The characters are split into 4 camps: The Western Army (Okuni, Keiji, Magoichi, Goemon), Eastern Army (Yukimura, Kunoichi, Shingen, Kenshin, Masamune, Yoshimoto), Oda Army (Nobunaga, Noh, Ranmaru, Mitsuhide, Hideyoshi, Oichi), and the Tokugawa Army (Ina, Hanzo, Tadakatsu). The story usually varies for each character, although most of the stories boil down to conquering all of Japan. The characters in the same camp usually share the first and third chapter, but there are two different second chapters for each sub-group in the camp. There's a hidden 4th chapter in which characters from the Dynasty Warriors series arrived in Japan and began conquering, and only your character can stop them. The main warriors you're facing are Zhao Yun, Liu Bei, Xiahou Dun, Cao Cao, Sun Shang Xiang, Sun Jian, Diao Chan and Lu Bu (the main boss).
Like the Dynasty Warriors on the PSP, characters move on a grid-like map. You move depending on performance, charms and terrain: If you do well in a combat stage, and get an A rank, you could mostly move three spaces (It gets less for B and C, the lower grades). You can also use charms to increase movement for yourself and allies. And some terrain, mostly water, impede movement.
You move yourself only while the allies move on their own. When you encounter an enemy, the allies fight by simulation, determining the winner due to army morale and overall morale. When you fight, however, you dish it out by going into a round of combat. There are different objectives except when you are fighting an important officer, which you must kill in the stage.
You can pick up charms in the battlefield or have them in the beginning from officers. They have varying abilities, like increasing movement, deal fire damage, cause lightning.