Samurai Warriors 5 Review (Switch)

Koei Tecmo’s Samurai Warriors lastly returns after a seven 12 months hiatus with a smooth reboot that takes the long-running saga again to its roots, specializing in a brash younger Nobunaga Oda’s unwavering dedication to unify Japan while zeroing in on his relationship with Mitsuhide Akechi. Samurai Warriors 5 is a slick and classy addition to the long-running Musou sequence that tells its story effectively, introduces a good looking new artwork fashion, makes a bunch of good additions to the franchise’s commonplace hack and slash motion and, maybe most significantly for Swap followers, manages all of this while delivering impressively stable efficiency on Nintendo’s console.

Beginning off with that new artwork fashion; the fairly bland, po-faced visible route of older entries within the Samurai Warriors sequence has now been changed with a contemporary and vibrant look that is been closely impressed by conventional Japanese ink work. From the second you boot this one up it is an actual feast for the eyeballs and even on Swap, the place the graphics have completely been pared again compared to different variations of the sport, issues nonetheless look actually slick. In battle there is a shocking quantity of vibrant and flashy particle results on display screen as you slice and cube your method by way of the hundreds of enemies that stand in your method; the narrative cutscenes that book-end missions now look uniformly very good. Sure the draw-distance nonetheless stinks slightly – an issue not distinctive to this Swap port – however general that is one tasty trying addition to the franchise.

The reworked presentation actually does feed into how gratifying the narrative is just too, with these trendy cutscenes presenting the varied characters, plot factors, views and incidents in a method that simply feels extra fascinating than it has finished prior to now. Sure, as long-time followers we had been sucked in additional than traditional simply testing all the brand new character designs, however even for newcomers it is a marketing campaign with a narrative that is delivered to life in a fairly attractive and, maybe most significantly, simple to observe method.

Some hardcore followers could effectively take challenge with a storyline that does not appear fairly as expansive when it comes to its historic timeline as earlier choices within the sequence – as they might additionally do with the actual fact this new recreation has reduce the character roster down from its predecessor’s fifty 5 to thirty seven. For us, although, it is all in line with a reboot that is seeking to freshen issues up, excising lots of the bloat – when it comes to each long-winded narrative and numerous fiddly fight mechanics – in favour of a recreation that usually feels lighter on its ft, is straightforward to familiarize yourself with and would not maintain you again from getting blasted proper into the thick of its hack and slash fight. The truth is, should you’ve ever fancied attempting a Musou recreation however have but to make the leap, this actually does really feel like a newcomer-friendly place to dive into the motion.

With this in thoughts, getting began right here there’s even a surprisingly restrained tutorial interval that sees you gently launched to the sport’s mechanics whereas limiting your alternative of characters to only Nobunaga Oda himself. It is a effectively paced opening and an informative introduction to how the sequence’ trademark fight works that takes its time and slowly layers on new parts, concepts and mechanics earlier than then opening up the roster and letting you get right down to the motion correct.

In fact that motion is the beating coronary heart of your complete endeavour, and with reference to the adjustments and additions that Koei Tecmo has made to the usual Musou template, Samurai Warriors 5 looks like an actual winner. That is nonetheless very a lot a conventional Musou recreation, and you may nonetheless spend the overwhelming majority of your time hacking by way of impossibly massive hordes of – let’s face it – braindead enemies, however what has been added elevates your complete expertise over what’s come earlier than on this samurai spin-off sequence.

On high of the standard strings of sunshine and heavy combos, hyper assaults and highly effective Musou assaults that you may dish out as you blaze a path of destruction throughout the sport’s numerous battlefields, Samurai Warriors 5 provides wonderful new cooldown-based “Final Expertise” that may be deployed as and while you see match. These new expertise give the final circulate of fight right here an actual raise, including a lot extra in the way in which of alternative and spectacle in the way you go about savaging your enemies.

Final expertise vary from helpful short-term buffs that improve your assault or defence, immediately refill your Musou gauge and so forth, to highly effective particular strikes that see your chosen fighter capable of complement their traditional assault choices with a number of attractive new skills and screen-shaking strategies that may be cancelled into at any time, giving your combos a complete new lease of life.

When mixed along with your Rage Gauge, which quickly buffs your velocity and assaults – and sees you able to unleashing a super-charged Final Musou – and every character’s personal distinctive weapon expertise, there is a shocking quantity of moment-to-moment fight alternative right here for a style which is most frequently referenced with reference to its fairly simplistic, closely repetitive motion.

Certainly, the place older entries on this franchise may generally see you hacking away repetitively along with your bog-standard combos as you waited for an excellent assault to refill or cost, right here there’s just about all the time some gauge or energy that is flashing to let you realize it is able to be unleashed. As you stage up by way of merely enjoying and smashing your foes you will additionally continually unlock new, extra highly effective Final Expertise and weapon-specific combos, providing you with one thing else to work in the direction of as you make your method by way of the marketing campaign.

Mix all of those new offensive choices with continually shifting targets that see you tasked with all method of mini-missions as you make your method by way of every stage and you have a recreation that all the time feels as if it is retaining you good and busy, pushing you round its maps and forcing you into slightly gentle strategic gameplay to go with the all-out motion as you blitz by way of its story mode.

