The latest in the Samurai Warriors franchise, Samurai Warriors 5 is the latest 1 versus 1,000. Much like the previous titles, it sees you the player face off against armies as you play as historical figures in Japanese history.
This time around there have been a few changes, most notably there is an aesthetic change. The graphics of Samurai Warriors 5 are far more stylised. There is a cel-shaded motif that surrounds the world and the characters that live in it. This new choice is greatly appreciated as the games had fallen into something of a rut visually. Also with these revamped visuals comes new interesting designs.
Of the returning roster, everyone gets a new design that is for the most part an improvement on the original. A particular weird one for me was Nobunaga Oda. This character has been a part of the Samurai Warriors games since its inception and he’s always been depicted as a somewhat imposing man with demonic eyes. In this latest iteration, he’s far more appealing (affectionately dubbed by the fans as a f**k boi).
The reasoning is twofold I believe, the game starts at an early phase in this historical era and so I think they were going for a young Nobunaga Oda. I also think they wanted to cash in on that f**k boi energy because almost every male figure in this game is drop-dead gorgeous.
Samurai Warriors 5, cutting through the monotony
The gameplay has remained fairly similar. You fight against hordes of enemies to reach each target/boss, beat them and then move onto the next target. It’s a rinse and repeat style of mechanic that has continued to serve the franchise for a long time. Unfortunately for me, the lustre of this battlefield has lost its sheen.
I played the game unlocking new characters and modes and I found it quite hollow. Some of you might find this a strange critique of the game but here goes. The Samurai Warriors franchise as well as its sister franchise the Dynasty Warriors franchise have many characters with even more weapons. When I was a younger gamer I would spend days playing as the same character until I unlocked their top tier weapon. It usually had its own kickass design. It was the artist in me loving the TLC put into the individuality of each character. After all the writing for these games s piss poor so the weapons and their abilities were the personalities of the characters.
Sadly this is absent in Samurai Warriors and it leaves a noticeable impression. As well as that the roster has been cut down to 37 playable characters. In the previous title, it was 55 and there are several notable missing characters, fan favourite Yukimura Sanada being one of them.
The game does try to give you new additions to the game to try and make it more engaging. These come in the shape of your Castle. Within this menu, you can do various things to enhance your favourite characters, upgrade weapons, buy skills as well as mounts. It all sounds interesting but within 5 minutes of unlocking all these modes (which take some time to unlock), you’ll find them quite boring. Not only that all your characters share the points you earn to level up as well as spend points on unlocking skills. This means it takes an excruciatingly long time to level up more than one character at a time.
There are some positive additions. One includes the ability to switch between two characters on the fly at a certain point in the game. It’s great to be able to do this. This allows you to double the damage you can dish out on the battlefield.
Ultimately Samurai Warriors 5 is a decent if flawed entry in this running franchise. It brings some new interesting elements to the table but is hindered by elements and characters it has left behind. Hopefully, Koei Tecmo will learn from this going forward into their inevitable sequel.