|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
|Genre(s)||Action hack and slash|
Samurai Warriors (戦国無双 Sengoku Musō?, Sengoku Musou in Japan, lit. Unrivaled Warring States) is the first title in the series of hack and slash video games created by Koei's Omega Force team based loosely around the Sengoku ("Warring States") period of Japanese history and it is a spinoff of the Dynasty Warriors series, released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004. A port of this game called Samurai Warriors: State of War has been released for the PlayStation Portable, which includes additional multiplayer features.
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In the basic gameplay of Samurai Warriors, the player takes the role of a single officer in battle and must fend off hordes of enemy soldiers and defeat the enemy commander. The player has at their disposal a range of combo attacks and crowd-clearing special moves known as Musou attacks. The variety of attacks available increase as the character increases in level and gains new weapons.
Musou attacks can only be performed when the character's Musou gauge has filled up, which does so gradually when the player inflicts or receives damage. Additionally, if the player is low on health or possess a special skill, they can use their special True Musou attack which causes elemental damage in addition to normal damage as well as adds on a trio of attacks that cleans up the final few enemies in the vicinity. One difference between Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors is the ability to perform free-style combo attacks during Musou attack mode, during which the game enters bullet-time; common soldiers move very slowly, however officers are unaffected. Other abilities that Samurai characters have over the Dynasty series include the ability to perform a roll to dodge attacks, and deflect incoming arrows with their weapon.
The other significant change is the way in which characters grow stronger. There is a new ranking system after battles which depends on five categories:
- Time in which the battle is won
- Amount of experience earned
- Missions successfully completed in battle
- Number of enemies defeated while using a Musou attack.
- Number of enemies killed in total.
Each of these categories is given a rank (from lowest to highest: E, D, C, B, A, S) depending on the player's performance, and then the player is given an overall rank. The higher the rank and the harder the difficulty setting of the game, the more the player's character attributes will increase. In addition to the growth of the character's stats, Skill Points are also awarded. With these Skill Points the player can buy skills that enhance their character's abilities.
One of the two most significant changes over Dynasty Warriors is the introduction of the mission system in battles. Each stage has a number of different missions which become available depending on which character the player is controlling and the success or failure of previous missions. Such tasks include eliminating specific enemy officers, launching sneak attacks on enemy bases or thwarting the plans of the enemy. Success in these missions can be crucial to the outcome of many battles as failure often results in a massive loss of morale to the player's forces. It will also determine the path that will be carved out for the next stage if there is a split route. However one can choose the path to take if both routes had been opened.
Each character can equip up to five items before each battle, which will affect their attributes or give them additional abilities. Players can find items which affect their attributes through normal battle by defeating enemy officers or breaking open crates. The items which give characters special abilities are harder to come by. Players must fight a specific battle and complete or fail specific missions to cause an enemy supply team to appear. Defeating this supply team will cause the item to appear.
Like items, weapons can also be found in battle. Each character has four different types of weapons they can find. In addition to these base attributes, weapons will also randomly have other attributes attached to them. The value of these bonuses depends on three things: the difficulty level, the stage the player is on and the ranks the character has in the 'Discern' skill.
In addition to the random weapon drops there are other special fifth weapons to find. Unlike the other weapons, the fifth weapons have set bonuses and attributes. Like the rare items, the player has to play a specific stage and complete a specific task to get a supply team to appear. However, unlike the rare items, in order to get the weapon the game must be on either the Hard or Chaos difficulty level.
Samurai Warriors gives players the opportunity to create new characters via the officer training mode. In this mode players must study under a mentor and complete twelve training sessions and a final exam. The first thing the player must do is choose the look of their character, from an initial selection of eight different models, there are also four different models that can be obtained if a certain event is accomplished within the mode. The initial stats of the character are dependent on the model chosen. The player must then choose to partake in a test and one of three weapons they will use for the test.
Each of the different tests affects different attributes of the character. After the completion of the test the player will be ranked out of a score of 100 points, by getting more points the character's attributes will increase by a greater amount. If the character is defeated during the course of a test, they will automatically fail the test and will have to spend one training session resting.After 12 test sessions have passed, the character must take a final exam. This exam consists of two training sessions back to back. The player has to score a total of 100 points between these two tests in order to pass the exam. If the player completes the final exam successfully then they will be able to use their gun to rank up.
