Game Review

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Patrick Elliot

Shogun fun or just ho-hum?

Tecmo Koei's Warriors franchise is a bit of a strange beast. While many entries in the series have garnered little critical acclaim, the games have a dedicated fanbase and continue to support the series after countless entries. It's no wonder, then, that the company decided to bring its hack-and-slash franchise to the 3DS in Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, a game that retains the same basic button-mashing formula familiar to the series while adding in some new elements in an effort to instil much needed depth into the series.

The first thing you do is design your own character. Instead of simply playing through as fantastical versions of famous Japanese warlords, you'll create a character to fight alongside them in their historical battles. There isn't very much in the way of battle customisation here though, with no different classes or RPG stats to dole out. Just male or female. You can customise your appearance though, and whatever character you create stays with you for the rest of the game, so choose wisely.

Attacking in the game is pretty simple, with each character having their own attack style and weapons. There is a basic attack and strong attack, which can be combined in a variety of ways to build combos. The jump button can be used as a dash attack while fighting, sending your enemy into the air and opening up the opportunity to air juggle them. Battling enemies earns experience, which levels up your character, but this mostly happens automatically and doesn't require much input from the player. New items and weapons can be acquired too, which can then be either equipped or combined to forge better weaponry.

As you fight, your Spirit Gauge increases, allowing you to do special “Musou” attacks. These can be used to make you faster and stronger for a limited time, and also allow you to pull off additional super moves, which change depending on the amount of life you have left, the level of your spirit gauge and whether you are near any allies. These are supposed to be done by executing the correct button command, but mashing the buttons mindlessly seems to work just as well. You'll be busting these attacks out all the time, whether you mean to or not, and before long the fun of the combat wears thin.

The graphics in the game get repetitive too, with the same sea of identical enemies swarming across the same green and brown landscapes. The special attack effects are nice though, and the game treats you to a pretty rad slow-mo action shot when you defeat strategic enemies. This serves the 3D effects well, and while there isn't a whole lot of pop to the effect, it still does a good job at creating depth into the screen. Each menu is layered in 3D too, with text boxes sitting atop Japanese ink drawings that float in the background. It isn't amazing, but it does a nice job of setting the tone of the game while utilising the power of the 3DS. In-game cutscenes are made a bit more bearable too, since these generally consist of two static bodies standing still and talking, and the added depth and distant-looking backgrounds are welcome additions.

Missions in the game generally have one main objective, usually defeating a specific warlord. Sometimes this gets changed to protecting a certain character, but for the most part, your main goal will be assassination. Other sub-missions pop up during gameplay, but completing them is not necessary to beat the level. This feels odd, as the game inserts new challenges frequently, and for the most part they are usually a lot more fun and in-depth than simple assassinations. Some task you with not letting certain enemies breach a stronghold, while others have you carving a path through the battlefield by capturing strategic castles and armaments. If these were required conditions for winning, the game could have been much more challenging and a lot more fun. Sadly though, running around attacking enemies mindlessly until you kill the right one works just as well.

One thing that this entry has over its console counterparts is the addition of the touchscreen map on the bottom screen. Here, the entire level is laid out, and each of your four controllable characters' positions are shown. Taking control of your characters is as easy as touching their icon, which instantly transfers you to their spot on the map. This, of course, leaves the character you were previously controlling to fend for his or herself, which in this game is a very bad thing, thanks to the incredibly frustrating AI.

Though they usually don't end up killing themselves right away, characters you leave to their own devices will lose life, and it is almost guaranteed they won't defeat their target. Allies whose survival is a condition for winning commonly get themselves surrounded by legions of enemies, and none of your characters fight well unless controlled directly by you. Enemies that should only take a matter of seconds to dispatch take forever when left to the AI fighters, making commanding them via the touchscreen almost pointless. This is incredibly unfortunate, because if this feature worked it could have transformed battles into completely different strategic affairs.

Most frustrating is the simple task of telling a character where to go. If they encounter any enemy, even non-mission targets, they will stop to take up arms. This gets incredibly frustrating when you need all the characters in one space, say to defeat the final character of a level. This should be as simple as touching a character icon then touching the spot they should go to, but sadly the only way to gather them quickly is to do it yourself, one after another, basically rendering the feature useless.

Some issues aren't as detrimental to the game as the horrible AI, but still cause enough frustrations to take away from the game. The camera, for instance, can only be manipulated by hitting the L button, which quickly repositions it behind the player. While this works well enough, it basically puts the brakes on the action, as this is the same button used to block. That means if you catch an enemy warlord in an air juggle but can't see the action, fixing the camera will end your combo and place you in a defensive stance. This may sound minor but it becomes annoying as the attack combos are one of the saving graces of the game, and it is a shame that they are hindered by the poor camera. The draw distance of the camera isn't too hot either, and sometimes enemies will just straight up disappear, even when they are standing right next to you. They can still hurt you, and you can still hurt them, so it's best to take off and leave these trouble-makers be.

For the ease of narration, the game has your character fluttering from battle to battle, making and breaking numerous alliances throughout the game that are truly meaningless. You'll go from fighting back Oda Nobunaga's forces and even defeating him with your own sword to having lofty conversations with him in the next chapter about ideals and ambition. This makes the plot seem ludicrous, as your warrior seems to be fighting it out for no reason, making and breaking alliances willy-nilly, content simply on fighting dudes, regardless of the side. What is this Outer-Heaven?

