aesthetic improvement. You only have to had played any of the previous titles to understand the charm of the Dynasty or Samurai Warriors series’ graphics. They’re typically arcade-ish with vibrant and bright colours. Environments are beautifully alike to the nature and architecture of Japan (in the case of Samurai Warriors) and this has been something Omega Force have done beautifully since their first Warriors title.

Sakura leaves blow gracefully across your screen, dust is kicked up in the masses and water flows in an amateurishly repetitive pattern. It’s all part of the charm.  And with the amount of action and the sheer masses of allied and rival enemies, it’s impressive to notice that there’s absolutely no drop in frame rate at any point of the game. We guess we have the not so superior visuals to thank for this!

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The game has thankfully been kept entirely in Japanese. Not only does this provide an authentic, atmospheric Samurai gaming experience, it also means the complete elimination of the possibility of hilarious mispronunciations. You see, in the Dynasty Warriors games, there’s an important character named Cao Cao whose name is actually pronounced ‘Tsao Tsao’. Throughout the early titles, terrible English dub actors painfully repeated ‘Cao Cao’ over and over again. This led to many Cow Cow jokes and his second son ‘Cao Pi’ suffered even worse disgrace. Joking aside, the Japanese voice actors are spot on and deliver their lines gracefully. The voices are hard hitting and portray the emotions perfectly and with the sheer amount of character unique dialogues, it’s really impressive that there’s very few flaws to be heard.

The soundtrack is another positive for this title. It’s expansive and beautifully organic. The atmosphere delivered thanks to the traditional Japanese instruments is something that the game would severely miss if they were not so bold. This music score however could not be further away from Dynasty Warriors where heavy metal guitar riffs are king. This is a nice change and suits Samurai Warriors in a much more fitting way however there is a small lack of music that really drives you and and pumps you up when the battle isn’t going your way like is so common in the Dynasty Warriors lineup. Perhaps in future titles, a slightly heavier soundtrack would be something for the writers to consider. With that being said, it’s also charming to realize that such a calm soundtrack is perfectly aligned with the living and fighting style of the Samurai who were known for their perfection and calmness.
Either way, we thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack alongside the strong sound of clashing swords and spears, the roars of troops and the delivery of hard hitting dialogue.

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There really is so much to this hack and slash masterpiece that it’s almost impossible to mention the majority of game mechanics without a 10 page layout. Before we go into it, let us just say that we found it far too easy to sink in an enormous 20 hours into Samurai Warriors 4 Empires in just a few short days. The game has 2 main modes: The aptly named ‘Conquest Mode’, in which you choose a clan and its officers and begin your story, and ‘Genesis Mode’. It is here where you can change history and place any officers or leaders in any clan. So if you have multiple favourite characters spread across different clans, you can actually unite them and fight as one. We mostly stuck to conquest mode and began with the ‘Hōjō’ clan. We soon found ourselves on an honourable journey to unite the whole of Japan.

Your main focus in this game is your castle. This upgradeable mother base is the headquarters of your entire clan and army. You have the ability to place strategists, economists, politicians and much more. As you overcome other clans, you have the option to try to recruit rival officers in order to use their honed skills. Each room in your castle holds 2 of the same type of officer and finding a balance between the skill sets of those 2 chosen officers, will determine just how efficiently your kingdom will run. Different officers have different policies. For example, character Hanzō Hattori will often give you the option of assassinating rival clan offices (with the chance of failure and the loss of troops) whereas others will recommend you attempt to hire or bribe others.

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When all politics are organized, you may choose to attack other kingdoms or sometimes you may be forced to defend invaders.
It is here where the beautifully familiar combat gameplay begins. You take control of an officer and set about trying to achieve your offensive or defensive goals such as the defeat of enemy officers or the protection of gate zones where reinforcements can arrive from. Each character has their own battle style, weapon and ‘Musou’ (charged overdrive attack) and this keeps the game perfectly fresh. Taking control of different characters is a joy as you quickly learn their attack combinations and fighting style. Not too much has changed in the play style of combat since the original games so if you’re a fan, you’re going to feel very at home in this chaotic battlefield.


Samurai Warriors 4 Empires is a very welcome addition to the series. We loved the tactical opportunities given to us and as previously mentioned, found ourselves putting in a lot of time into this game without it ever getting boring. The freshness of this title is something we commend Omega Force on and whilst certainly rough around the edges in places, it’s a joy to play.

If you’re a fan of the series, it’s a must buy and if you’re new to these unique games, this is a great first opportunity to indulge yourself in the organized chaos that is Samurai Warriors.

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25 Year old gamer Scottish, living in Belgium.

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