I think reviewing the Samurai/Dynasty Warriors games is a guilty pleasure of mine. It must be, considering the amount of them I've reviewed and yet when the next lot come up for review I put my hand up for them... Actually, no, moaning about how many Dynasty/Samurai Warriors games Ive reviewed is the guilty pleasure.
Anyway, here we are again take control of a legendary warlord in ancient Japan and attempt to take over the country or at least whichever part of it is in dispute for that scenario. It's very loosely based around Japanese history, in a kind of 'whalers on the moon' way (for those non Futurama-versed readers, read 'not very'). You control the warlord during battles, and kill hundreds of soldiers and warlords during every battle. The only problem and this has been a problem with every Dynasty/Samurai Warriors game is that you only really have one attack, and so you just continually hammer that attack button, occasionally pressing the 'charge' attack button to finish off your combo with a slightly stronger move.
In between the battles you have to decide how you tactically want to spend the money collected from the land under your control - recruit troops or special units or propose to become allies with another warlord, that sort of thing before you then decide which territory you want to attack or defend next. There's very little new here over the previous 'Empires' games, but that's not to say that it's not addictive there's a quiet satisfaction in stomping your way across Japan and conquering all before you, but by the time you've done a campaign there's nothing new to see or do aside from seeing some more of the pretty CGI cut-scenes by grinding through another campaign or playing it through with a friend co-op.
Moving on to the more technical aspects, the Dynasty/Samurai Warriors series has never been too pretty, and this is no exception - there are some horrible aliasing issues on the landscapes and... everything else. You do get plenty of enemies on screen at any time, and little sign of slow down. For what reason I'm not sure, but the player's character seems to be slightly closer to the screen than on the 360 version which makes it very easy to get blind-sided by enemies and a pain in the arse having to continually snap the camera behind to avoid losing sight of your enemy. I'm just going to skip right over the bulk of the sound and say that the music isn't too bad if you're engrossed in the game but it will drive any non-playing bystanders insane.
Samurai Warriors 2 Empires isn't a game that is entirely without merit, the problem is that those merits are rather too well worn now. There's not too many, if any other series of games where you can slaughter hundreds of soldiers in a few minutes, the problem is that there's no need to buy this version of the game over any recent previous one.