There are some opportunities to choose responses that will either increase or decrease how much the warlords like you, but these come up infrequently and add little to the actual game: you're still going to end up fighting them somewhere down the road. Also, the conversations you have with these warlords are trite and long-winded, and mostly just make broad, sweeping generalisations about things like justice, duty and courage. Hint: they are all good things.

The game does at times try to serve as a soft-handed “retelling” of famous Japanese battles from the 18th Century, but it gets hard to take seriously when these guys are emitting glowing purple orbs of chi from their chest and launching arcs of energy from their swords. Oh, and double bonus: the dialogue can't be skipped your first time through. That means if this is your first time attempting a level, then yes, you are going to have to listen to the three haiku Nobunaga wants to show you about nightingales that don't sing.


Samurai Warriors: Chronicles is a pretty decent game conceptually: its missions have multiple objectives, there are four characters for you to manage at once and each has his or her own specific attack combos and powers. Things like the touchscreen map should have opened up the opportunity to plan out strategies and position troops about the battlefield, but your allies never live up to your demands, and organising a strategy is rendered useless by the idiotic AI. There are a lot of missed opportunities here, as strategic troop planning could have added a lot of depth to the title. Sadly though, you can do pretty well in the game by simply running around and mashing the attack button at anything that moves. That is after all what the franchise is best known for, and in this case, that is probably not a good thing.

From the web

User Comments (95)



irken004 said:

I heard of some other sites that gave it a more generous score. Not too surprised with this one though.



edhe said:

If there was one game I'd want to buy for the 3DS (had I bought one), it would have probably been this one.

And if it's any consolation to any fans of the series, UK magazine NGAMER gave it 79%.



WolfRamHeart said:

I appreciate the review Patrick. It is good to get some differing opinions on the game. I was anxious to see Nintendo Life's take on it. I am still interested in picking this game up. I will probably get it a little bit later because I just purchased three 3DS titles on eBay; Super Street Fighter IV, Nintendogs + Cats and Ghost Recon Shadow Wars. I will have my hands full with those games for a while.



BedCommando said:

Unoriginal series releases yet another aggressively tedious button masher.
Colour me suprised! In 3D!



theblackdragon said:

granted, i've never played a Samurai Warriors title before, but to me, this mess is just a beat-'em-up pretending to have more to do with historical Japanese battles other than the names of the people and places involved. it really feels like they put in all the attacks and crap just so they can call it something more than that... the AI is effin' useless — even when you're actually traveling with the people you're trying to herd all toward the same place, they'll stop for every frickin' enemy along the way. it's pretty ridiculous, as is the whole 'oh hey i just kicked your butt a couple battles ago but now you're trusting me with your life' aspect of the plot (if you can call it a plot), but if you like hot button-mashing action (which I do, honestly), it's whatev', y'know?

i also kinda like that the audio is all done in Japanese with English subtitles, but that's just a personal preference, really. idk if they do that in all the SW games, but good job on that, i guess :3



Mr_J said:

Ragardless I an still going to buy the game since I love the warriors series. Great review though, it basically answered any questions I had from the trailer mostly the four characters.



emirblade said:

I don't know why this series has never appealed me. When I bought my 3DS my girlfriend showed to me to see if I wanted it for my first game and I was like "meh".



pixelman said:

I tried to psych myself up enough to buy this, but everytime I look up some videos the moronic AI really turns me off. I decided to go with LSW for my mindless button masher fix, and that worked our pretty well IMHO, haha.




who is this reviewer guy? Doesn't he know a awesome mindless japanese beat em up when he sees em?



PatrickElliot said:

I really wanted to like the game more, and did at first, but the issues with the AI got incredibly frustrating fast. The combat just doesn't hold up long, and the battles are straight up cheap sometimes--not by design though--since the non-existent draw distance makes dudes appear out of thin air, you commonly get tossed into an endless air juggle from seemingly invisible dudes until you die. Totally fair! And to get all the way to the end of a long, boring mission just to be forced to restart because you got cheap shotted by some dudes who seemingly appeared out of thin air is more than a little frustrating. It made me want to BBQ my 3DS. There are a lot of missions here though, so if this is your thing you get a lot of content, but it is pretty unpolished and just feels unfinished.



Tate24 said:

I didnt agree with this review at all! the games great! i had no problem with camera and i love the ability to change officers on the fly plus i liked riding around on horseback to:) the feature to change characters appearance doesn't unlock in till later when you can change colour of different costumes plus be friend officers and u can unlock there armour & weapons for your own character. Ive never played any of other games in series so i wasnt going in there to compare it other games in series. In my opinion its one of better launch titles that offers value for money plus lots content. 40 officers with there own moves weapons & special's moves and 400 events to unlock plus "streetpass and spotpass" which cant remember seening in the review? This is great game and in my opinion its one better buys out at moment!

id give it 7 as its fun and ive been playing it lots over past couple weeks since launch!



theblackdragon said:

@Pat: omg for srs... i hate those freakin' cheap-shotting barstewards that come outta nowhere. it really doesn't help that each battle is at least half an hour long, so losing thanks to something so stupid after all that hard work really burns me :/



Oregano said:

My first Musou game but I enjoy it. I like that there's a low barrier of entry(simple combos) but that you can go more in depth if you want. I also really like that the missions are not compulsory because I tend to just enjoy them and not feel too much pressure.

