Some things are to be expected; there won't be any milk in the fridge on Sunday morning - or if there is it'll have gone off. Other things are predictable; go to the pub without a coat and by last orders it'll be pissing down outside. Then there are certainties; every few months, the Koei sausage machine will crimp off another game featuring massed battles fought by ancient oriental warriors - each new release completely indistinguishable from the last to the casual bystander. And what's this? Displaying a regularity rivalled only by the chairman of the Prune Marketing Board's bowel movements, it's Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires.
"State of War?" Like there's ever been any other kind of state in a Samurai Warriors game? Samurai Warriors: Permanent Ceasefire - now that would be something to sit up and take notice of. But that's never going to happen, and frankly we wouldn't want it to. The idea of six million unemployed soldiers sitting around polishing their choppers doesn't really appeal. And so the war goes on, now spilling over onto PSP screens.
Anyone who's so far avoided contact with the Dynasty Warriors games could be forgiven for thinking they've missed the boat, imagining that by now there must be so much back-story to catch up on that it'll be like trying to get into Lost halfway through the second series. But while the plot might initially seem impenetrable, the gameplay has always been pure arcade stuff, and familiarity with previous games in the franchise is really not necessary.