There are a lot of games that get criticized for lack of originality or storyline. But sometimes there are games that come along that are completely void of originality, have a barely outlined story, and yet are praised by most who play them. SAMURAI WARRIORS from Koei, the makers of the DYNASTY WARRIORS series, is one of the latter that can get away with it.
Like the DYNASTY WARRIORS series, SAMURAI WARRIORS takes placed in a somewhat historically accurate setting. Instead of ancient China, though, SAMURAI WARRIORS takes place in feudal Japan, during the Sengoku period of the country's history. But, as said, other than a brief outline of the story, and a few appearances by real life people (including Nobunaga Oda, who is now infamously known for his appearances in the ONIMUSHA games), that is about as far as historically accurate as this game gets. How many times have you read in the history books about one single warrior taking out a thousand men at a time?
SAMURAI WARRIORS allows you to select from 15 different characters, each with his or her own fighting style and story. While they don't all differ much from one another, they are different enough to warrant playing through the game with more than one of them. If you've played any of the DYNASTY WARRIORS games, you'll feel right at home with SAMURAI WARRIORS. You can perform most attacks by just pressing a single button, and you're normally able to string together multi-hit combos with this one button. By adding in the occasional special attacks, you'll be able to take apart enemy armies in no time. Of course, the coolest mode found in the game is when two players see who can kill 1,000 enemies the quickest.
The newest upgrade to SAMURAI WARRIORS is the Officer Mode, which allows you to create your own samurai from several pre-rendered models. After creating your character, you go through a series of tests from your trainer until you are good enough to join a clan and become a full fledged samurai. There are also some new RPG effects added into the game that allow you to upgrade your character's attack, defense and weaponry.
One of the biggest downfalls of the game, just like the DYNASTY WARRIORS games, is the English voice acting. The voice acting was pretty bad before, but now it just seems downright intolerable. Luckily for us, a much better acted Japanese track is available for players. The music is also decidedly more Japanese, more subdued and traditional, than the previous rock tracks that we are used to in the DYNASTY WARRIORS series.
Even though the Xbox version comes a few months after the release of the Playstation 2 one, there really isn't much added. The Xbox version does allow more enemies on-screen at one time, which does increase the difficulty level a bit. But, truth be told, only a few enemies are added and most gamers probably won't notice the difference. The graphics look a bit crisper, but are almost identical to that found in the Playstation 2 version.
SAMURAI WARRIORS is a fun action game for fans of the DYNASTY WARRIORS series, or just for people who like to be able to jump into a game and play (and feel satisfied no matter how much they play.)