Xbox One, PS4, PS3 (£49.99)
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires biggest flaw remains in the combat arena, no matter what the strategy adds.
This expansion pack, coming more than a year after the original, is supposed to provide an alternative to the mind-numbing button-mashing that would be better suited in a sticky-floored arcade by the seaside.
In theory it works. You can pick your character and ally yourself to an existing ruler or go it alone and raise your own banner; you can be loyal to one ruler or become powerful and stage a coup.
The turn-based selections decide how powerful you can truly become, while there are added decisions to make such as whether to marry and have children. You can build to improve weaponry and armour, convince other factions to ally themselves to you and expand your borders in a way that makes the game feel like a Total War-lite.
The problem comes when you actually have to get down to the dirty stuff. Variety comes in the form of the characters and weapons, not their skills. The edit mode is huge amounts of fun - you could build an army of soldiers in bright pink uniforms with green horses if you wish.
But whereas in other RPG games you level up, struggling against stronger enemies until you are good enough, in this game you are the best warrior on the battlefield from the moment you step foot on it.
Thousands upon thousands of your enemies will fall beneath your sword (or garden rake, as I picked) without landing a blow on you and the bosses only offer stronger resistance as they have a bigger health bar. The constant mashing to produce the limited set of moves makes you grow weary, quickly.
It might be fun building your Empire, but there's an inevitable sense of dread when you know you're marching to another fight.
The graphics are among firmly stuck in the previous gen, while the music and sound effects don't seem to have moved on much from the first game in the series - perfect arcade fodder but annoying for anyone else sitting close by.
There's the beginnings of a good game in here if only Koei Tecmo can let it out.Reuse content