The best moments are just rushing at someone on horseback taking out soldiers on the way, jumping off and whacking them with a musou attacks and being all like 'Whatchu gonna do?'

I'd also like the point that the battles are actually years apart and switching allegiances wasn't unusual. Of course you'd be unlikely to have directly pwned your soon to be allies in real life.



Bankai said:

You lost me at "button masher" It's not. Try hard mode.

Also I never had any problems with the AI. I guess I got a glitchy copy.



theblackdragon said:

@Oregano: i get that the battles are years apart (they spell out the timeline for you after all), but seriously, i just got done wiping the floor with you, and all of a sudden (in out-of-game time) you're trying to encourage me before another battle? it just struck me as really weird, lol — i'd be afraid i'd wind up with a knife in my back after the current battle was won, y'know? :3



Weskerb said:

Ha! You absolutely killed it in the review, good job .

The only thing is, I think honestly, you would have liked to have gone lower than 5. But perhaps you were just a little scared of the backlash from the die-hard warriors fans out there: "You just don't get it man" etc. etc....



Tate24 said:

Why wasnt streetpass & the ability to swap data talked about and spotpass DLC mentioned?? With these editions it would least got score up to at least 6 or 7?



jkgatling said:

I love the warriors game series, simple because I get it... most players dont. I will get this one no doubt, only reason I havnt is simply economic reasons



Glade said:

OK first off before every mission you get to change the difficulty and even on normal it's pretty tedious. Your personal AI squad Isn't totally helpless, you can send them to different parts of the game to keep the enemy busy but the real fight only starts when missions pop up every now and then. Honestly it's a pain to do them all and some of them are nearly impossible unless you place your allies in different places on the field. Most people don't like the game too much because they played it on easy difficulty and found the game way too easy. Besides you can also download Gaiden stages after you reach a point in the game. Music really fits the mood of your mission. Lastly the visuals. Have you ever seen a two Jaggi that look different? Well when you're fighting 300+ warriors at least there are different types. Regardless the visuals are awesome, the best of any launch titles I've seen so far. In fact Movies using the game engine were pretty sweet.

This is coming from a first time player this game's great and this review is just plain unfair. I rather take Famitsu's word over this any day ( it got 32 or 34 out of 40 I think) I'd give it four, 3.5 for the least out of five because it was high reviews on Amazon that compelled me to get this game



Bankai said:

@23 Yeah, I've long realised that Famitsu is a far more accurate source of reviews than Western press for my personal taste.

The game is there for people with an interest in Japanese Sengoku history, who know (or care to learn) about the battles and personalities of the time, and who go into the game aware that no, it's not a button masher.

Just as a test I tried button mashing through the Hard mode. I think I got stuck around the sixth or seventh level.



theblackdragon said:

@WaltzElf: if i want to read up on the Sengoku period, I'll do so from a far less fantasy-based source. it's neat what they've tried to do with it, but I can't say that i trust its accuracy regarding interpersonal relationships and individual personalities as far as i can kick it. it really feels like they took a lot of artistic liberty in that respect, though again — this is just my first experience with the series. idk how the rest of them play and feel, so i can't compare them.



komicturtle said:

Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors.. What's the difference? At first glance they look the same. I'm guessing fans know the answer.

Of the two, which one is considered 'better'? My brother and cousins love playing Dynasty Wariiors, cousin having ALL the DW games o_o

Every time I play, I always steal a horse from someone and ride around and do.. nothing lol



postmanX3 said:

Well, I'm not at all surprised by this review. But... argh... I am disappointed. I can usually trust Nintendo Life to give games a truly fair shake (as evidenced by the Samurai Warriors 3 review), but this review is just factually incorrect on so many levels, as per usual of Warriors reviews.

The problems really start in the paragraph that begins "As you fight, your Spirit Gauge increases, allowing you to do special “Musou” attacks." which is just incorrect. The Spirit Gauge and Musou Gauge are two separate meters entirely — one is used to fuel Spirit Charges (so called 'dash' attacks in the review) and Battle Powers, while the Musou Gauge is, naturally, used to fuel Musou attacks. But the rest of the paragraph somehow manages to be even more offensively incorrect. Musou attacks are activated with a single press of the 'A' button, not a series of buttons. Therefore, since this reviewer apparently accidentally activated the attacks several times, it is pitiably obvious that he went through the game smashing his face into the controls and complaining that it's a button masher.

Which, coincidentally, is the next major failing of this review. As is so often true in Warriors reviews, the reviewer complains that the game is a 'button masher' and has 'poor AI,' both of which is hilariously untrue statements. The only way you'll get through this game by button mashing is if you firstly only play the first few levels, and secondly set the game to easy. Later on, you will be mercilessly juggled by multiple officers if you blindly charge in mashing X, Y, A, and B. As for the poor AI, your controllable allies will not stop to fight if you give them a target — I.E. don't just tell them to go somewhere, but actually give them a target to kill. And enemy AI is just as sharp. Sure, enemy grunts are kind of simpletons, but that's only because they're really just there to help you build up meter. The true enemies, the officers, are dangerous and intelligent, and (especially in groups) often capable of juggling a third of your character's health if you don't time your attacks correctly. This particular Warriors entry is actually one of the most difficult due to the need to strategize all across the battlefield, rather than with just one character as in most Warriors games.

