good old, button-mashing, hack-and-slash gameplay
is back. This time in the form of Samurai Warriors:
State of War, the first in the series available for
by Colin Thames
16, 2006 - I
can't help but get excited when I start either a Samurai
Warriors or a Dynasty Warriors game. The intros get
my adrenaline pumping and I can't wait to test my
skills and see how many enemies I can slice and dice
during the first few epic battles. Invariably the
excitement gives way weariness as my exuberance is
slowly ground down by repetition and lack of depth.
This happens to me in every game of the series that
I've played. I've made mention that this kind of gameplay
should be spread out over a few weeks, not more than
an hour of play a day, to keep things fresh. As you
can understand, as a reviewer I don't have that luxury.
I have to play games in a day or two. Spreading the
gameplay out over a couple of weeks will make the
gameplay more tolerable but it doesn't make it any
take place in feudal Japan, a very volatile epoch
with numerous warring factions controlling various
territories that always want a bigger slice of the
pie. You take control of an infamous warrior determined
to not only defend his clan's territory but expand
its empire by invading enemy territory. The characters
and battles have some historical significance but
unless you're a history buff it's difficult to tell
where history ends and fantasy begins.
the major battles on the console version of Samurai
Warriors, the battles in this version are divided
by grids into smaller sections which makes them more
manageable. You could even think of this grid system
as turn-based as you approach each section and move
a predetermined number of spaces. Once you select
a square, you are transported into a real-time, third-person,
hack-and-slash battle. These battles contain fewer
enemies and are easier to manage on a smaller system
such as the PSP which doesn't have the processing
capabilities to generate a hundred enemies on one
winning a battle you will have successfully captured
the territory represented by that section on the grid.
The strategy involves choosing to invade further into
enemy territory and choosing the appropriate grid.
You will be assigned a score based on your performance
and will receive either an A, B or C for your efforts.
An A is the best and will allow you to move three
more squares into enemy territory. Some sections will
just represent wasteland which will be populated by
a few enemy grunts that can be easily eliminated.
You can just waste them and move on quickly. Most
of the enemy warriors won't give you much of a fight.
They just stand around almost begging to meet their
maker. If you decide to go after more valuable real
estate such as strongholds you will meet up with captains
that are a bit more challenging.
squares contain gates that will block your progress
unless you can open them by defeating the enemy within
and finding ways to unlock them. There are also squares
with levies that allow you to regulate the water level
which you may reduce to cross deep waterways or use
it to unleash a flood on the enemy.
Japanese weaponry is employed for most of the game
but there is also a bit of fantasy and magic mixed
in with these Warrior games. Charms are awarded for
success in battle and they can be used to heal or
increase your strength. The charms come in different
shapes and sizes and can also be used to open gates
or even change the layout of the battlefield - in
your favor. You can only carry a few of these charms
with you so you're encouraged to use some as soon
as you find them while keeping the most important
ones in your inventory where they will come in handy
goodies such as new fighting skills, weapons and even
gold can be found in various locations on the map.
Defeated enemies will leave behind weapons and gold.
You will also increase your character's abilities
through battles much the same way you would in a RPG.
control system works the same for virtually all of
the weapons. All you have to do is alternately mash
the square and triangle button to slice your way through
the crowd. You will have to get your timing down but
once you're able to become one with the controls you've
pretty much mastered the game. There are some special
attacks and combos but they occur so infrequently
that they add little variety to the gameplay.
story is told through text which is not a bad thing
considering how bad the voiceovers are on the console
version. There doesn't seem to be as much translation
problems but the characters still communicate with
environments are not very pretty. Not only are they
virtually invisible unless you're relatively close
to them, but when they do decide to "pop in"
they are dreary and lifeless. The character models
are really good and they animate very smoothly. The
controls are responsive but there are no subtleties.
They are either on or off, which only adds to the
repetitive grind of the gameplay.
to four players can take part in the battle but this
mode makes you feel alienated since each player seems
to be playing his or her own game. It's kind of like
a co-op mode but instead of the other player's characters
appearing with you onscreen it's represented by a
bot. There are two modes: Vanguard and Bandit. In
Vanguard it's a race to see who can kill five captains
first while the Bandit mode is a killer fest where
each player tries to get as much gold as possible.
Warriors: State of War, like the turn-based battle
system, should be divided into small playable segments
that don't last longer than an hour. While the action
is definitely fun you will experience too much of
a good thing, and with such a lack of variety or depth
you're bound to go out of your mind with the constant
repetition. Which brings us to a crossroad. If you
rent this game you're going to have to play it intensely
for a couple of days which will make you hate it.
But on the other hand, I don't want to recommend that
you buy this game just so that you can take your time
with it. The decision is yours to make. Nobody ever
said the gaming was easy.
all 19 fighters from Samurai Warriors and Samurai
Warriors Xtreme Legends.
maps include terrain and features create new tactical
Stages across 22 maps created exclusively for PSP.
Battle in open plains or deadly castles.
multiplayer Vs. challenges to 4 players via wireless
action uses the PSP's full display, plus an option
to toggle maps off.
stories take you to open battlegrounds and mysterious
biographies of real samurai.