Samurai Warriors 2 Empires Reader Review
Alot of people seem to have grown tired of Koei's seemingly endless stream of Hack-'n-Slash-Chinese/Japanese-History-Action (I think this label is fairly correct). I don't blame you. They all look almost the same. But looks can be deceiving, and in this case, I for one think they are.
The main mode available to you offers a whole bunch of scenarios and settings to play through, aswell as a completely empty map, where all the fiefs (fief; a fee or feud held of a feudal lord; a tenure of land subject to feudal obligations; a territory held in fee.) are empty to begin with. The latter enables you to choose things like in which fief to start and what officers you would like to play with, including your own. This strategy-mode promises alot of diversion, and should be able to pass your time effectively. This, and the addition of Decree-cards, providing different bonuses and feats, in and out of combat, adds up to what could have been a very interesting game.
Sadly, it falters somewhat. While it's still worth playing, it could have been so much more. The potential is clearly there for all to see. The strategy-phase is limited and simplified, and there aren't that many tools that you will have to use to succeed. You consult your generals, announce that your fiefs need development, move a few officers around. End of turn. Moving on to battle-phase.
The battle-phase is kind of like the strategy-phase, only this time you get to decide whom to slaughter. Or where to defend. Or whom to help. Or... well, that's about it, leaving out the option to do nothing whatsoever. Once you decide upon an action, still leaving out the option to do nothing whatsoever, you are tossed into the fray. You find yourself staring at a screen where you can choose your equipment, change formations, if you got any during the strategy-phase and get on your horse, should you have one. When you've looked everything through, all you have to do is get out there and win!
Basically, what you need to do in order to win is kill every NPC named 'Base Captain', not including your own (Note: These are conveniently named with blue letters, so you don't mistake them for the enemies, which are named with red letters) on the way from your main camp to the enemies. When you've done that and/or killed the enemy commander, you've won. You get some experience, some new stats and perhaps a level if you've been good, and you may unlock a few officers whom you can hire and give a spot within your own ranks. This can get repetitive in the long run, and there are alot of things they could have done to make these battles more interesting, especially in the pre-set game scenarios. And the camera is just a tad too low, but that's almost not worth mentioning.
When it comes to multiplayer, 2 player co-op is what's available for you, and no not Live, just Split-Screen. This is where I think the game is really lacking, and where it could really pick up if they decide to change it. Live-support for one would give this game a real push, but there's more! Just imagine. You and a few friends decide to fight it out on the Divided Lands scenario. You pick different corners to start out with, so that you're all surrounded by a few computers. From here on, you gain territory, hire officers and build your army in preparation for the final event, where you and your friends fight over supremacy! Devious plots, frail alliances and well-polished swords!
This is what I'd like SW2:E to be. This is what it could be. This is what it should be.
Still, in the end I find this game quite entertaining, and it keeps me interested enough to keep playing.
Now, there's just one more thing... Why, oh why, did you decide, once again, to dub this game aswell? The original voice-acting is bound to be a million times better than this brainless heap of comments. Pre-pubertal females voicing their happyness over the fact that they managed to decide to defend a base, a surfer-dude who finds that some base ahead of him looks "tasty" almost makes me think that Keanu Reeves and a squeaky-voiced Paris Hilton recorded every single line in the game, save a select few. Luckily, this quickly disappears into the background, and you soon dismiss it as white noice. You want to know why Japanese voice-acting will almost always be better than english (Let's assume the game has also been made in japan.)? Because their voice-actors actually get paid, and have some incentive to perform well.
And to be fair, most westeners wouldn't be able to tell poor Japanese voice-acting from good Japanese voice-acting. They'd just dismiss it as some form of dialect.
7 / 10