Complaints about the story can be chalked up to unwillingness to learn the history a little. Sure, it's fantasized, but the overarching events are by and large true to history. A lot of the anecdotal dialogue is also historical; the nightingale haiku reference the reviewer makes, for example, is a direct reference to the well-known senryu that serves as a metaphor for the three major leaders of the Sengoku period. (Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu specifically.)

I could go on longer, but alas I've other things to do. I think I've gotten my point across anyways, and I hope the next Warriors game Nintendo Life reviews is played by someone who actually understands what they're doing in the game.



postmanX3 said:


Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors are two franchises by the same developers (Omega Force) with similar gameplay. However, there are a few key differences. Dynasty Warriors is set in China during the Three Kingdoms period of its history, and the gameplay often focuses more on killing lots of dudes than Samurai Warriors. SW is set in Japan during the Sengoku ('Warring States'), and thus involves an entirely separate cast of characters. Additionally, SW focuses more on mission-based, focused fighting than the violently indulgent mass-slaughtering of DW.



postmanX3 said:


I will admit that the invis-enemies are a pretty legitimate failing of this game, but it's certainly not like they can't be countered. Simply keeping an eye on your map and radar will always alert you to any enemies around, whether they're physically visible or not. For that matter, the appearing grunts shouldn't pose a threat at all, even if you aren't watching the map, simply because they're easily countered... if you're not button mashing. Try actually learning the characters' combos and their ins and outs and you'll probably enjoy the game a whole lot more than if you simply hammer away at the face buttons and hope for success. Most characters have huge AoE attacks that'll kill or incapacitate huge groups of enemies if you know which buttons to press and when to press them.



Glade said:

@27 If I did the review after playing it for about 7 hours and still getting the gist of things, with a much more accurate review and understanding of the Game I'd probably give SWC 8/10. A good game. Also IF the bring back Multiplayer for free as DLC maybe even 8.5 IF it's good and of course, free



Slapshot said:

Great review Patrick!

It's clear that I'll be staying far away from this game, this isn't my type of title at all. I'm glad a few Westerners do get into this series, but I'm sure its not for me.



theblackdragon said:

just a friendly reminder: please keep any comments focused on the review and the game itself, and not the reviewer. insults will not be tolerated.



koops330 said:

I have Samurai Warriors 3 on the Wii and the hardest part about the game is trying to do a mission or side mission and your commander or someone important needing help because they can't fight so I know how that feels I really hope Tecmo and Koei fix that for the next version maybe when we get Dynasty Warriors 3DS it will be improved



PatrickElliot said:

@postman the Musou attacks are contingent on your spirit gauge, the only way to unleash your most powerful M attack is to do so with a full spirit gauge.



postmanX3 said:


Which is entirely true, but not expressed in the review.


I believe that stating the reviewer clearly did not play the game, or at least did not understand what he was playing are entirely valid. If you find my accusations worded harshly or otherwise inappropriate, then I suppose I'll just have to deal with your judgement, but it certainly doesn't make the review's claims any more valid.



theblackdragon said:

@postmanX3: i had already handled the comment in question but felt the reminder was necessary for all.

Whoops, didn't quite realize there was an accusation buried in your wall of text up there — as for stating the reviewer 'clearly' didn't play the game in question, that's BS. What you're actually stating is that the reviewer didn't play the game the exact same way and from the exact same mindset as you would have played it yourself and you feel that's the reason he did not enjoy it. The bottom line is that this is how he felt about the game as he played it, and whether you like it or not, he reviewed it, not you. Accusing him of willfully attempting to pass off nonsense as a review is not kosher.



PatrickElliot said:

@ 35 I played the effin crap out of this game. It just had some major flaws I couldn't look past, regardless of the of the limited combat mechanics.



Bankai said:

@ theblackdragon - there are some artistic liberties taken in the way the game is positioned, but it is grounded in real history. The battles are real, and most of the major events in those battles really did happen.

Even some of the more "fantastic" elements, such as where Shingen Takeda beats off enemies with his war fan... that actually happened.

Compare it to something like 300 I guess - artistic liberty melded in with historical fact. Given how hard it is to come across legitimate books on the subject (and Wikipedia articles on Japanese history are often even more off than Samurai Warriors), I would actually recommend these games on their educational value to complete newbies to Japanese history.



Corbs said:

I played the game night before last for about 5 hours and I just couldn't stay into it. Seems so bland and repetitive to me. Must not be my cup of tea. I already listed this baby on eBay.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Good review and the problems talked about are pretty spot on. Still I am really enjoying this game despite the problems. I really like hack n slashes though and the missions make it fun. This is my first SW game so maybe I just have nothing to compare it too. I haven't lost interest yet in the mindless killing, but ah well. And yeah the AI can be pretty frustrating. Mainly when you have to guide NPC's to a particular destination, are timed and they attack everything along the way. Still for me it wasn't that game breaking. I do agree also with some users who have problems with the cheap AI. lol some of these bosses are just ridiculous even with all 4 generals on them. Good review though and I am still having fun with my game and do not personally regret my purchase.



Bankai said:

I have to agree with @postmanX3 (in some ways, anyway). There are so many instances out there of reviewers who have only played a hour or two on the easy mode in a Warriors game before writing a review.