By way of that story mode itself, it took us some twenty or so hours to blast by way of and includes of two principal narrative arcs that you may change between at your leisure, that of Nobunaga and one other that tells the sport’s story from the perspective of Mitsuhide Akechi – though you will not acquire entry to Mitsuhide’s missions till round 5 hours into the sport. These principal missions are then supplemented by distinctive character-specific sorties that flesh out numerous parts of the story and provides slightly extra background to a number of the mates and foes you will make alongside the way in which.

Exterior of the primary story there’s only one different gameplay choice to sink your enamel into in Samurai Warriors 5, and that is Citadel Mode. Right here you will battle battles the place the purpose is to defend your base towards incoming assaults while finishing numerous on-the-fly targets as a way to get your fingers on sources that you will have to improve buildings in the primary marketing campaign. It is on this barely convoluted system of upgrading that we discovered the sport starting to stumble for the primary time, because it forces you right into a state of affairs the place you will completely want to grind it out on this (admittedly enjoyable) sub-mode as a way to absolutely unlock the entire principal recreation’s skills and utilities.

You see, as you make your method by way of the story mode right here you will be returned to an upgradeable “My Citadel” menu space between sorties the place you possibly can tune up your gear, practice your fighters and purchase buffs, ability gems and objects on the store. Nevertheless all of those providers, the Dojo, Blacksmith and Store have to be upgraded a number of instances as a way to make them absolutely operational – you possibly can’t craft new weapons on the Blacksmith till you have raised it to the required stage, for instance. You don’t have any possibility however to grind Citadel Mode to unlock every little thing right here, a realisation that led to us deciding to get by way of the marketing campaign on our first run with out availing of the entire utilities the sport has to supply.

It is a disgrace, because it feels such as you’re being compelled to pad out your recreation time by leaping into this sub-mode to gather boring supplies, a facet of proceedings that absolutely may have simply been applied into the primary marketing campaign, however this grind is at the least considerably mitigated by the actual fact you will be eager to hit Citadel Mode as a lot as you possibly can anyway as a way to stage up your roster of characters.

In one other slight stumble, the marketing campaign right here usually inexplicably restricts who you possibly can select to play as, usually letting you hit the battlefield with two characters to change between at a time however limiting your selections to only a handful of your presently unlocked fighters. This implies, after all, that you will end up with a bunch of fully under-levelled fighters who you will have to buff up by taking them by way of Citadel Mode, till they’re match to tackle the challenges of the primary marketing campaign every time the sport sees match to allow you to select them.

You can additionally improve fighters solely in the primary marketing campaign mode through the use of shares of XP that you simply’re awarded on the finish of every mission, however you will discover you by no means have sufficient of this XP to get underused characters fully combating match. It is an oddly restrictive system, particularly given the selection the sport affords you with reference to swapping character weapons and strikes as you see match. It results in a state of affairs the place, particularly in your first run by way of the marketing campaign, you could end up simply sticking to a couple fighters who can be found in most missions and subsequently adequately levelled up – as we did with Nobunaga and Mitsuke, one of many recreation’s blazingly quick new ninja characters.

It isn’t a problem that is going to significantly have an effect on you should you’re aspiring to get pleasure from this recreation on each problem or actually take your time – you will possible have your roster absolutely powered up in your second go-around. For informal gamers, although, you could end up operating into brick partitions when it comes to what you have received unlocked and which of your fighters are robust sufficient to take into battle with out making issues troublesome for your self.

Away from this barely convoluted technique of upgrading, nevertheless, Samurai Warriors 5 hardly ever places a foot flawed. It is a extremely polished, quick and flashy addition to the franchise that is arrived on Swap in positive kind. After the niggling efficiency points seen in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity we positively had some considerations about how this one would play out – particularly given how good it seems to be on Nintendo’s console – however, we’re pleased to report, we skilled nary a bug or notable framerate drop in our time with the sport. Even within the little little bit of time we spent attempting out two participant split-screen, issues all the time felt surprisingly stable.

Whether or not you are slashing your method by way of enemy hordes with Nobunaga, ninja-kicking and flipping across the battlefield with Mitsuki, utilizing No’s bow for devastating ranged assaults or blasting one and all with Hisahide Matsunaga’s nice huge cannon, the motion right here is all the time fascinating, all the time frantic and all the time engagingly addictive stuff. Ranges are extremely replayable, with plenty of hidden targets to finish and excellent S-ranks to realize. Switching between characters on-the-fly offers you plenty of choices with reference to retaining these impossibly lengthy combos going and even that Citadel Mode – aside from the supplies grind – gives up loads of ferocious battles to maintain you and your roster of thirty seven fighters effectively and really busy.

With ten contemporary new characters to familiarize yourself with, a robust story mode, wonderful new Final Expertise and a flashy new art-style, Samurai Warriors 5 is, all issues thought-about, a slick new outing for the sequence and one other robust addition to the Swap’s spectacular line-up of Musou video games.

https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/nintendo-switch/samurai_warriors_5 | Samurai Warriors 5 Review (Swap)

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