Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PS4, Switch, XBox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 24/06/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Koei Tecmo and Omega Force seem to have a good handle on the Musou style games, with this latest reboot of the Samurai Warriors franchise. Is this a return to form or are the changes just bells and whistles to cover up the same old same old? Is it worth your time and money? Let’s go see.
Samurai Warriors 5 is set in the Sengoku era of Japan and follows two key figures in this period of history; Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi. (This seems to be a good era to make video games.) These two individuals set the unification of Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Of course, the story has been cut slightly shorter as the full history took over 20 years. The story here tries to capture the most important and key battles in these fundamental and monumental historical events for Japan.
Each of the story are very anime and more than likely more entertaining than the real deal. Making for a far more engaging experience that had me hooked (again).
As Samurai Warriors go, this may well be one of the best entries so far. The changes Omega Force have gone with make an already good game better. This is a hard feat, considering Samurai Warriors 4 was a fantastic game in its own right.
The game still has its hack-and-slash roots in all its glory and sending 100s of troops flying in a matter of moments is still overly satisfying. There have been a few aspects that have mixed it up and really shine in the harder difficulties.
The first thing that has to be pointed out is that the boss fights with generals feels more like one-on-one duels now. With players needing to lock on, block, parry and dodge a far more aggressive and formidable fighter. This gives these fights some more weight and importance than before. The bosses will hit harder with their own multi hits and have their own power moves that need to be dodged, or it’s a short 20 years.
There has been a pleasant change with the character progression system, making it feel more streamlined than pervious entries. As with the early games, each character had their own move set and weapon. But as the roster increased, the characters would start sharing move sets, and it became really clear the more you played. So the devs have found a middle ground of sorts, with weapons giving a different play style while having a smaller weapon pool allowing to level up weapons faster and decide how each character will play. Along with this pleasant change, there has also been a RPG style gameplay element where you can upgrade your castle and train your commanders to make them more powerful.
However, there is a downside still to the Samurai Warrior 5. This being the grind the game almost makes you do. As you play the story missions, you will play as one of the two main characters, mostly. You also take a commander with you to do jobs or offer support as you complete the story missions. Well, if you have not played with the other characters much in any of the other modes available, then the game comes to an almost slug like pace as you need to level up each commander in order to progress. I know this will get player to interact with the other modes in the game but really!
The Citadel mode is where you will collect most of the needed mats to upgrade your facilities to level up characters. This leads to the game feeling tedious at points. You need to do these bits to make the game easier in the long run, allowing for more upgrades, better weapons, etc. Along with the replay mode, where you can go back and play any story mission. With any character, this again will allow the player to build up EXP to level each commander up. It is a necessary evil, but it is still fun to kill hundreds on the battlefield.
The biggest and boldest change to the Samurai Warriors game is the art style. Here the devs have gone for a cell with shaded characters and brush stroke styled attacks and super attacks. I have to be honest; it looks outstanding. Easy (for me) the best looking so far in the franchise.
Overall Samurai Warriors 5 has made much needed improvements to the game’s core gameplay to streamline overall level up systems. Even with a need to grind, it feels better than it has done in the past. And man, it looks good.
If you are a fan of the series, I definitely recommend this reboot. If you like but can wait to play, I would say wait for a sale it is rather pricey.