Tecmo Koei’s Warriors series makes its inevitable leap to the 3DS, but does it bring anything new to this long running franchise?
Many a gamer will tell you that the Warriors games are just a hack and slash affair that grow tiresome very quickly; they would be quite wrong to accuse Samurai Warriors Chronicles of being anything like that; so much has changed on this new portable version that improves so much of the already popular far-eastern franchise that this is practically a brand new game. Tecmo Koei has got so much right this time around that playing on a home console will feel like a step back.
This time the game is based on you, you are the main protagonist joining forces with the huge supporting cast of warriors through important parts of feudal Japans history. After the choice of going for a male or female character you are introduced to the game via a beautiful looking map detailing what has occurred and what is about to become. You are then introduced to one of the local warriors who will team up with you in the battlefield to assist in victory. This is repeated after each battle, creating a detailed story of what happened in the early years of Japan.
Action is like most other Warriors games, you are placed in a battlefield with a single task, be it defeating an enemy or protecting a comrade. You are able to run around the huge map (and later mount a horse), with your character able to carry out a few basic attacks using the jump and 2 attacks buttons to create combos. In addition to the standard combat, you also have Musou powers which charge over time and unleash devastating attacks, and also another power that link combos for even more moves. Interestingly you are also able to combine both the Musou and other powers together to create an awesome run of attacks that leaves little standing in your wake.
As the battle progress you will be notified of urgent actions that you need to take, such as taking out another guard or assisting a fellow warrior, if you are nearby you can just run over to them, however if they are at the other end of the map just press on the corresponding character using the touch screen and you will instantly play as that character, as well as having the ability to use all of their powers and weapons. This is a unique take on the Warriors series and it really works well, allowing you to traverse the huge maps with just a push. Whilst this is going on you need not worry about your main character as they will fight away at the easier grunts and make their own way to the next point of interest. If you are struggling you can also adjust the AI controlled characters paths again by just tapping and dragging on the touch screen to command them to a different area, allowing you to create real time battle plans. The Warriors games have always been criticised for being button bashers, but if played correctly there is a lot more tactical depth here than usual.
As you play through the game your character and the other supporting cast will continually rank up and collect Spoils of War which you can equip before each battle. Your weapons and clothes change aesthetically as you swap, with most of them having the ability to alter stats on defence, attack and power, plus on occasion be charged with elemental powers. Each character on the battlefield will also have Battle Skills; again you can collect these but only one per character is usable whilst playing, with them being able to lower enemy morale, make you invincible for a short time or increase agility.
Samurai Warriors: Chronicles is perfectly suited for the 3DS, with its dual screen set up. The full 3D is very easy to view even when the action gets manic, plus the map at the bottom gives you real time information about the rest of your team, something that if played on a TV will require lots of pausing of the action. The StreetPass and SpotPass modes are also functioning here, with the ability to create teams to fight whilst in sleep mode, acquire new weapons and also download new maps as and when they are available.
Samurai Warriors has finally found its home on the 3DS, offering great action, some tactical thinking and superb 3D graphics, making this a must have purchase.
Words by Ash Buchanan
You can order your copy of Samurai Warriors Chronicles for 3Ds here.