Review by blueninja4444

"Who Is The Ultimate Samurai?"

So, Samurai Warriors is here on the PSP? The hack n' slash genre of gaming is like some of kind of drug and coffee combo. It's terribly addicting and bad for your fingers and PSP buttons. But good ol' Koei is here to give us our hack n' slash fix for a while. This time, it's not Dynasty Warriors, it's Samurai Warriors. But how does mini-Samurai Warriors stand up to it's big bad popular brother on the bigger system? Well........

Graphics: 9/10
The graphics in this game are great! But unfortunately, during most battles in the main modes there can be up to 20 or so enemies on the screen at once and to fit all of those bad guys on one screen, details tend to be sacrificed and you can find yourself killing identical brothers over and over again. Octuplettes attacking you is not a rare occasion in this game. But thankfully, the backgrounds are beautiful and realistic, and everything looks nice. Probably the best part of this game is, indeed, the graphics.

Sound: 7/10
You could sum up the sound with basically three words “nothing special” and “repetitive”. In fact, repetitive is a common word when describing this game, but it seems like the enemies only have 2 death cries (for each sex) when dying, and your character only has two battle cries when attacking. Now, normally this isn't a problem but when you kill 60 or 70 baddies in any given battle, the same 2 death cries and battle cries over and over gets old. The BGM is also lackluster and interestingly it's not very oriental, or anything you would imagine when you think of a game set in Japan with samurais and ninjas. No gongs, no ninja-like music. The music is actually rather cartoonish, which doesn't set the mood for a game set in a war torn age.

Controls: 9/10
The controls in this game are very convenient, and easy to learn. You better hope your square button is working because you're going to be pressing it non-stop during the actual gameplay. Some characters also make good use of the triangle button. Look at it this way: Triangle is your “hack” button, square is your “slash” button. Circle is your “why did I bother charging up for this lame attack?” button. Controls are nothing to complain about in this game.

Story: 5/10
Samurai Warriors has a story, but it's liable to be claimed as boring and not very inspirational. The dialogue is written out, and not spoken, and is very much in the cheesy category. Even diehard Japanese feudalism fans might find the story has a lot to be desired, and even if this is based on true events, it could've used some serious spicing up. In fact, without trying to spoil the game let me recite this little story moment... A thief brags about how he stole something from your master in broad daylight without being noticed, and a few seconds later you get mad and engage in a huge battle because it turns out you did see him steal your thing. You don't just battle the thief, oh no, that'd be too easy, instead you tear through town looking for hidden stores, while trying to protect your dimwitted allies from dying. On the bright side, this game's story will make you glad you didn't live in this time and day.

Gameplay: 6/10
Okay, this is a hack n slash, what do you expect? Repetitive gameplay? No doubt, I mean if extreme repetitiveness is your thing than this is your game. The first thing you gotta know is that the first time you turn this game on, your gonna get a message saying “It's recommended that you play this game on easy, do you wanna put it on easy now?” or something like that? And of course you'll probably say yes. So then what happens. You get in the single player game and start slashing some bad guys with your sword or spear or whatever. But then something dawns on you... These enemies ain't even fighting back! Well, they are, but just barley. Heck, you can probably put your PSP down, go make a sandwich and when you come back you'll realize your health bar isn't even half way depleted. So the game is ridiculously easy, right? No... Because you'll realize that the story mode's little “side objectives” that make you win or lose are oddly hard to accomplish and prevent respectively. You're just running around stabbing 500 samurais with your sword when you get this message that reads “mission failed; your ally has died” and you're probably thinking: How can I invade the enemy base and watch my ally on the other side of the map, at the same time? Or more importantly how could my ally die against this insanely action-less enemy? My ally must have been making two sandwiches and a pie without touching the PSP, because dying isn't easy in this game. You could even say that the game is relatively not hard even on the most difficult level. However, any fans of this series will be happy to learn the multiplayer option (if you know someone with a PSP and this game) is very fun to play. If you get bored this game's multiplayer will surely cure that boredom.

Replay Value: 6/10
The replay value on this game a little iffy. It's hard to say if the generally unexciting story and repetitive gameplay are enough to keep you coming back to play with each character. Sure there's minor gameplay differences, and different combos for the many characters but if you find playing this game with each character worth the time and effort that's a bit questionable. The actual gameplay is not only repetitive, but the missions you are supposed to complete are practically the same with each character. However, it's still fun to just put in and mindlessly hack n slash some enemies, or if you got a friend, it's good to pit ninja warriors against ninja warrior. Who is da ninja? This game will help you find out.
But one of the biggest drawbacks is the missing feature from the console games: create a character. It's not here. That's a blow to the replayability right there. Creating a character was considered a fun feature by most people who played Samurai Warriors on the home console, so leaving it out on the PSP is a bit of a surprise.

Load Times: 10/10
Now, I know load times isn't usually something that gets it's own review section, but after playing the many PSP and DS games, maybe it's about time we do consider it in the review. Where are the load times in this game? They are practically not here! This is a PSP game, something is wrong with this. Nope, nothing wrong. Samurai Warriors gets a 10 out of 10 for flawless load times, especially on the PSP.

Overall: 7/10
This is one of those games that could've be great but wound up only being “pretty good”. The load times are great, but the gameplay is repetitive and the story isn't worth a penny. That sums it up pretty well, and even though I give this game a good rating I still recommend that you rent this game before you buy if you have any doubts. If you love the idea of going back in time and taking out hundreds of cloned samurais with one sword, this is the game for you.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/17/06

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