In this instance, the review complains about "trite" conversations (which are actually conversaions more-or-less based on the real personalities of these important historical figures), of a character jumping around and changing allegiances constantly (It's quite clearly a metaphor for a historian on a path of enlightenment around the motivation and dramas of the era), and button-mashing - which doesn't actually exist.

So, while the reviewer is certainly entitled to his opinion, he's done the same thing most Western press do - misunderstand why the Warriors games exist, and what they're about.

So, if you're not the kind of person that would buy this board game: then you're also not the kind of person that will get as much out of a Warriors game as a fan. I do feel responsible journalists would at least mention this in their reviews, even if they then justify giving them a low score.



Aviator said:

"So, while the reviewer is certainly entitled to his opinion, he's done the same thing most Western press do - misunderstand why the Warriors games exist, and what they're about."
It is the reviewers opinion. You have your own, as do other people in the 'Western press'.



Bankai said:

@44 Not all opinions are equal. I could voice an opinion that Stephen Hawking is a clueless idiot that has no idea what he's on about, and the rest of the scientific community would laugh at me.

My opinion is at least based on a researched understanding of why the games are popular in Japan and having a working knowledge of Japanese culture and history. It's a deeper understanding of these games than most Western reviewers have, or care to have, and that's fine, but that's why I'm providing an alternative view to what's written up there.

For a comparison - a hypothetical game based on World War 2 - it's a historically accurate game featuring realistic battles and real characters. Reviewer A doesn't care for the history, and just reviews the game on the surface gameplay elements. In the process he's misunderstood the point for the game existing in the first place, and therefore his review is less "true" than Reviewer B, who recognises who this game will appeal to and why.

Both are "opinions" - but there is a reason why the opinions are divided, and in most cases, I prefer to read the opinions of people who are informed about the topic.

It's the reason I shy away from reviewing too many platform games - I don't really understand where they're coming from, what makes them fun for people etc etc. I would personally give Mario Galaxy 2 something like 6/10 - it didn't do a whole lot for me personally. I'd also be the first to admit that that review would be pretty poor.

The modern game is more than just buttons and skipping cut scenes.



theblackdragon said:

@Waltz: In your hypothetical, how is Reviewer A's review less 'true'? Both of them reviewed the same game, but from different viewpoints and with different priorities in mind. just because one of them focused more on the gameplay than the historical accuracy of events described within doesn't make either of them more or less 'true' than the other.



Bankai said:

@TBD - you're right, 'true' is probably the wrong term.

All I'm saying is that the job of an entertainment critic - whether that's film, games, music, whatever - is to understand what the object they are reviewing is about, and then provide readers an assessment on whether it does that well.

So, if a movie is a comedy, a film critic will look at its value as a comedy, and then write a review letting people know whether it's funny. A film critic that gives a comedy a bad score because it's not as deep as, say Schindler's List, is missing the point completely. A comedy can be a bad comedy, sure, but it shouldn't be judged as a drama.

The same goes for games criticism. Too many Western critics judge the Warriors games on a scale they don't belong on. They're historical action games (where most Western press tends to shoehorn them as beat-em-ups), and I for one can't think of any game that actually does that genre better (feel free to point me at some), so really, they actually deserve good ratings, just like a top platformer or fighting game would. The fact that this genre has a niche appeal is irrelevent.

A square peg will never fit in a triagle hole. I'm not complaining about this review specifically - so I hope Philip doesn't take it personally - but rather a far more broad issue I have with criticsm in general. I think there are far too many critics that get caught up in their own world and interests (and yes, I'm as guilty as this as everyone, as anyone who's seen my opinion of Gameloft knows ) to step back and see the broader picture.

So yeah, just playing devil's advocate here.



KDR_11k said:

I've never been hit by invisible enemies. Sometimes they fade in right on top of me but I'm pretty sure that's because they spawned, not because of the draw distance. Maybe you were hit by an arrow or bullet? The camera near distance is also pretty far so you won't see much of what's between you and the camera. However I never had hitting L reset my combat stance, during an attack you can't block anyway so it doesn't cancel any combos.

The ally AI isn't the issue, the game simply simulates battles that aren't within drawing distance with less fidelity. You'll see them kill stuff (or get killed) much faster when you're near them because then combos can be used. Basically that means you have to do the fighting yourself but in the end this is an action game so the orders are more for positioning your dudes so you can quickly take part in different battles. Unattended characters can be used to stop enemy movement but they won't defeat much without manual control.

Ignoring missions leaves the enemy morale high which means the final enemy will be deep inside a morale zone and extremely dangerous (on the order of three hits killing you). Disabling those morale zones makes enemies much more fragile and deal much less damage. The grunts are fairly harmless outside of the zones but they can be dangerous inside them (especially the monks and wrestlers).

I'm playing on Hard, if that matters.



KeeperBvK said:

@ Aviator: What an uncalled for, extremely childish post...why should it matter if he's a journalist or not? And I wouldn't exactly call the staff here "journalists" as they're doing it for fun in their free time, just like me for example. They (and I) don't get paid except for with a nice warm feeling in their hearts and of course review copies, invitations to events, occasional press gifts and the likes.