The game features a total of 15 characters based on historical figures during the Warring States period of Japan, including daimyō Kenshin Uesugi, Shingen Takeda, and Nobunaga Oda as well as other notable samurai such as Yukimura Sanada and Ranmaru Mori. In addition to the figures who were noted to had fought during the period, the game also made playable a handful of female characters that did not fight in any battles, such as Oichi and Noh. Only five characters are available from the start; others can be unlocked by fulfilling specific requirements such as clearing other character's story modes. In the English version, character's names are written in western order (first name, followed by family name), whereas the official writing of historical names are in reverse (family name, followed by first name).
Characters marked with * are starting characters Characters marked with ** were made playable in expansion games Characters marked with *** are unique NPCs throughout the installment and its expansions Characters are arranged by the installment they were debuted in.
Note: Hideyoshi Hashiba and Yoshimoto Imagawa were unique NPCs in the title game, and were made playable in Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends. Tadakatsu Honda and his daughter, Ina were added as playable characters in the same expansion and were not unique NPCs in the game. In fact, Tadakatsu Honda appeared as a generic officer and Ina wasn't in the game at all.
Lü Bu of Dynasty Warriors fame, also appears as an unplayable boss of Survival Mode. Officers created from New Officer Mode are also placed together in the character select screen.
Unlike the traditional Chinese music and rock collaborations in the Dynasty Warriors series, Samurai Warriors combines traditional Japanese instrumentals with techno. The sounds of both Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors are combined in their crossover game, Warriors Orochi.
Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends is a PlayStation 2 expansion disc for Samurai Warriors. Just like the Dynasty Warriors series, the aim of these expansions is solely to add more content to the game. Players can use the "Import" feature (through switching discs with the original game) to use all features of the original game. Without the original game disc, the player will only have access to the Xtreme Legends content.
This offers four new characters (Imagawa Yoshimoto, Hashiba Hideyoshi, Honda Tadakatsu and Inahime) and a brand new mission and map. This also offers new weapons, items, skills, three new versus modes, a new survival mode, and fixes several problems. A new difficulty level, Novice is also added which is easier than Easy and targeted for beginners.
Even after they reached rank 20 characters could still gain skill points and increase their attributes without having to the reset the character to default. Samurai Warriors Xtreme Legends extended this further, by adding even more powerful sixth weapons to earn. These can only be discovered by playing on Chaos mode (or Hard mode, if the correct bonus is purchased).
Exclusive to Samurai Warriors Xtreme Legends, through the completion of special tasks, the player can earn Bonus Points in order to purchase special features. These features include additional costumes for characters, voice sound tests, lowering the difficulty required to unlock the fifth and sixth weapons and the ability to break the default limits for character's stats. Methods of earning bonus points include the following: earning all of a character's endings, unlocking rare items and weapons and successfully creating new characters.
Samurai Warriors: State of War
A port to the PlayStation Portable, called Samurai Warriors: State of War, was released in Japan on December 8, 2005 and March 7, 2006 in North America. It has a number of additional multiplayer features.
Pachi Slot Sengoku Musou/Sengoku Rush
This is a slot machine based game featuring Yukimura Sanada, Hanzo Hattori and Keiji Maeda as playable characters with their own stories using character models from Samurai Warriors. Nōhime, Masamune Date and Hideyoshi Toyotomi are included as normal bosses, while Oda Nobunaga is a special boss. Other characters who make non-playable appearances are Kunoichi, Shingen Takeda, Okuni and Goemon Ishikawa.
The PS2 release of Samurai Warriors sold a million copies within a month in Japan and reached the Japanese platinum chart with a total of 1.06 million. It was awarded an award of excellence in CESA's 2004 Game Awards and received a 34 out of 40 rating from Famitsu.
The game is met with mixed reviews from Western critics, most reviewers criticize the game's visual and technical similarities to the Dynasty Warriors series as the cause. What earned the most praise was the RPG element added into the game as it deviates from its spiritual predecessor by adding a higher replay value for gamers. The Create a Character mode was received with mixed results. Gameplanet commented that it is "well implemented", allowing players to accurately play a character made for them while Gamespot regarded the option as "a nice touch" but "rather tiresome" in the end. The innovations made were still met with criticism for the genre as a whole, EuroGamer stating, "we’re seriously on the verge of being all warriored out."
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