Sengoku Basara is essentially Dynasty Warriors but set in Japan rather than China. Characters are loosely based on real life war heroes from Japanese history, with exaggerated personalities and weaponry.
This is not a new title - the series is extremely popular in its native country, but for the West it seems very few people have heard of it. If you are unfamiliar with the whole 'Dynasty Warriors' experience, it's basically hack 'n' slash gameplay (think Devil May Cry) set in various war zones with you and your army vs. the opposition.
The most appealing thing about this game, for me, is how wonderfully unique each character is to control. With Dynasty Warriors there was a lot of 'familiar ground' with every character having the signature 'two squares and a triangle to stun', 'five squares and a triangle for the long combo' etc. Here, okay the same buttons used are applied to each character, but the WAY in which they are used varies greatly.
For example, holding a button down can change some character's combos, or might launch them into the air for air attacks. Many attacks 'develop' as the character gains experience leading to combos being extended and the sheer speed and intensity of some of the moves available make gameplay incredibly satisfying :D
Each character has a Basara attack (or Musou for DW players) that works on exactly the same basis, although filling the meter for this takes far longer than in DW.
Many fans of the SB series have been complaining about the lack of Japanese voice overs to replace the hammy english dialogue. I am disappointed by the lack of an option, but because it doesn't really affect the gameplay, it's not really a big deal.
There are only 16 characters playable in the game even though there are approximately 15 more 'main' characters that appear as boss generals, some of which have real potential for amazing playable characters! Having said that, 16 is a good number, as fully developing each character is very time consuming as you would expect.
Some characters, such as Kanbe, have brilliantly thought out stories and profiles. He is an imprisoned warrior with his hands cuffed to a ball and chain (his weapon). Normally I hate characters that are slow and 'heavy' to use, but his predicament (and the fact he hates his ball and chain) make him a really enjoyable character to use!
All in all, this game delivers some of what Dynasty Warriors games are lacking. It's much harder in this game to manipulate the enemy general's AI - it's still possible - but not to the extent of DW. If you're a fan of DW games, don't miss the opportunity to pick this game up. I was expecting it to be good but not better - I may have been proven wrong.