Samurai Warriors 4: Review - Games Weekly

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Samurai Warriors 4: Review

Set against the highly romanticised backdrop of Japan’s 16th-century Warring States era, Samurai Warriors 4 is a wild and frenetic mix of skilful mass brawling and goofy fun.

An impressive roster of 55 playable characters includes fan favourites and new additions that range from honour bound, po-faced heroes to camp and perverse pantomime villains. Building on its predecessors’ groundwork, series veterans will welcome the news that all of the dials have been cranked to 11 with only the occasional pause to catch a breath.

To wit, within 15 minutes of starting one of its 12 multi-mission story scenarios even newcomers will have racked up a few hundred KOs and achieveda combo chain of over 1,000. Taking apart the identikit minions of a rival army is a riotous clash of action and strategy that, happily, requires no former knowledge of the series’ quirks.

However, the amount of on-screen information at any one time initially feels cluttered, bordering on overwhelming. Mission goals are often in a state of flux and frequently updated with bonus objectives, while the Japanese-only voice work requires you to parse subtitles alongside half a dozen other bits of screen furniture. That said, you quickly learn to switch between the two playable characters to respond to objectives that appear around the reasonably sized but largely featureless levels.

Samurai Warriors 4 obliges button mashing on its easiest difficulty setting, but higher difficulty requires a more considered approach. The familiar mix of normal and heavy attacks is complemented by character specific special skills, dashing hyper attacks, mounted combat and visually impressive Musou attacks, while higher level enemies require use of guard breaking techniques to force an in.

In all, combat rarely fails to be entertaining and as you grow in skill it only becomes more rewarding.

Away from the story, Chronicle Mode lets you create your own customised character and wander the world map, establishing relationships, hiring officers and pursuing life goals. Meanwhile, Free Mode lets you tackle the story missions with any previously unlocked character.

In all cases, Samurai Warriors 4 provides a dose of camp high drama and a dizzying set of interconnected characters. Its repetitive mission objectives occasionally threaten to it drag down, but its colourful cast and hack ‘n’ slash approach to mass brawling ensure it never falls too far from chaotic fun.


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