Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is far from the first Warriors game on the Vita, but it’s definitely the latest: its port released for the system on November 24. We’ve been putting it through its paces, and we’re here to tell you what it’s about.
How is it different from the console versions?
So it has some touch controls. They aren’t too involved, and largely seem to compensate for the fewer buttons on the system itself, but there’s no reason for ambition on that front if you don’t have a good plan for how to use the Vita’s unique features. There’s also ad hoc multiplayer and PlayStation TV support, but if you’re mostly looking to play on a TV or with a buddy, it’s probably more convenient to get it on a console.
The most compelling difference is the inherent one: it’s on the Vita, and that’s a thing you can take with you on the go. That’s obvious, sure, but it results in playing the game differently.
What about all that cross-stuff?
There’s online cross-play and cloud-based cross-save with the PS4 and PS3 editions, and any DLC from those versions counts for all of them. But there’s no cross-buy, and Xbox and PC players are stuck in their respective pens. It’s a fairly standard configuration for these games, so veterans are probably used to this slate of features by now.
Why is it releasing later?
That’s… a good question. Other recent cross-platform releases have launched simultaneously, including this game’s predecessor, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition. There hasn’t been an official statement regarding the nine-month delay, but based on the final product, our best guess is that Omega Force needed more time to get it running smoothly on the hardware. To keep the full engine compatible with its big brothers, non-exclusive Warriors games have scaled back the textures and draw distance on the Vita, and this one’s certainly no exception.
This delay isn’t a big deal, but it does mean that many have had the opportunity to buy the game already on PS4, PS3, Xbox One or PC. Which leads us to our next topic…
Who should get this and why?
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires certainly caters to a specific audience, but given the wealth of releases, that’s not such a bad thing. If you’re just looking for a good Warriors game on the Vita, you’re better off with a portable exclusive like Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3. If you want a robust, accessible cross-play title, that’s probably Dynasty Warriors 8 XL CE. The Empires games are more of a slow burn, and the battles themselves are often smaller and more repetitive. These lead to big, climactic clashes, but as a result the game doesn’t inspire the burst of adrenaline found in other Musou titles.
A game with extra teeth like that inspires obsession, and no doubt there will be a crowd that buys a second copy of the game to transfer PS4 or PS3 saves and keep playing. Frankly, though, those people don’t need our help figuring this one out. As we mentioned earlier, though, portability makes you play a game differently, and in this case, that means the granular customization and bite-sized quest maps can fill smaller moments and fit into the traditional handheld experience. Heck, we just made custom horses and banners for a while, and that was a blast.
How do I get the most out of it?
The Empires games are best played in the same spirit as something like Crusader Kings, picking someone in a peculiar position and following their story. Running a kingdom is nice, but what about rags-to-moderate riches story of working your way up to a power position in a mid-tier province? How about piecing together a living as a vagabond, brandishing your sword for coin? It’s not easy out there, but you can give it a shot, free moment by free moment.
Hopefully these tips have made you better prepared to forge Empires on your Vita! It’s not for everyone, but it could be for you.