Maybe not a portable game after all.
In the past few years, I have grown to enjoy some of the hack ‘n slash action that the Warriors games have brought to the table. They’re fast, surprisingly strategic, and have an over the top presentation. They may not be the most impressive things out there, but I have come to actually enjoy them more than I used to. Samurai Warriors: Chronicles 3 is my first shot at a Warriors game on a portable system, and truth be told, while it is a Warriors game through and through, it is certainly doesn’t translate as well to a portable system as one may think it does.
I was actually a big fan of what Koei Tecmo did with Samurai Warriors 4 on the PS4, and had a pretty fun time with it. With Chronicles 3, it feels more like a lite version of a Samurai Warriors game than what I am used to, and for a portable game, it makes a lot of sense to do that. Players automatically begin with creating their own character. This will serve as their introduction to the story mode and battles that take place. The story plays out as if the character is experiencing the events of feudal Japan alongside Nobunaga and his empire.
Platforms: 3DS, Vita
Price I’d Pay: $15
Just like in all the other Warriors games, it is all about the combos and flashy attacks. Using standard attacks and hyper attacks, then finishing off with a Musou attack is still big in taking out multiple enemies and generals. Players can also generate rage and then initiate a rage mode that will allow for devastating hits and even more powerful attacks.
One of the cool things Samurai Warriors 4 did was the ability to change characters on the fly during battles. Chronicles 3 allows even more, with up to four characters to be switched out while they take on different parts of the battlefield. This actually works really well with the touch screen, which is basically the map and ally panels all in one. If I wanted to switch to an ally that was closer to my objective, all I had to do was tap the screen. Directing allies to other parts of the map worked well too, all without having to do too much menu navigating.
After each battle, I would obtain experience points and both new equipment and crafting elements that I could use to buff up my weapons. This is a bit scaled down to a more minimalistic set of options, which was fine, but was still missing the customization I always enjoyed with the series.
Adventures in babysitting: Feudal Japan.
The big issue that crops up with the character switching mechanic is that I was constantly meeting new characters that all started way under-leveled for the battle. They would constantly get caught up in a fight that was far too difficult for them, and I would end up having to move my main character over to them to bail them out. Switching to them would help, but when I’m using a level 5 character in a battle that would normally be for a level 20 character, it became a bit of a babysitting job for my main character.
The story is carried out through a ton of dialog that is honestly not very important to the overall story. The only big thing is that there will be certain dialog options that pop up every once in a while that, depending on the answer I chose, would raise my friendliness with the person I was talking to. To get their relationship status even higher, I could invite them to tea parties for some more chit-chat, but after going through enough dialog in the story, the last thing I wanted to do was talk.
Since this is on the 3DS, the environments and many character models look bland during the action. The cut scene models looked totally fine, but when it came down to what I was actually doing most of the time in the game, it was faded, bland, and unimpressive stuff. The 3D effect looks ok, but I had some major issues with performance when in the heat of battle with the 3D turned on. It’s best played in 2D.
My bus ride isn’t long enough for a battle.
But my biggest concern is just how well this works on a portable platform. I really don’t think it does. While the early missions may take 10 to 15 minutes to complete, some of the later ones will take upwards to 30 minutes, and when trying to make sure my under leveled newcomers don’t get beaten to a pulp, having to watch over them took way more time than it should. It really doesn’t fit the portable frame very well.
While I think it is a very competent game and a fun Warriors title, I just don’t see many people looking to get their button mashing fix in 10 minute spans. The limitations on the system itself are a bit of a sting, and playing for long periods of time just to get through a mission can become tiresome on a 3DS. On top of that, making players have to constantly keep track of under leveled allies will get annoying as well, and add more time to an already long mission. While not a terrible Warriors game, I would only suggest this to the hardcore fans with a 3DS, and even then I would wait for a price drop.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.