Warriors Orochi 3: Empires is a hack 'n Slash strategy game. It is the first empires title in the Warriors Orochi series.
Typical gameplay switches between the strategy phase, similar to Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires, and the battle phase. The Strategy Phase map is divided into roughly 60 different sections, called fiefs just like Samurai Warriors 2: Empires, each of which is represented by a different battlefield in the battle phase.During the strategy phase, the player decides what their chosen character will do limited either by resources in ruler mode or actions in officer mode.
After picking a character the player decides whether they shall be a ruler or an officer, though character roles are set during most scenarios. If an officer starts off without a lord, they are a vagrant and must move to a province (which takes up one action) in order to enter the service of a ruling character or attempt to seize power. Every officer has a different ruling style and pays their officers differently.
Every season (made of 3 strategy phases or months) the ruler will call a council, declaring both their policy for the season and assigning the player with a battle that usually confers a greater reward than a mercenary battle. These battles are either adapted mercenary scenarios or invasions. Assignments may only be completed once a season.
During officer gameplay, the player may also take part in mercenary battles which run on different scenarios. Taking part in these battles can help forge friendly relations with other characters. Characters that are friends with the player may join them in battle, while those with strong ties can either swear an oath (Maximum of 2) or even marry (Maximum or 1) the player character. Note that characters can only marry characters of the opposite gender.
During ruler mode, the player character may employ various officers and pick which officers they take into battle. Each officer comes with a card that affects the battle or strategy phase in some way. Each officer can also occasionally confer a unique bonus to your force (For example, occasionally Orochi may decrease all enemy morale during the next month making invasions easier.) If the players territory is invaded, they must fight the battle whereas in officer mode they could choose not to join the battle. The player may also abdicate at any time, allowing them to take three officers of their choosing to act as friends. Their territory is then divided up between neighbouring lords, though some fiefs may fall under the control of a subordinate.
Unlike other Warriors Orochi titles, players do not pick three playable officers and switch between them. Levels acquired during Empire Mode are lost after playthrough, ensuring that each new playthrough begins with the player character at level 1.
Empire Mode-The main game mode, separated into either ruler or officer mode. There are three main scenarios to choose from initially based on the events of the previous games (Orochi's conquest, Warriors Orochi and Chaotic Land). As the players clear scenarios, they unlock more (with the exception of chaotic land which is a completely non-canon scenario where rulers can be assigned to a fief, and the player may pick their first three officers though not the opposing rulers).
Free Mode-The player may participate in a free battle, with all officers are lv 50. They may choose officers, though normal limitations apply (Four Musou Officers in main force, One in reinforcements). They may choose to assume the role of either invader or defender, ruler or officer and whether they have the advantage, disadvantage or the battle is on even footing. Multiplayer is allowed.
New Scenario mode-Players may create a scenario using a pre-made map. They may set victory conditions and BGM as well as place officers and troops.
VS Mode-Players may compete with other players in one of three scenarios. Duel is a one-on-one fight between players. Rampage is a competition between players to acquire more kills than their opponents. Control is a competiton between players to capture bases on a map.
Gallery Mode-Players may view unlocked artwork, unlocked movies and events, and view a customisable ending.
New Officer Mode-Players may create up to 200 custom officers using a variety of movesets and parts, including serpent officers. They may also assign character growth and officer cards. Custom officers count as musou characters for army selection purposes.
Options-Players may change various game options and listen to the game soundtrack.
All the playable cast from the Warriors Orochi Series are playable officers, along with over 600 different Generic officers neatly organised according to their series of orign (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi). Also, the player has the option to make up to 200 custom officers.