I’ve been out of the Musou world for quite some time, but after seeing the new direction of the Samurai Warriors series, I was excited to get the chance to play the latest entry. Its direction acts as a reboot of sorts with a brand new era to explore, making Samurai Warriors 5 the perfect place to jump in if you’ve missed a few entries.
The story of Samurai Warriors 5 takes place in the Sengoku Era, with the player controlling a young Oda Nobunaga who is just starting out with his goal of unifying the country. As you progress, more characters join the ranks and become playable. There are also characters who take the spotlight for some sections of the narrative to see events from their perspectives, such as Mitsuhide Akechi and Ieyasu Tokugawa.
There are tons of cutscenes with some great Japanese voice acting to keep you engaged throughout the adventure. Further, in the opening moments, the cell-shaded is striking as all the characters are distinct and pleasing to look at.
There are fifteen different weapon types ranging from katanas and ninja blades to bows and talismans that create a nice variety of ways to mix up the action and how you approach battles. All playable characters can use any weapon type, but they do have their own special weapons, which level up faster when equipped. Most weapons can be upgraded to increase attack power and add skills such as attack range and speed. There are also stables where you can purchase horses to train and equip on characters to help you get around battles faster as the maps are sometimes quite large.
The combat is your straightforward Musou hack-and-slash, where you have light and heavy attacks that you combine together to do combos. The Musou Attack is the most powerful move you can use after you fill a meter. You also have four Ultimate skills slots you can equip and use during battle, which can be for attack and defense buffs, filling up your Musou meter, or special attacks like dashes and large AoE skills. There is a bit of strategy needed for some types of enemy groups, but for the most part, it is mainly button mashing.
When you begin, there are plenty of tutorials to help explain every single aspect of the game, so you won’t be lost if you are a complete newcomer. I will admit it did break up the action quite a bit initially and sometimes ended up with me getting hit after I finished reading them, but you can turn them off in the settings menu.
After playing the first few hours of Samurai Warriors 5, I can safely say I want more. There’s a lot of potential in this new design direction that has me hyped about the direction of the narrative. Still, the combat is largely the same, and most differentiation comes from leveling up characters and experimenting with the different weapon types. Samurai Warriors 5 has pulled me from my hiatus with the series, and I’m looking forward to getting back on the battlefield.
Samurai Warriors 5 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC-via Steam on July 27, 2021.
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