Samurai Warriors 5, the return of the king
Available from June 24 in Japan, Samurai warriors 5 keeps the same recipe as its predecessors with a few details. It is always a hack’n slash taking place in feudal Japan in the grip of clan wars in an attempt to unify the country. All in superb 3D and ever larger environments. But this appearance has been reworked. Gone are the photorealism of the games before and place cel-shading, process which consists in affixing a black outline around the silhouettes of the characters to recall in particular the comic strip. In Samurai Warriors 5, it reminds us mostly of Japanese prints, the works of art of the time.
Koei Tecmo promised us “a rereading of the franchise bringing freshness”: they were not mistaken. They were right to review their copy, because the formula, available in many universes (Fire Emblem, The Legend of Zelda Where Dragon quest), was starting to get a little worn. In Samurai Warriors 5, the gameplay doesn’t really change, but it’s revisited, smoother and more dynamic. Make no mistake, you’ll be tearing down entire armies and taking on bosses with just one character, but in shorter, better-scripted sequences.
The story of this part takes place during a much shorter period than in the previous episodes. The number of playable characters has actually decreased, which is not bad in the end. Of 55 characters in Samurai Warriors 4: Spirit of Sanada, we go to 37 including 10 which are not playable in Story mode. You know what, it’s not that bad, we waste less time and get straight to the point. In addition, it is in line with the period covered which is shortened.
These are not the only changes, however. The most music lovers will notice that Samurai Warriors 5 abandons its penchant for techno and electronic music for decidedly more rock sounds. All mixed with traditional Japanese instruments. No doubt a desire to hang up the wagons with the parent series Dynasty Warriors which uses this same musical formula.
Lack of variety of game modes
Koei Tecmo and Omega Force had accustomed us to more variety in the game modes. In Samurai Warriors 5 we have Musou mode, which acts as story mode, and Citadel mode, which recalls the Survival modes of the games of yesteryear.
The first option invites us to live an adventure divided into chapters, themselves divided into different levels. Each of them represents a mission with different objectives (main and secondary) to fulfill. We see this epic mainly through the eyes of the famous Oda Nobunaga, then a young and fiery warrior eager for conquest. As in the Japanese swashbuckling novels, enemies become allies and some allies end up becoming enemies. The first missions of Musou mode also serve as a tutorial and different options will unlock as we progress. This is the case with the forge, which allows you to improve your weapons or make new ones (a deliberately simplistic process), or the dojo.
The objectives vary depending on and during the mission. If we start by having to get to a point B, we end up seeing enemy generals arriving that we will have to face and defeat. You can also have fun completing optional objectives that will allow you to acquire more gold and other resources or equipment. In addition, during some missions, you can change character at the touch of a button. Then, when the two are close enough, we can perform a combined super Musou attack. It is impressive and sends plenty of eyes.
At the end of each victory, you gain experience and skill points. These are spent at the base in the dojo. You reach a kind of plateau that recalls the sphere of Final Fantasy X and you can increase your strength, health points, resistance and so on.
As for Citadel mode, well, this is about resisting different waves of enemies that get closer and closer with increasingly devious opponents in an effort to protect your base. The objectives here too may vary. You have to either hold out for a while, or eliminate a given number of enemies or even defeat an opposing general, which will end the mission. This mode allows you to recover the necessary resources to strengthen your base.
Lots of content and few flaws
Samurai Warriors 5 is therefore not stingy with content (unlocking all the characters will take time), but we would have liked it to be less stingy in game mode. Here we cannot say that we are overwhelmed by diversity.
This is not the only flaw in this title, which objectively has very little. During my games in Musou mode, I noticed that the camera was often placed randomly, causing me to lose sight of my enemies. I understand that it is complex to manage with the amount of characters on the screen, but it still seems essential to me.
Beyond these little worries, Samurai Warriors 5 is a solid game with excellent achievement. It may seem repetitive for some or very pleasant for others. Still, I had a good time and I will continue it in small doses, if I can get it to work on PlayStation 5, that said, because just like for Yakuza: Like a Dragon, cannot unlock the next generation console version.
- A stunning visual overhaul
- Rich in content
- Shorter and more varied missions
- The more digestible narration
- Fewer characters
- Lack of variety in game modes
- The camera a little crazy
7 / 10