Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires E3 2004 Updated Impressions

Koei is preparing to crank out another iteration of its popular Dynasty Warriors franchise, and we've got the latest information from E3 2004.

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You could try to stop Koei from making more Dynasty Warriors games, but chances are, you'd fail. The fact is, the Dynasty Warriors franchise has continually gained more and more fans with each installment, and over the years, it has blossomed into Koei's most successful series. The next addition to the series will be Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires for the PlayStation 2. Empires is something of a 'tween game, because it isn't quite enough of a sequel to be called Dynasty Warriors 5, but it includes several new features, the likes of which add a new layer of strategy to the game.

Koei described Empires to us as a mixture between the established style of play already found in previous Dynasty Warriors and Defender of the Crown. The biggest change is the ability to create your own empire within the game. The goal in creating your own empire will be to unite every region in China. Regions are mapped out onto a full map of China, and each is controlled by specific forces. As you take over certain regions, opposing regions may take the opportunity to attack you, so it's up to you to maintain a solid war strategy throughout the game. Gold is the primary currency you'll have to manage, and you can use it in multiple ways, one of which includes being able to offer it to a specific region so that you can "win" its loyalties. You'll earn gold primarily through combat, but you'll also be able to gain it through other means, like taxing the people of your empire.

In your empire, you will also have a number of officers, each of whom has his own specific policies he will try to dictate to you. It's up to you who you will listen to, but not all advice given will be helpful to your cause, so you'll want to be careful. Another addition to the fold is something called "battlefield strongholds." Battlefield strongholds are areas within a battlefield that can be controlled by either side. When your army controls one, its morale and strength will increase, thus giving you an advantage. Additional features in Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires will include more playable characters (primarily made up of generals that weren't playable in the last game) and a severely bulked-up character-edit mode, with tripled options for appearances and many more available weapons to choose from.

While all of these changes should bring more strategy to the table, make no mistake, Empires will still feature the same core-type of action that has been the staple of the series year in and year out. Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires is slated to hit North America this September. We'll bring you more on the game soon.

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