DW7 plays more like 5, which I thought was weaker than 4 and definitely weaker than 6. It has some of the improvements that KOEI made to 6, such as water swimming, etc. KOEI removed the infinite Renbu combos for 7 and simplified the game further, taking out the jumping + strong attacks as well. Combat is a much slower affair, imo. I thought it was an inferior game to 6, but apparently, I'm in the minority, since a lot of DW fans disliked 6 for some reason. Oh well.
Story mode is stronger, though they removed Free mode and replaced it with a mode called Conquest mode, which I thought was just bull. Characters can equip different weapons this time, and each character has a different aptitude to a certain weapon, making them greater with that weapon than another character might be. Overall, it's DW5 with only middling improvements. I thought DW6 was a step forward for the franchise. This game, mechanically, is a step back, while storyline wise, it's a step forward, as you control different characters in each kingdom's Musou mode, while they also incorporate the later Jin dynasty, going past Wu Zhang plains finally.
I disliked 6 really compared to 4/5, which remain my favourites. 6 empires was a saving grace, but those games always tend to be, mainly because it lets me expand Dian Weis story beyond Wan Castle, something which this new conquest mode looks good for, but free mode going is a big no no. Speaking of Dian Wei, they gave him his axe back right? His ball and chain was bull. Two weapons sounds interesting and the introduction of Jin seems like the fresh bit of content we've been dying for. Jin was the first thing that sold me about this game tbh.
And as for the renbu system, I loved/hated it. Hated building up from the first level, since it was weak, but loved the infinite combos you could unleash, as well as the strong attacks growing in strength. I adored the original fighting system though so I probably won't complain it's been brought back. Though the removal of strong attacks is bad IMO.
Wait, they took out jumping? Seems a bit weird... What about on horses?