Corbs said:

Can we nip the bickering. It's just a damn game review, not the Declaration of Independence. And I work my real job in my free time, Nintendo Life takes up far more time than my day job. LOL



daznsaz said:

people on youtube videos loved it none of them had bad word for the game looking forward to getting it if i listened to reviewers i wouldnt get any game



James said:

Wow, some people agree with this review and others don't. Is this a Nintendo Life first?



Highwinter said:

Seems you might enjoy the Total War series, which takes a much more accurate look at historical events like this and has much better gameplay to hold it up.

Still, even if you are interested in this, it seems it may be better to hold off for Dynasty Warriors 7 on the consoles. Everything about this just seems like it had to be massively scaled back for the handheld, it doesn't really seem ideal.



Bankai said:

@51 - I don't think Aviator was being sarcastic in that instance. I am actually a journalist (as in, in my day job, I get paid for writing news, articles for magazines, and reviews for video game Websites)

@56 - I do like Total War games, but they don't actually compare to the Warriors games. Total War are strategy games, Warriors games are action games.

That said, there are better historical strategy games than the Total War titles, from a historic and strategic point of view. There are not better action history games, as far as I'm aware.

As for the scale - Dynasty Warriors 7 is good, but Samurai Warriors Chronicles is just as good. In addition - people might be more interested in Japanese history than Chinese history (which, again, is a major selling point for these games). I know I prefer the Samurai Warriors games simply because I find the stories in there more interesting than the Romance of the Three Kingdoms stories.



WiiLovePeace said:

Wow what an entertaining read.... Err, not the review, the comments! & I laugh at the people who seem to be reacting to this review as if it isn't just an opinion, rather it's some sort of miswritten gospel. Get over it, it's just a review!



JayArr said:

Let's just hope the overwhelming amount of negative reviews keep the mediocre sub-par Samurai Warriors series from being localized in any way shape or form ever again.



TheBaconator said:

Wait a minute. All the people critizing the review because the reviewer didn't play the game "correctly", please define to me how he was not playing the game "correctly". Obviously, if there is a "correct" way to play the game, the game sure doesn't tell you. For me never playing one of these games, I'd want the game to tell me the "correct" way to play, unlike you guys who have played the past games or apperantley read giant manuals on the "correct" way to play.
What I am really getting to is, if the reviewer can't understand the "correct", as you say, way to play the game, then what are the chances of a common person like me playing the game without also thinking it is a mindless hack and slash game?...Well...That's what I think...I think.



Samholy said:

well... it got a bad score. but its an handheld game, remember ?
but i remember having a lot of fun with dynasty warriors 1 and it was pretty simple too.
simple doesnt mean it will be all that bad. But for 40-45$, i expect a great portion of meat.
i will get this game used eventually, but not paying full retail price for it.



LunarJade said:

I was looking at getting this game but I'm thinking I'm going to hold off on it. The history aspect makes me want to get it but I like strategy games better and this probably won't have me as interested as I think it will right now.
It may be something I pick up later though.
From reading the review and comments though I can see that this is a game I'd at least have to look more into and maybe even see if I can borrow a friends copy first for a bit.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

@61. Mainly I see the reason being because he didn't historically immerse himself and educate himself for hours about the history of this time period in Japan. We need to be experts now before we ever have the right to open our mouths about anything, instead of just playing the freaking game and base it on how it plays.



postmanX3 said:

Alright, I'd firstly like to apologize for getting a little hotheaded. It was definitely an overreaction, so I really am sorry if I came off as unreasonable. (A few too many sleepless nights and several papers to be working on does that to me, I suppose. )

As for assertions that my claims are ridiculous, I'm not arguing that you can't have an opinion. I'm just arguing that very, very few reviewers approach this game correctly, largely because it's a niche type of game. Whereas everyone knows how to play the latest Call of Duty, understanding the intricacies of a Warriors title takes a little more work simply because we in the West don't see a lot of games in this style. Imagine a review for Street Fighter that complains about how you have to learn command inputs and incorrectly states that, I dunno, Ultra Combos are fueled by the Super Meter and you'll understand what I feel like when I'm reading this review.

And yes, I'm perfectly aware that reviews are, by their nature, an opinion piece, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, I feel that part of the job of a reviewer is to learn the game he/she is playing, and articulate their thoughts. I CAN understand not enjoying the Warriors series because it is repetitive — as it is indeed repetitive by nature. (Nearly all games are.) I CAN'T understand how one could ever claim the series focuses on 'button-mashing' — that's false, and anyone who's played through the whole game on something more than Easy can tell you that. I CAN understand finding the narrative disjointed — even I was initially confused by the main character's constant side-switching at first. I CAN'T understand how you could claim the narrative is unbelievable or incorrect — again, such a claim is flat-out wrong. This game has a LOT of historical basis and historical allusions, it just takes some liberties with the events of battles and character interactions to spice things up a little.

Again, that is enough. You have said your peace regarding that particular point of contention. Let it lie. — TBD



Slapshot said:

It's quite obvious that you have a great deal of passion for Japanese history, and that is great, but here in the West we know nothing of it. Very few reviewers have the time or money to try to learn the history behind the game(s), which seem to release as fast as waffles at Waffle House. While you criticize the gamers, I criticize the developers, because if this is what they want us to enjoy in their games, then in the West it should be written better, and more educational for us to understand it better.

It's just my two-cents on the subject as a niche gamer in a different genre.

