Koei Tecmo herself highlights from Samurai Warriors 5 that it is the first installment in the saga for seven years – Samurai Warriors 4 was launched in 2014, although more recently we would see the spin-off Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada and Samurai Warriors 4 DX – . An eternity for the work rate of Omega Force, that studio specialized in musou , the action against dozens, hundreds of enemies on the screen. But they haven’t exactly stood idly by: we’ve seen new Dynasty Warriors , Warriors Orochi , One Piece: Pirate Warriors , two Hyrule Warriorsand a whole string of licenses spanning Arslan , Berserk , Fire Emblem , Dragon Quest , Persona 5 , the Warriors All-Stars crossover . Even outside the musou they have had more or less success with Attack on Titan and Toukiden .
This pause has served so that the developer can allow a kind of restart of the saga , a starting point that renews some concepts, history and graphic aspects, but that in the background does not break with what fans have liked for decades . Gatopardismo would summarize it quite well: “if we want everything to continue as it is, everything needs to change.”
A Samurai Warriors set in the Sengoku period
Samurai Warriors 5 presents us with a story in the Sengoku period focusing especially on Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi, which ended with the bloody incident at Honnō-ji. That is, we will mainly follow Nobunaga’s ambition to unify the country in dark times in which several leaders and warriors appeared willing to rule the island. Naturally there will be a lot of playable characters, almost three dozen, which although it is a lower number than what we usually see in other musou of the company, they compensate with a greater differentiation in combat style; and in our opinion, when the staff exceeds a certain figure, 100 than 200 characters matter little.
Nobunaga Oda is the great protagonist of the story, now presented with a visual style inspired by manga and anime.
The base is as expected: it is a hack’n slash where we eliminate most of the enemies with ease , a blow of the sword and half an army will jump into the air. The opponents are numerous but in return they are not very aggressive, so that we will not have many problems to advance towards the place that marks us a dynamic objective that changes according to the advance. The maps of fortresses and fields are not open, but a series of interconnected corridors and bases with gates that open as we meet conditions. This formula has worked better for Omega Force than when it tried a true open world of conquest – Dynasty Warriors 9 – so it’s no surprise that experiments are put aside.
The objective of these missions is also usually quite well known – conquest of territories, escape from the map … – or defeat enemy leaders, who, unlike the most clonic opponents, do know how to stand up: a more generous vitality bar, they protect themselves and they have powerful attacks. They are the best test to show that we know how to play and that not everything consists of connecting light and strong attack combos without much sense , they require changing strategies or trying any of the playable novelties, which there are.
To all those special movements or the Hyper Attack – advance and destroy everything that gets in your way – are added the perfect defenses, which when carried out at the right time will leave the enemy exposed for a few moments. The coolest are the Ultimate Skills that give the possibility to customize a palette of abilities with four advantages that work by recharging or “cooling” to limit their abuse – but the waiting time is quite short-; there is everything, offensives to expand combos, to enhance the strength or defense of the character, recovery of the Musou Gauge bar … It may seem like a minor detail, but this gives much more flexibility to improve our heroes and even opens the possibility of facing us enemies that cannot be defeated with the most basic attacks. Warriors with shields? Use an ability that falls on enemies and destroys all those protections.
Continuing with the combat system, we can jump to the scenarios with two characters to change from one to the other or give orders for the partner to act in a specific way, and if he is close, carry out devastating joint attacks; It also allows you to play cooperatively, online and locally.
Direct access to offensive and defensive advantages helps to give more variety to your ‘gameplay’, and is sometimes necessary to defeat certain units or bosses.
In short, Samurai Warriors 5 is another musou … But polished, with interesting additions that well used break the monotony that these types of games can suffer when we just press the same button over and over again. It also has that high speed rhythm that makes this saga more frenetic than other Omega Force productions and that we like so much. The strengths and weaknesses you will probably already imagine: It is an easy to play title, stressful and as deep as we want, with many hours of fun trying combinations of skills and characters, whose Achilles heel is that a very specific playable loop that does not always incentivize to be creative. Luckily, we assure you that the game goes from less to more as we get allies and techniques.
Progress and customization off the battlefield
Between mission and mission we will be able to better prepare our heroes with a good handful of options that go beyond investing the experience to raise the level of the samurai with the accumulated experience, choose the weapons collected in the game or improve the equipment. In addition to the dojo –learning new skills in a kind of network with nodes, changing equipment… – and the blacksmith –adding skills to weapons, using weapons to build others-, in My Castle we find a store –accessories, materials, strategic tomes… – and the stables to buy and upgrade the mounts that are called during the battle.
There are several systems to improve our castle’s heroes, abilities, weapons and constructions, which gives access to more options.
The constructions themselves can be improved to obtain more advantages – raise the limit of the improvement of characters, weapons, materials in the store … -. How? With the Citadel mode, where we obtain materials to update the constructions by defending locations against enemy forces. The Musou and Citadel modes are closely connected to the progress of the game, and although depending on the difficulty at which we play many of these Samurai Warriors 5 systems can be passed in a superficial way, who wants to squeeze everything it offers without a doubt has a lot where to optimize all your warriors.
A renewed visual appearance
The graphics and character design are renewed taking advantage of this “soft reset” for a more anime or manga inspired look. It is not only that the protagonists now look very young, but there have also been shading in cel-shading inspired by the ink stroke of a brush. One of lime and another of sand: on the positive side, this gives a more vivid color to the game and helps to differentiate it from other Omega Force musou , and even from Samurai Warriors 4 – it is not a recycling of units and scenarios. The downside is that it subtracts drama from the story and on consoles – not so much on PC – it creates a slightly ugly aliasing effect.on stage when vegetation or small elements appear in the distance. Overall, the balance is positive as long as the developer maintains a personality to each saga and does not incline all its musou to this aesthetic, because then we would be with the same problem: lack of identity between releases.
Samurai Warriors 5 has a demo on all platforms , which will be the best guide when checking performance for those who have the option to choose a system. We have played the PS4 version on PlayStation 5 – there is no native version for the new consoles – and the performance has not shown problems, so that the rest of the technical limitations – animations, textures, details of scenes or generic enemies – are they can easily forgive. We don’t expect to see a musouauthentically next-gen for a few years. Of course, we would like the camera to behave better when we approach walls; Although it is not usual due to the design of the arenas, in narrow places or near the limits the perspective goes a bit crazy.
The soundtrack of this installment is somewhat different from the latest Samurai Warriors , as it loses many of the electronic sounds to give more prominence to traditional Japanese music, orchestral themes and some rock. The atmosphere is good, as always, and the voices come only in Japanese with texts in English. Here we have a problem that we have already mentioned in other years: it is usually impossible to follow the conversations during the action, and although the objective is clear – it does not affect the gameplay – we will lose the reactions of the characters to what happens in the war .
The great graphic change is its ‘cel shading’, but in technical aspects there are no big differences compared to other Omega Force musou.
As we already dropped in our impressions , Samurai Warriors 5 provides several playable and graphic novelties but without pretending at any time that the game is what it is not. If you are already fond of musou, you will love this game ; The series is one of our Omega Force favorites – aside from some licensed games – and it will be irresistible to those who enjoyed Samurai Warriors 4 . If you’ve already tried the genre and it’s not your thing, no matter how many improvements the latest game offers, the story of Nobunaga Oda will hardly make you change your mind.