Samurai Warriors 5 – Review
Follow Genre: Musou, Action
Developer: Koei Tecmo, Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch
Tested on: PS5

Samurai Warriors 5 – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Citadel mode is entertaining in co-op, Enough content
Bad: Sometimes a bit bland, Repetitive
User Score
5.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)

We have played our share of ‘Warriors‘ titles over the years. We have experienced The Romance of the Three Kingdoms many times over in Dynasty Warriors, we have battled alongside Zelda and Link in the Hyrule Warriors games, but we have also played as massive Gundams in the spin-off games. Koei Tecmo has bundled its powers many times with Omega Force, to create amazingly fun Musou experiences. Some eventually branched out into entire series, but we also see the odd spin-off game from time to time, such as Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. This time we return back to Japan, when samurai still roamed the streets, to delve into the experience of the new Samurai Warriors game. While quite entertaining, the game offered much of the same, albeit with a few new twists on the classic gameplay.

Story

To be honest, while the stories of the Nobunaga clan are often quite interesting, and there is a small sense of truth to be found in the Samurai Warriors games, the stories are often not truly the highlight of the experience. The subject matter tends to be heavy, and there are too many characters to keep track of. It’s basically a nice lick of paint, to put the Dynasty Warriors game in a different (graphical) setting, and to allow a wider audience to enjoy these titles. In this one, you’ll wade through many different dialogues, while just trying to take all the information in. The plot is not too convoluted this time around, but it’s not really what is going to sell this game to the masses.

Graphics

Graphically, Samurai Warriors 5 still very much looks like a last-gen game. We reckon this is also because it is a multi-platform release, including the not-so-powerful Switch. Don’t get us wrong, we still very much enjoy the general character design and their flaunty personalities, it’s just clear that this game is running on fumes when looking at the overall quality. The franchise is very much stuck in a PS3 meets PS4 kind of quality, which is still forgivable given the sheer amount of enemies that spawn during the levels. The levels themselves are often just small variations of each other, reusing the same backdrops and the same textures over and over again. We hope the series at a certain point splits up into proper next-gen releases and traditional multi-platform releases.

Sound

The sound design is quite well handled. The musical score is a lot more relaxing than one might think, but this might be because it mainly serves as background noise when slaughtering hordes of enemy troops to reach the end goal of a level. The voice acting is quality work, and it dresses up the game’s story content quite nicely. The sound effects do their job. All combined, we cannot really ask or demand anything more in the sound department of this title.

Gameplay

Samurai Warriors 5 stays true to its roots of the ‘Musou’ genre. For those unfamiliar with the genre, it is basically a hack and slash experience where you take on hordes of enemies at a time. You will play on enclosed maps, completing objectives, either propelling the story content forward, or just to grind for experience and materials in order to become even stronger and upgrade your base’s facilities. You also have a Citadel mode in this one, where you have to defend your own base from incoming attackers. We found this mode to be very entertaining, albeit mostly so in local co-op. Musou (story) and Free mode are also available to be played alone or in co-op. Not every Musou scenario can be played with two players, however.

Truth be told, we did enjoy the Citadel mode a bit more than the actual Musou mode, but the game does require you to make progress in the latter, to unlock new levels in the Citadel mode. The Musou mode is basically the overall story mode of the game, with a lot of dialogue in-between levels, while the Citadel mode allows you to just hack and slash away. That being said, completionists will also be able to try out different character pairings in the Citadel mode, in order to unlock small events when their friendship status reaches a certain level. Other than that, you’ll be managing your characters’ weapons, mounts, skills, and so on. In the Citadel mode, you can also summon troops to assist you on the battlefield, but these feel useless and very unimpressive. Instead of summoning small ‘armies’, you summon a handful of warriors, only for them to die mere seconds later, being swallowed whole by the enemy’s forces.

Overall, this latest entry in the Samurai Warriors franchise is entertaining, but the antique foundation is starting to show its cracks. While it’s very much a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, an overhaul should happen for future installments, as certain parts are feeling a bit too dated. Everything still works fine, for now, but even in the menus, you can see that certain newer items are not really incorporated in the design well. An obvious example here is in the controls menu, where the touchpad button command looks as if someone added it with Paint half an hour before release.

Conclusion

Samurai Warriors 5 is a very entertaining sequel to the series, albeit a lot more of the same. True, there are some variations of older mechanics, and a few new additions have been made, but in the end, it retains the same core and gameplay format. Those who have enjoyed the prior games up until now will certainly enjoy this one as well. If you’re diving in to find the faster gameplay of the Hyrule Warriors games, or the Empires renditions, will probably be let down a bit, as this one plays a bit slower. Nonetheless, this one does not disappoint in its meaty content, and will entice players that love a good old-fashioned grind to press on.

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Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Samurai Warriors 5 - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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