That is just my two-cents on the subject



Supremeist said:

Well, I already have Super Street Fighter ordered... I'm buying a second game tomorrow... I was thinking Pilot Wings Resort? Never played the old Pilot Wings 64 or anything, but it looks cool. Any Suggestions?



Sinister said:

This is perhaps the worst review i ever read on nintendolife.
I have really respected this site for good reviews. But this is just a big fail.

I am not a fan of the series, its actully my first time ever playing a warriors game. I actully never wanted to play a warriors game because it looked like a mindless button masher. But now even i understand that this game is not a mindless buttenmasher. If you play on easy perhaps, i give you that.

But once you switch over to normal or god forbid hard mode you wont be able to fight off multiple officers at once without knowing what attack you have to do. Use your attacks to split them up and isolate single officers.
Fighting multiple officers at once could lead to you death quickly.

I dont care much for the history myself but i think its quite interesting to see where the big battles took place.

This game got much more depth than the reviewer can see. Organizing your 4 warriors into a good fighting force is no easy task. Getting them to the places they need to be is a challange. Its also about learning the fights. You dont expect to master a SC2 mission on the first try either. Replay some of the fights and you will learn where ou have to position your warriors to finish all missions.

Sorry again but this review is just not giving the game the credit it deserves. This game deserves a score between 75 - 80. 50 is just not right.

I dont like Mario jump and runs that much but i understand that those games are great and deserve high ratings. Being objective is always a good thing when you review something. And this review is not objective.



Glade said:

@66 regardless of the investment of time and research you have to put into the game, I still find it pretty fun for a first time player, especially since i'm playing it on multiple difficulties. I haven't really taken the time to research the history but the story is really factual and rather easy to understand. Especially the rise and falls of the different clans and the reason's of their actions (thought it takes a while to get all the names remembered) Luckily this game has a steady fanbase in Japan to keep it supported and it's really for the people who see the game for what it is worth



theblackdragon said:

@69: "Getting them to the places they need to be is a challange"
yeah, because the AI sucks, but that's already been covered. :3

that said, i love how this review is drawing people out of the woodworks who haven't commented in months. i do hope you guys are planning to take everyone else who gave it a middling score to task over their reviews as well. :3



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Yeah you guys have a lot of work to do. A good amount of mediocre reviews there with a few bad ones. Better get those pitchforks ready.



Bankai said:

@67 Actually, Chronicles does a great job of explaining the historical context and characters in the game itself. You can learn quite a bit from the game itself.

But Phillip here, according to his review just wanted to 'skip' the cut scenes and consisted the dialogue 'trite.' Which, once again, is his opinion and clearly the game wasn't designed for him, because he doesn't care for historical merit in games.

But it's clearly not a bad game for the people it is designed for - bad games don't have entire fan bases, don't last over 20 installments, and don't get the second highest rating for launch titles with Famitsu. Context is important when reviewing games.



retro_player_22 said:

Anything Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors are just same old same old on every platform, I would get this game but after playing Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii. I already had enough, probably might still check this one out but it won't be a must-buy.



Philip_J_Reed said:

"A film critic that gives a comedy a bad score because it's not as deep as, say Schindler's List, is missing the point completely."

A film critic that thinks Schindler's List is deep is missing the point just as badly.



Sinister said:

@72 Do you really expect the game to finish a mission for you ? You can use the ai to stall your opponents. Its your job to kill them. Thats why you can switch between your characters. And when you are fighting beside your other officers they will do way more because again you are fighting at the scene.

If you just want to sit back and let the ai do everything for you you might as well just go and watch a movie. The ai is not there to finish anything for you.

Oh btw i only comment on stuff i find interesting. And over the last few months there was nothing that i found to be interesting enough to comment on. This is interesting because its the worst review on a site that i have come to like because of their good reviews.



moosa said:

1) It shouldn't surprise anyone that there's widely differing opinions about this game, especially if you claim to "understand" the series so well. This has been a "love it or hate it" series since the dawn of time. Not everyone is into it, and it has nothing to do with "understanding" it.
2) A reviewer's score should be based purely on how much he/she enjoyed the game, and not everyone is going to appreciate the same things the same ways. It's a good thing to have variety in opinions expressed in different reviews, not a bad thing.
3) "Koinuma: The games in the Samurai Warriors series can be played by pure button-mashing. We check to make sure you can beat them just by punching a single button. Even people who don't play action games at all can enjoy playing them as long as they keep pressing buttons, so I hope even people who aren't very good at action games won't hesitate to play it." -the game's director. It's OK if the game involves button mashing. I'm sure it can be played without button mashing as well. And maybe hard mode is different, but it doesn't really matter.



theblackdragon said:

@Sinister: No, I don't expect the AI to finish a mission for me. I expect the AI to be able to run past simple grunts or to finish them off as quickly as I can myself so that I can trust it to get the people I need to where they need to be within a reasonable amount of time. You may have accepted that particular quirk, but I find it ridiculous that I have to herd characters around like sheep during a battle because they can't be trusted to handle themselves on their own — being able to try a battle first with one character, then another would've offered more in the way of replay value, too, IMO... seeing it through different eyes, y'know? :3



gojiguy said:

I don't know if i can trust this review. Many other reviews have praised SWC as being better than SW3 (which Nintendolife here gave a nice 8/10). the review brings up good points, but SWC still looks like a solid game.



