Reviews - Updated on March 31, 2022

The developers call Samurai Warriors 5 a restart of the series – the events of the fifth part unfold before what the first one was about. It is logical to assume that for a new audience this is the perfect moment to get acquainted with the series, which has existed since 2004 and has won a lot of fans. That’s why I finally decided to join Samurai Warriors – especially since I only know the musou genre through Hyrule Warriors and Persona 5 Strikers.

Learning history from an absurd action game

Samurai Warriors 5 tells about the Sengoku period, which began after a ten-year civil war in Japan at the end of the 15th century. The central character is Oda Nobunaga, an ambitious leader who, until the last day, sought to unite a divided country. On his side is a faithful assistant and old friend Maeda Toshiie, and after the first mission, Tokugawa Ieyasu joins them, who spent his entire childhood in captivity with various rulers.

Although from a gameplay point of view, the series, of course, is not even close to realistic, the developers have paid a lot of attention to historical accuracy since the first part. I would not recommend blindly believing what is shown in numerous videos on the engine – not everything can be confirmed on the English-speaking Internet. Although, for sure, the fact is that a large part of the information about the history of Japan is simply not translated, and the Koei Tecmo team has a lot of its own sources.

Samurai Warriors 5 Review

It’s funny that the game shows the names of the characters several times so that you definitely don’t get confused and remember them. In games of the Yakuza series, this is sometimes not enough.

But everything that is successfully “googled” is described in the game quite accurately. For example, the battle near the Nagara River – the ruler of the province of Mino and his son really clashed in it, who was shocked by his father’s decision to transfer power to his son-in-law Nobunaga. The latter found out about the battle late, yet decided to go with his army to help, but did not have time. In the game, everything happens like this – we run to save the father-in-law, but in the middle of the mission, the son kills him.

Or take the battle of Okehadzama – Nobunaga decided to lead his 3,000-strong army into battle with an enemy whose army was about eight times larger. Many dissuaded him, but he was confident in his abilities. A miraculous coincidence: it was raining heavily (because of it, the advancing army of Nobunaga was not visible), a thunderstorm was thundering (the infantry was not heard), and the enemy soldiers were celebrating their successes in their camp and were not equipped – ideal conditions for an attack. While the cutscenes don’t go into details like thunder, this is one of the few missions where it rains.

Samurai Warriors 5 Review

The beginning of each mission is designed as a historical reference with a demonstration of the characters.

Since the events are at least similar to real ones, it becomes especially interesting to follow the story – the betrayals, the appearance of unexpected allies and enemies, the decisions of the heroes. After several missions for Nobunaga, the storyline of the samurai Akechi Mitsuhide opens, which intersects with Nobunaga more than once in his story. We either look at already known events from the other side, or we find ourselves in new situations. There are also several episodes with the participation of other heroes, although in fact they allow you to take other characters in many story missions – it is not necessary to run after the same ones.

One against the crowd

Well, in terms of gameplay, this is exactly the same action as the rest of the games of the “musou” genre – the hero we have chosen is capable of laying down hundreds and thousands of opponents in a matter of minutes. The main damage is dealt with normal (“Square” on the gamepad) and strong (“Triangle”) attacks – with only two buttons. The point is that a strong attack depends on how many normal ones we have done before it and what weapon we have in our hands. With one combination, the archer will cause a rain of arrows, and the other will release a powerful arrow that will throw a crowd of enemies several meters away.

The same buttons, but completely different techniques.

In the process of beating the unfortunate soldiers, we fill the “musou” scale and, as soon as it starts to shine, by pressing the “Circle” we activate the musou attack – a very strong move that becomes even more powerful if our character’s health is almost zero. At the same time, the scale of the spirit fills up – this process takes much longer, but with the help of the spirit, you can temporarily become furious and become noticeably faster, stronger and stronger.

Musou attacks are accompanied by an animation showing the character.

Another detail of the “combat” is special skills (in the original – ultimate skills), which are activated using R1 buttons on the right side of the gamepad. The effects vary greatly: one skill fills part of the Musou gauge, others temporarily increase stats, and there are those that activate combat abilities like a series of attacks or cool moves. They recover pretty quickly, so you use them all the time – they are useful against bosses, and you can clean up a crowd of enemies.

