Samurai Warriors 4: Empires (PS4)


Tecmo/Koei’s Warriors series has blossomed into a strategic juggernaut. Mostly, it’s the Empires spin-off, in this case producing an attractive and enthralling peak at politics in 1500s Japan. The core remains a bastion of button mashing combat – still sensational some 40 games in – while the diplomatic shell carries weight.

Think Risk, if bolder. Scenarios play out with historical figures in the ruling class, doling out orders and commanding their ranks to overtake lands. It’s crude in the way politics often are: make allegiances only for personal benefit, wipe out those allegiances as tactics call for it. Samurai Warriors creates wide consequences for poor or cruel leadership, while rewarding those shrewd enough to appease – or simply conquer – all. Thick menu systems and equally heavy tutorials are a burden, but these systems are worthy of the time invested.

Somehow, the series continues to find reinvention to shy away from sameness while retaining a unique spin on grandiose history.


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