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Samurai Warriors 4 (PS4)
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- SAMURAI WARRIORS 4
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A new chapter of the saga unfolds with more than 55 playable warriors to choose from, devastating new attacks and exciting new modes creating an entirely new Samurai Warriors experience in stunning HD resolutions. Nobuyuki Sanada and Yoshitsugu Ōtani join the fray! More than 50 playable characters to choose from! A number of playable characters are ready to make their mark on the Warring States era, including fan favorites Nobuyuki Sanada and Yoshitsugu Ōtani. Takatora Tōdō, Naotora Ii and Munenori Yagyū also make their first appearance in a "SAMURAI WARRIORS" title released outside Japan. Additionally, the appearance and attack moves of existing characters such as Yukimura Sanada and Nobunaga Oda have also been completely overhauled. Featuring more than 50 playable characters, this title is an entirely new "SAMURAI WARRIORS" experience. Tales from the various forces throughout Japan are woven together to create the rich tapestry that is the history of the Warring States era. The game's main mode, Story Mode, is separated into two parts, regional stories, which tell the tales of the officers of various regions around the land such as Kyūshū and Shikoku, and the story of unification, which details events up to the end of the Warring States era. By way of contrast to previous games in the "SAMURAI WARRIORS" series, the battles and the stories surrounding them will be portrayed by faction, allowing the dramatic relationships between characters to be explored in more depth than ever before. Experience the convictions, intertwining ambitions and motivations that each character bears for yourself. New attack moves deliver even more exhilarating action! The immersive battles pitting a lone warrior against countless swarms of enemies that the series is known for are back. New moves have also been added, such as Hyper Attacks, which enable you to rapidly close the distance between you and your enemy and swiftly dispatch them, and Rage mode, which powers up your attacks when your Spirit Gauge is full. Additionally, the character attack types and development system have been overhauled, maintaining the ease of control that the series is known for while introducing all new levels of depth to the fighting system. Travel across Japan with the new Chronicle Mode! Journey across the lands of Japan while completing various quests, meeting new officers and collecting items in the new Chronicle Mode, which lets you explore the world of "SAMURAI WARRIORS" for yourself. In addition, the Create Character feature has been vastly upgraded, allowing you to create your own unique characters. With more ways to customize them than ever before, it's easier than ever to put your own personal stamp on the history of the Warring States era.
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This game has 3 modes – Story Mode, Free Mode and Chronicle Mode.
In Story Mode you choose the clan of your choice and take part in several stages until their story comes to an end. In each stage you have a selection of characters you can pick; this can range from 2 characters to several. In Story Mode the characters you can pick are limited to a particular stage so if you have a favourite character you may not be able to use them for each stage; it does however mean that you are encouraged to use several different characters to advance the story. As for the story, Samurai Warriors is set in Sengoku (or ‘Warring States’) Japan, each character is a historical figure and each of the stages are historical battles. The story loosely follows historical events, however, Samurai Warriors should not be looked at for historical accuracy; it is a historical drama with characters and stages being exaggerated and dramatized.
In Free Mode you get to pick stages from Story Mode and can play as anyone you want. There isn’t any particular point in playing Free Mode unless you want to replay stages to get rare weapons (though this can be done in Story Mode for most characters). It is a useful mode if you want to play any stage with the characters of your choice.
In Chronicle Mode you get to create your own character and travel Japan to battle and interact with other enemy officers. This involves you moving around a map of Japan where you bump into other officers which will trigger either a battle or an event scene. Battle scenes throw you into a stage where you have to KO enemies as per usual. Event scenes involve officers telling you a little about themselves. You can also buy items from a shop to customize the appearance of your custom made character. Unfortunately, in order to get anywhere in Chronicle Mode you have to play the same stages over and over again to trigger events and it got tiresome quite quickly. If you are a completionist you’ll have to spend a lot of time in this mode as it unlocks Encyclopaedia entries for enemy officers.
Other than the core 3 modes there is an Option mode which lets you listen to songs you have unlocked and there is an Encyclopaedia where you can read entries for enemy officers (I cannot comment if the entries are historically accurate). There is also a network mode but unfortunately I’m unable to comment on that as I didn’t test it.
Overall I enjoyed Samurai Warriors 4; it’s almost like junk food – you know exactly what you’re going to get but it’s unlikely you’re going to be blown away by some new undiscovered taste. If you’ve played a Samurai Warriors game before and have enjoyed it then it might be worth dipping into this to satisfy your craving, or you could select any other Warriors game title and you’d probably have a similar experience. If you’ve played a Samurai Warriors game and didn’t enjoy it then it’s unlikely you’ll find anything new here that will convince you to try again. If you’ve never played a Warriors game before then this is as good a place as any to start and I’d recommend giving it a go.
Combat: Samurai Warriors has always had more intelligent combat than either the Dynasty or Orochi series, but this is probably the first game where the best tactic isn't just mashing square. As well as an expanded set of normal attacks, you can now use 'hyper attacks' which are activated by starting a combo with triangle rather than square. They are simple to perform, can be done whilst running and can sweep 50+ enemy soldiers off the battlefield in a single combo. They are extremely satisfying to watch and do a lot to keep the pace of the game flowing without having to stop and wade through an RSI-causing army. However, if your hyper attack hits an enemy officer, you will simply bounce off and leave yourself open to attack, meaning you have to be a little careful how you use them. A deplete-able 'spirit gauge' now lets you chain combos together and break enemy's guards at the tap of a button. Mouso attacks are a tad too over-powered (or rather, too easy to earn) and can be combined with a full spirit gauge to essentially become a 1-hit kill for any enemy (so called 'rage mode'). Having said that, sometimes you just want to deal with an enemy quickly and it can come in really handy.
Difficulty: The difficulty levels have been fixed. 'Normal' is now easy enough to stroll through the game without dying, but 'Hard' is no longer so hard that you'll die three times a level. I'd recommend playing on Hard to give yourself a sense of a challenge. 'Nightmare' still exists for the masochists.
Strategy: Samurai Warriors 4 has lots of missions per level, with clearly defined maps, showing you where they happen and what you have to do. Each mission you fail will make completing the level more difficult. A lot of the time you will feel like you have to be in two places at once. This gives each level its own character and sense of urgency. You are very likely to fail a few of the missions on each level. One feature which helps with mission completion is being able to switch to a second character somewhere else on the battlefield. What makes them even easier (and more fun!) is having a friend with a second controller.
Story: The addition of multiple 'regional campaigns' along side the grand narrative of the unification of Japan really lets you get to know the characters and their backgrounds. 'Chronicles mode' lets you take on the role of a ronin roaming Japan, making friends with individual officers and uncovering their personal stories outside of the dynastic struggles. This all makes the game an excellent introduction for novice players who have no idea about the history of 50+ obscure Japanese historical figures, but also felt satisfying for me, who has played all the previous games and knows the stories quite well. One slight problem is the Japanese voice acting - I'm a fan of keeping things in their original langue, but when you are in the middle of combat, you often miss key bits of conversation because you don't have a chance to stop and read the subtitles.
Graphics: Graphics don't mean much to me, but the 60 frames a second does help convey the action. There isn't any of the screen overcrowding Orochi 3 had or much in the way of 'teleporting soldiers' Dynasty 7 had, where the game ran out of memory to render new soldiers until some had been defeated.
Overall: A fun game. A satisfying game. It's not going to change your life, but it is worth playing, especially if you haven't visited this series in a while, or (heaven forbid) at all before.
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