By Steve Baltimore / August 2nd, 2021
|Title||Samurai Warriors 5|
|Developer||KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.|
|Publisher||KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.|
|Release Date||July 26, 2021|
|Genre||Hack and slash|
|Platform||PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch|
It’s been a while since I have played a good Musou title, so I was very much looking forward to checking out Koei Tecmo’s release of Samurai Warriors 5. This entry is a reboot of sorts for the series, featuring an all new cel-shaded art style. There was a smaller cast of warriors than usual in this entry, but the new faces, such as Mitsuki, were great additions to the cast nonetheless. The biggest question with any title like this is, how does it play? Well, let’s find out!
Samurai Warriors 5’s story is set in the Sengoku period of Japan. This was a very turbulent time, and one man named Nobunaga Oda set out to end the unrest and unite Japan. Through all the struggles he would encounter a man named Mitsuhide Akechi. He was a very honorable man and would become one of Nobunaga’s most trusted retainers. Here, we will follow these men in some of the most fierce combat of the era as they push forward to achieve their dream of a peaceful world.
While this story has been told before, this really is a fresh take on it. I was really impressed with how expressive the new artwork is. It not only brings out more emotions in the characters, but it really sucks you into the overall tone. The new characters add some fresh flavors to the mix here, and you throw in the top notch Japanese voice acting and you have something very special. Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is still my favorite, but this story is just as wonderful.
The new cel-shaded art style wasn’t just great for the story presentation. It looks great during combat as well. The vicious slashing attacks and elemental hits have a lot more impact. Environments have a wonderful stylized look, and Musou Frenzy Attacks end with an amazing image of your warrior standing tall in a Japanese ink style painting. The Steam release will allow you to run it in 4K at 60FPS, and from the over 20 hours I spent here, there were no major technical issues. This is by far one of Koei Tecmo’s best PC ports.
Aside from the amazing voice acting I’ve already mentioned, Samurai Warriors 5 features a top notch soundtrack. The battle themes are a mix of rock and Eastern-style music that gets you pumped for each battle. There are some softer themes for the game’s few lighthearted moments, and fantastic emotional tracks that really bring out the feeling in the harder hitting scenes. This soundtrack is topped off with two amazing ending themes as well. While I’ve pretty much loved all the tracks found in previous games, this one is certainly one of my favorites now.
The gameplay here is pretty much what you have come to expect from a Samurai Warriors title. The classic 1 vs. 1000 fights are here in all their glory, complete with tons of objectives to accomplish on each map. Some of these are hidden, which is fine since you will want to play these maps more than once as you level up all 27 warriors the game has to offer. The addition of Ultimate skills adds a bit more depth to the hack and slash gameplay. These skills consist of various buffs and weapon-based attacks that are smaller in scale than the Musou Attacks, but are still very powerful. It takes a bit of time before you can use these skills again, but they will get you out of a jam more times than you can count. The only real issue I have here is there are far less weapon classes than in previous titles, so some fans might be missing their favorites until the DLC comes along.
There are a couple of gameplay modes to choose from. Musou Mode is basically the story mode. You can choose either Nobunaga’s or Mitsuhide’s story path, and will have some side story missions that bring even more depth to this fantastic tale. When you have met certain conditions and completed at least one of the main stories, Reverie Mode will unlock. These are the alternate history scenarios that we all love.
The other major game mode is Citadel Mode. Here you will take part in various defend the base type missions. When you complete these missions, materials will be gained. You can use these to upgrade the buildings in your castle. These include basic things like a blacksmith, stable, and dojo. Each of these allow you to upgrade various aspects of your warriors, and the higher level of the building, the better the upgrades you have at your disposal. Anything earned here carries over to Musou Mode, which is great since doing some of the fiercer battles on higher difficulties isn’t one bit easy.
Samurai Warriors 5 is one of the best games I’ve played this year. I didn’t think I would be saying this when I started playing it, but the more I experienced this title the more I got into it. That’s a rare thing for me in gaming these days, and I’m very thankful when it happens. The art style, storytelling, and music are all top tier. While the combat hasn’t changed a whole lot, the tweaks make it fast and a ton of fun. I do wish there were more weapons and characters to choose from, since this series has a ton of both that didn’t make the cut here, but this a great start for a refresh of the series. If you are a fan of Samurai Warriors, pick this one up today at the $59.99 price tag and you will be very satisfied with this entry. If you have never picked up one of these games before, this is a fantastic starting point for you. If Koei Tecmo keeps up this level of quality, this series has a bright future ahead of it.
Game was provided by the publisher.
Koei TecmoMusouOmega ForcePCReviewsSamurai Warriors 5