Glade said:

@82 it is. I still don't know how they could've rated it so bad. I mean, I kow this review was the person's personal opinion but having played it for 15 hours myself I still find that it has a pretty interesting storyline and they gameplay isn't as bad as they say



jerryo said:

in metacritic I see 59 from the critics and 7.3 from the gamers.

I expected this game to be an authentic button masher with some more depth if you decide to put some more effort. After reading all the comments and the review i understand that this is what it is.I am going to buy it!

However I would expect the AI to take care of the group members properly but not entirely. In our days sub-par AI plain sucks. I think that we are going to see more handheld games suffering from poor AI for the time being, as we have in the past. I would prefer it more if it wasn't very repetitive and there was an effort to break that feeling. Good AI on handhelds is, sadly, often an afterthought and requires resources which are used mainly for graphics. These imo are the reasons that the game didn't get much higher ratings than this, and it is obvious that these things matter differently between a reviewer and a gamer.

Good games need good AI. I think this is where first party titles often differ. Nintendo think of their products first as games, and then as products. The others mostly think of them as products which have to be good games in order to lure mainly with strong graphics some good chunk of sales out of the huge userbase of wii and ds to make a profit.

Lets hope that this generation of handhelds which has a separate graphics unit will change that, but first the developers have to realize that they can't make handheld games like that any more and that they should pay the necessary attention to AI and deliver more than just basic pathfinding and HP related reactions.



nite2727 said:

gameplay- is great
sound- japanese voice work no english (bummer)
graphics- average
story- is slow and boring
action- is great
40 different characters each with different weapons and animations
= a very good game. 7.5 outta 10



Pod said:

Seems about right with the hour and a half I spent with this game.

Fully functional, yet throuroughly average.



emiru69 said:

I understand the negative points mentioned in the review but I have to say I love this game. The story, the graphics, the music, the Japanese voices, the gameplay, the missions, the replay value, changing fighters instantly with the touch screen, the military tactics, leveling up the weapons, the StreetPass, unlocking extras and so on. My favorite title on the 3DS so far. We don't have to agree on everything, personaly I think this game has a better gameplay than Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days or Kingdom Hearts Re:coded and both games got 7/10.



Raptor78 said:

I have to say this is my most played 3DS launch title that I have, I didnt buy it at launch and waited for it to drop from £39.99 to less than £30. I managed to pick it up new for £29
But im glad I did, excellent replay factor, on the surface looks like a straight forward beat-em up disguised as a historical game but has some good RPG aspects. Upgrading weapons and skills, creating friends and enemies through your conversations... even your characters strengths and weaknesses are created by the choice of your answers.
There is also a lot of stratergy at higher skill levels and to achieve the sub missions can often be difficult especially when you have to minimise the actual number of K.Os on the battlefield and concentraite solely on specific enemies making it less of a beat em' up and a lot more tactical.
This is my first Samurai Warriors game I have played and has been a positive experience, im looking forward to trying some others. I would have easily given this game a 7/10 mabey even an 8 due to the StreetPass mini-game and additional Gaiden Levels via Spot Pass.
One of a few launch titles that seem good value for money, even if I had paid full like I did with SSF4.



Raptor78 said:

I would like to add that I thought it was good before, but after playing even more of it I think it is an excellent title and the Gaiden levels are an excellent bonus, it went a bit "order 66" when my ally officers and their men switched sides and I had to defeat the people whom I had fought along side and then when the enemy started to switch sides and fight along side me it was great. Made it through just by the skin of my teeth... a must have game if I do say so myself.



Chris720 said:

I read few gaming magazines and went to other sites and they all gave it a better score than this... wow... looks like quite a good game too... but I always find Nintendo Life's reviews to be a bit more spot on.



Raptor78 said: all fairness its just a persons oppinion on the game and its as valid as any one elses. I love the game and recommend it to anybody on the other hand there are games that other people have raved about and I thought "meh! s'pose it ok" so although Nintendo Life's reviews tend to be more to my own opinions its not the be all and end all.



Cengoku said:

I have the game since one month and played 44 hours on it. Still not finished. I never played SW of DW games before and I can say that I love it. It's just another style



Aqueous said:

@theblackdragon - I believe this game to an rpg because it has the elements of one. You create a character, fight enemies and grind to level up, you collect weapons, items and even strengthen your weapons, you can get different armour and weapons, battles take place in an action rpg format similar to kingdom hearts only you foes don't pop out of nowhere. Your actions have an effect on character development and story development, along with giving you access to new missions like with kingdom hearts 385/2 days were doing side quests for characters unlocked new missions. You don't have to agree with me, as I maybe wrong but that's why I see it as an rpg for it has the elements of one but all but a few enemies are already on the map removing random encounters besides ambushes and surprise attacks, also you have controllable allies and an army on your side to help you survive through the combat. As for the cpu's AI you need to make sure that when you send them somewhere that they are locked on to a certain character if you want them to skip everything else and fight, although they fight very defensively for the most part to avoid taking damage unless you are around to back them up to help wipe out enemies quickly and as long as your not fighting or running nearby them they tend to avoid enemy units in there path.



vdallos said:

I really like this game, the change of generals on the fly is great. The general are plain dumb alone but is your job repair this. The ca,era worked for me. Is a 7 for me.

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