Set in ancient China, DW5: Empires brings the Empire mode to the latest DW game, while the basic hack & slash, button mashing gameplay remains the same.
The Empire mode adds a strategy overlay to the basic game, with a map of 25 areas to conquer. Each turn consists of two parts: empire control, and war making. Your territories bring you tax revenue each turn, which you can spend on various different actions. You can create items and tactics for your generals to use in battle. Recruit generals and troops, fortify your territories, among many other command options. You can wage war on other territories, or may be called upon to defend your own. For each battle you select which generals and lieutenants will fight. There are 4 scenarios to unlock, though they offer little to differentiate each other.
There is two player split-screen co-op, in either of Empire of Free play modes. Next to the soundtrack of the base game, this edition also adds soundtracks from previous titles, including Dynasty Warriors 2, Dynasty Warriors 3 and Dynasty Warriors 4.