Thanks to how easy it is to make beautiful and effective attacks here, Samurai Warriors 5 (like almost any “musou”) is able to captivate. I didn’t mention parries, joint musou attacks and other nuances – for example, some skills are especially good against certain types of enemies, so before starting a mission you can adjust your arsenal and better prepare. As the game progresses, enemy soldiers become more and more diverse: spearmen, shield-bearers, archers, artillerymen, ninjas, combat monks – you can’t count them all.

With such abilities, no enemies are scary.

At the same time, it is a pity that after so many years the developers could not make the game more diverse in terms of tasks and preferred to follow the beaten path. Whatever mission you perform, you will have to do the same thing in it: kill officers and commanders one by one, making your way through the crowds of “minions”. Within one episode, you may be asked to defeat about a dozen large opponents – first two, then one at the other end of the map, then three more, and so on. Occasionally, the authors try to add variety, but even when you accompany someone to a specified point, you still have to eliminate a couple of commanders along the way.

Important Details

Here other elements of the game come to the rescue. For example, bonus tasks: although they also need to eliminate important bumps to complete them, the developers make them more interesting by limiting the time or hiding these tasks altogether, offering to run around the map on a horse and stumble upon these tasks yourself. Or take the scores for passing – at the end of the mission, the game calculates how fast you completed the episode, how many officers and ordinary soldiers were killed, and also what was your maximum combo. If you get an S rating for any item, you will be awarded a prize, but if it is lower, then nothing will be given. And you are already worried not so much about monotony, but about the desire to do everything as best as possible and even replay the mission if necessary.

Samurai Warriors 5 Review

Max combo is only 4443? Well, shame.

And prizes for the highest scores are very useful. The menu of the fortress, where we find ourselves in between story moments, has many items – both a store and a large tree of abilities for each playable character (and there are only 37 of them), and a forge for selling and improving weapons. For ratings, we get gold, new horses and other useful things, such as spare experience points – you can pour them into any character you like to increase his level in a second and make him a thunderstorm of enemy armies. So there is definitely an incentive to clear everything to the maximum in Samurai Warriors 5 – there are enough activities outside of missions.

You can also spend time in Citadel mode. The essence is about the same as in the plot, but here you are defending one or more points from the advancing armies. The peculiarity is that the player can call on the battlefield soldiers selected in advance – all the same spearmen, shield bearers and others will appear right next to him, and also earn levels for participating in battles. It’s also full of rewards, including materials that allow you to improve buildings in the fortress and unlock new features. In addition, if the same heroes defend the citadel together during several missions, a bonus scene with their participation will be unlocked – these videos are not always interesting, but still.

Samurai Warriors 5 Review

With so many enemies in the “musou” you will not scare anyone.

Although, first of all, I want to play for different characters not for the sake of scenes, but in order to try out all types of weapons – everyone has their own tricks, and it’s even hard to decide what you like best. With a naginata, you can literally move through the air, swinging it non-stop, with a katana, you can perform charged blows, and so on. True, regardless of the weapon, you need to put up with the fact that the camera begins to behave inappropriately next to the walls – if the enemies are squeezed into a corner, it will not be possible to immediately understand what is happening.

Perhaps longtime fans of the series will find more flaws in Samurai Warriors 5 – for example, I saw complaints about the small number of characters and the inability to create your own character. But for a beginner like me, it’s fun, low-thinking entertainment, and perfect for listening to podcasts when you start chasing high mission scores. A bright, beautiful action game in which you feel like a powerful warrior, capable of throwing dozens of helpless soldiers to the opposite wall with one stroke – what else is needed for happiness?

Pros: a good story, largely based on historical facts; the combat system offers enough options not to get bored; the gameplay allows you to feel like an all-powerful samurai; rewards for high scores encourage you to show the best results in missions; nice visual style in the spirit of Japanese painting.

Cons: there is no getting away from the monotony in missions; The camera behaves inadequately next to the walls.

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