Samurai Warriors 4 (review)

Samurai Warriors is back again and this time boasting the most content to date. Koei Tecmo really pulled out all the stops for their 4th iteration. Samurai Warriors 4 has the most characters, storyline, and customization options to date. I spent well over 30 minutes just to create my perfect warrior to take on the hordes of cannon fodder that would be throwing themselves at me in the hours to come.

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Samurai Warriors is back and just as you might expect it is full of hacking, slashing, and tons of button mashing. There are 3 modes of play to choose from beginning Story, Free, and Chronicle mode.  Now once you have settled on your mode to play it is time to choose your warrior. Story mode will lock you into a handful of choices depending on which of the 12 stories you have chosen, where free mode will allow you to use any of the 55 warriors on disc or your created characters on any story mission that you have cleared previously

While the first two modes are obvious by their title, Chronicle Mode however takes your custom character and input him/her into the wars of feudal Japan, where you’ll have to forge allies among the famous generals and officers of the past in the hopes of leaving your name in the history books. After choosing your game mode you’re prompted with how you’d like to play either single player, split screen co-op, or online co-op, followed by your selection of 1-4 difficulty options.

Unfortunately the game suffers from a common trope where increased difficulty does nothing but increase the enemies HP and damage instead of adding new interactions or attack patterns. The hard difficulty is the option I recommend if you are looking for a challenge but don’t want to spend 5 minutes just hitting the same general each time you encounter one.

This game, like the past ones, allow each warrior to hold up to 8 weapons with unique stats and abilities of there own specialty. You also have a custom set of items that you can equip to use in battle. The game does attempt to add a few new objectives to keep the game from being just about killing certain targets. Often you will get objectives such as protecting supply wagons, or preventing enemy leaders from unifying forces at specified points, which does help, but with there being very minimal rewards for these tasks they often feel more like a distraction than anything else.

The combat remains pretty much unchanged from the usual formula of chaining together light and heavy attacks. The few new features they added are Rage mode which slows down the world and allows you to utilize a stronger special musou attack if used during rage mode. They also added special skills to the R1 button which varies from either a character specific unique move or increasing a specific stat for limited periods of time. The game however fails to create that feeling of achievement when you finish off the boss of each level let alone finishing off the last one of the game. This is because like all Dynasty and Samurai Warriors games in the past, you become desensitized to even the generals of the game because as your characters progress towards the level 50 cap even what’s supposed to be the mightiest of warriors fall over within seconds on all but the nightmare difficulty.

The story for Samurai Warriors to someone who has never played any prior games will seem extremely convoluted; however, to returning fans you will begin to see even more depth and emotion behind the driving forces of Samurai Warriors key players. Essentially a summary of the story lines between a majority of Samurai Warriors is about the leaders of various regions attempting to unify Japan under one ruler by recruiting others to their cause all while extinguishing all that would oppose them.

Samurai Warriors 4 cinematic sequences are 50/50. Some of them look amazing while others you can see flat trees in the background that are more often a distraction, another thing is the fact that while Samurai Warriors 4 has the most enemies on screen for the series to date its seems that even the PS4 can only render so many enemies, more often than not during the larger conflicts while playing co-op enemies will often disappear only to reappear instantly once enough of them have been killed or moved out of sight so that they no longer require rendering until you reach the magic number of maximum enemies that can be seen.

The special effects for attacks and musou attacks are just as flashy and over the top as ever which create some really cool moments when you wipe out an entire platoon with one move and really create that feeling of being a bad-ass. Now when it comes to creating a character this game has some of the most robust moments and features of its genre featuring more customization than ever before in the series. The only limits in the early portions of the game are your selection of weapons and equip-able armor which is all cosmetic. However as you venture further and further in Chronicle mode and befriend other generals to your cause you will learn to wield their weapons as well and as for armor there are shops and random vendors that will appear so that you can increase your options. Another thing that you can customize is the crests on your armor and symbols that appears when you use musou attacks and besides the 90 preset options to choose from you are able to copy custom images to a flash drive and upload them onto the PS4 to add nearly limitless customization in this area.

Samurai Warriors 4 does a great job for returning day one die hard fans by offering tons of content, however for the newcomers and casual players of the Warrior series, it can be hard to create that lasting effect due to certain things like the voice work only being in Japanese which I prefer but I know of many gamers who don’t like to read logs of text while playing so all the hard work the writers put into crafting the story will be skipped over. Another thing is the extensive amount of times you have to repeat missions in chronicle mode before you open up new areas to extend your conquest and achieve your goals and what started as a journey that I couldn’t wait to see and achieve as much as possible turned into why am I playing this same mission again after putting 3 hours into the chronicle mode of the game between the various modes due to this  I grew tired of the rinse and repeat formula of this hack and slash franchise.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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