Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires Review – PlayStation 5

It’s been four years since Koei Tecmo and developer Omega Force released the last mainline entry in the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Dynasty Warriors 9. The team tried to do something new by making the game open world but the finished product left a lot to be desired. Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is out now and sees the team bringing back some strategy elements to the game to improve on the original version. Is it worth checking out this time around or are you better off getting your Musou fix elsewhere?

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I’ve put several dozen hours into Empires on the PlayStation 5 and for those who played Dynasty Warriors 9 you probably won’t be too impressed this time around either. This game is still very much built on top of a game that wasn’t great to begin with so there was only so much the added strategy elements could do. The Conquest mode in Empires lets you play through various campaigns as you work to grow your forces and take control of China. This is done by playing as commanders or as officers all of which can be characters of your creation or established ones from the franchise.

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The managing side of the game is a huge part of it and to be honest it will likely be daunting to any newcomers. Some things are explained to you but a lot of it isn’t so you’re left to figure things out as you go. You’ll be spending a lot of time in menus doing things like managing food, recruiting more officers, building up your defenses, growing your relationships with your troops, and much more. The actions aren’t that interesting either as you basically just choose what you want to do and then it happens. The game operates on a monthly calendar system and every action moves you ahead in time. If you don’t get something done though it never seemed like there was much punishment for it which may or may not be a good thing in your eyes. The mode also lets you explore the open world with other characters on things called strolls. While doing this lets you build your relationship with them, I found it pretty boring. Sure, you can get items once your friendship reaches a certain point or even get married but that’s about it. Walking around the open world also presented itself poorly as it is mostly barren so there is little to see or do. While the management side is a lot to learn it was also quite rewarding seeing my kingdom grow larger over time due to my actions. The Conquest mode is also a nice change up from the usual Musou combat but that is here too.

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You get to engage in the usual combat gameplay this franchise is known for when you try to invade another kingdom or one tries to invade yours. No matter which of the two is happening they basically play out the same and that’s with you taking over bases on the battlefield so that you can get to the enemy general and take them down. The actual art of combat is serviceable but doesn’t feel as good as some other Musou games that have released in the past couple years. You’ll basically just mash the square and triangle attack buttons to take down hundreds of brainless AI soldiers or call in military strikes to do so all while carrying out your objectives. You will have to do some different things at times like stop enemy catapults but for the most part these parts are the standard combat you would expect. While I enjoyed it for awhile most of the maps you fight on end up all feeling the same and so it got repetitive to me over time.

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Playing the PlayStation 5 version of the game it ran mostly smooth but the game isn’t a looker that’s for sure. Character models are about the best-looking thing about the game as the rest clearly shows this franchise is in need of an upgrade. So much of the geometry is just basic looking and pop-in was all over the place as I played. Load times also weren’t especially fast for a game running on an SSD. The game seemed to run at 60FPS most of the time but there were times where it hitched which was jarring. Honestly, I think Samurai Warriors 5 that released last year looked better visually than this and that game wasn’t even on PlayStation 5 natively. Hopefully Dynasty Warriors 10 is on current generation consoles only so that we can get a proper visual leap forward.


Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires improves on the original Dynasty Warriors 9 in some ways and in others it still feels like the same half-baked game. The Conquest mode is a lot to learn but you can spend a lot of time in it once you do. Making decisions, bringing in soldiers, defending your kingdom and so on can be a fun time waster but it won’t be for everyone. It’s also disappointing that the combat and visuals in some other recent Musou games were more enjoyable than what is in this one. If you’re a fan of the Empires games then you’ll probably enjoy this but just don’t expect some kind of big leap over what came before.

*Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.

Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires





  • Building and managing your kingdom can be fun
  • Lots of characters to play as and ways to create your own
  • Mostly runs at 60FPS


  • Combat doesn't feel as good as some other recent Musou games
  • Pretty ugly visually
  • Lacking mode and map variety
  • Open world parts still feel pointless

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