Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires (真･三國無双3 Empires, Shin Sangoku Musou 3 Empires) is a spinoff of Dynasty Warriors 4 and the first Empires title for the Dynasty Warriors series. Unlike other Warriors related titles, the players can see a simplified map of the Three Kingdoms area and are not asked to regularly perform a string of conflicts. Instead, the player chooses a character to act as the land's unifier and has the freedom to expand their territory at their own pace.
Generally, the Empires installments combines gameplay elements found in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series with the Warriors titles.
A one player feature that is the game's main focus. Players can either start their mode with rulers in their historical locations or opt for a fictional version. Players can choose who they wish to use as their land's unifier based on the region of land they first select. If they choose a land with no allegiance, the player's ruler may be Zhang Jiao or one of the edit characters.
Multiplayer mode that pits to two players' skills against one another. There are four different modes of competition.
- Vanquish - try to be the one who has the most KOs. Players can use the "Announce" ability to surround their rival with powerful opponents.
- Pilfer - find as many treasures as possible and sell them to the nearest merchant.
- Melee - places the players on top of a two story building and asks them to defeat as many enemies as possible. Players can be knocked off the top of the walls to stall their opponent's progress. Projections for characters being blown away by attacks is greatly increased.
- Endurance - see who can survive the enemy onslaught the longest.
Similar to Dynasty Warriors 4 with more additions. If there is a save file for Dynasty Warriors 4 containing any Edit Characters, they will also appear with a few adjustments. Players can additionally customize the color of their character's costume, skills, tone of voice, battle motions (copies the unique characters as well as Fu Xi and Nu Wa), and stat growth. Body shape and the preset models can also be adjusted from three different sets.
View officer biographies, weapons, troop types, and items. Also features a gallery section with artwork from Dynasty Warriors 4.