Familiar but different at the same time.
I am slowly increasing my knowledge of the “Warriors” franchise with games like Dynasty Warriors and the anime spin-offs that I have reviewed over the past few years. While they always get a bit monotonous, I still find them enjoyable for a time. The same goes for the new Samurai Warriors 4. While the core is the same, it feels different in a few ways from the other games garnishing the Warriors title.
In other Warriors fashion, Samurai has players taking control of an army leader fighting massive battles all across Japan. Utilizing powerful direct attacks and wide, multiple enemy-hitting attacks, players can take on a full army all on their own. Anyone who has tried out a Warriors game before knows exactly what is going on.
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Vita
Price I’d pay: $59.99
Multiplayer: Online and local co-op
Strategic button mashing.
There are some differences from the other games I have played, though. Firstly, the attacks themselves feel more like method rather than a button mashing game. Sure, anyone can button mash their way into victory, but in Samurai Warriors, it felt more like a real combo system. Knowing when to utilize power attacks against bosses and when to use hyper attacks to clear a ton of enemies out made the missions go by much faster than normal. All of these come in multiple varieties based on the character and the button combination. Of course, the super Musou attacks are the best for screen clearing, and using the rage mode to take down a captain faster is all here as well.
I was also able to bring two playable characters into each battle, allowing me to switch between them on the fly. Being able to switch out who I wanted to use allowed me to take over multiple areas and finish mission objectives faster, while still having my other captain on a different part of the map. holding their own against the opposing armies. It was a nice touch that added a bit more to the strategy other than triangle, triangle, square.
Like in Dynasty Warriors 8, players complete the story mode choosing multiple factions and playing through their missions allowing them to upgrade and equip certain characters with better weapons. It is substantial and feels fleshed out, with full cut scenes and a more personal story to tell.
My very own badass.
The bigger mode, and the one I spent the most time in, was the Conquest Mode. Here, I was able to create my very own character and take on missions for all the factions. Along the way I would meet up with different captains and characters that I could interact with in between all the hacking and slashing. Depending on how I treated them and how I answered their questions, their friendship would increase. Trying to max out everyone’s loyalty was a fun challenge. Conquest also let me equip my own character with new weapons and armor, as well as level them up to learn new moves. It felt more like a story driven RPG with some Musou game play thrown in.
Of course, will all these games, what is going on doesn’t deviate much, and after a while I got burned out on it and had to take a break. It is a common thing I experience with the Warriors series, and I don’t think it will ever stop, but I can always go back to it and have a pretty fun time. If players are looking for some co-op action, there is both online and split screen for double the fun.
One thing that impressed me was how smooth the game ran on the PS4. At 1080p 60 frames per second, it was a pretty great thing to see on my television. On top of all that, never once did I see a frame drop. With so much going on on-screen, that is a feat that Samurai accomplishes with style.
I’m a big video game music fan, and when I first loaded up Dynasty Warriors 8 the hard rock soundtrack brought a smile to my face. With Samurai Warriors 4 the soundtrack is not as appealing. It still feels like Warriors music, but it just didn’t grab me as much. I find that a shame, since the games I have played in the series all had music that complimented the games so well.
I’m warming up to the Musou games more than I thought I would. I enjoyed Dynasty Warriors 8, and now I find myself a rather big fan of Samurai Warriors 4. It does some things I haven’t seen in the genre yet, and while simplistic, it utilizes these mechanics to make for a more strategic feeling game. Of course, monotony does set in at times, but after a few breaks, I would always come back to it, ready to hack and slash some enemies. Fans of the series should not miss out on this game, and newcomers wanting to try out a Warriors game will find an easy and fun way to get into them with Samurai Warriors 4.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.