Samurai Warriors: Chronicles

Review: Samurai Warriors: Chronicles

3DS Review

" If you think for one minute that AI will just stand still waiting for your blade to pierce their polygonal hearts, you're wrong. If you think that the game is nothing but a mindless button mash, you will fail your mission."

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles was among the first titles shown back at E3 2010 when the 3DS was officially unveiled to the public and remained relatively low key with the other 3DS titles until the start of the year. Since then people have been rather reserved and uninterested in what is undoubtedly one of the stronger 3DS launch titles on offer. And one which is certainly worth your time. Why you may ponder? Because this is one of the few original titles made for the 3DS launch, no ports or cutting corners here, created ground up and unlike others, effort was put in. Not only that, but there is a wealth of content available for you to play through which will literally take you hours to finish, which is further expanded by being the first title in Europe and America to support SpotPass DLC.

From just watching a short movie of what the game holds, people have commonly just viewed the title as looking rather easy with the AI essentially standing still waiting to be killed, and even then, not much AI is present at all compared to what gamers have played through on home consoles or even expected. Which is a shame really as the game essentially isn't like that at all. In fact what you or others have even viewed, doesn't reflect the game. Let's get the simple facts straight that have hovered on Samurai Warriors: Chronicles. If you think for one minute that AI will just stand still waiting for your blade to pierce their polygonal hearts, you're wrong. If you think that the game is nothing but a mindless button mash, you will fail your mission. If you think that there aren't enough enemies to slash your way through, you will be overwhelmed. This is a title where what has been shown just doesn't do it justice.

Players of the series will no doubt be aware that the original footage Tecmo Koei released was obviously on the games easiest setting, something however that may not be apparent to newcomers of the series. And this difficulty level shouldn't be represented as to what is on offer. If you want some proper samurai action, start off with medium, or if you want to see what the game is truly like, you'll kick it up another notch to hard. Now, while reading this it may seem pretty obvious that playing the game on a higher difficulty will obviously make it more challenging, but with this title it feels like the game had to be made simpler for gamers entering the series for the first time or those unfamiliar with the hack n' slash genre. Let it be known that this reviewer has failed many a mission while trying to fight through the Sengoku era. This includes the first mission. And it only gets better the more you play.

After the creation of your customized hero that'll help change the tide of war, you'll get started with the story mode. For each character, there are three different attack buttons; normal attack, your power attack which will vary between each of the characters, and then your Musou attack for when one of your gauges is filled up. Along with this each character wields a special skill, for example the male hero will empower his sword. Then for a bit of more uniqueness, each character will have their own set of orbs called spirit gauges, used for each characters battle skills. With all this, you get a sense of individuality for all the characters you take control of throughout the game. And that can be a lot. When leveling up your character more skills and attacks will open up along with new and increasing combos that helps keep the combat fresh to the player and help develop a sense of power, although things might get a bit repetitive, Tecmo Koei has tried out a solution for this. So now we jump into the mission, select your difficulty level and get started with the fun.

If there is one thing that can be said for the game, is that the 3D works extremely well. Not so much in the sense that you can judge distances better among your playable hero and enemies and getting the timing of attacks and combos correct, but it helps make the game feel much more like a world. It looks right, and thanks to the circle pad, it plays right too. Once you get briefed on the mission and objectives, you'll start playing; and thanks to the touch screen, life will be made easier for you. On the bottom screen you'll have a map of the entire area for each level and each of the armies battling will have different colours to represent them so you'll be able to identify what areas and sections each of the armies possess along with where all the enemies are. Throughout the stage various missions will appear on the upper screen, detailing what you have to do and any conditions that need to be fulfilled for completion as well as any time limits that are imposed giving a bit of a strategy and planning. These can get slightly repetitive at times with a "Go to X and kill Y before Z happens", but these can be ignored if you're fine taking on an entire army by yourself. Perhaps if you've been tasked to go after a specific captain to do battle with, the lower screen will highlight where he or she is and show a path of arrows showing the quickest route. But one negative is that your fellow army AI aren't the brightest so there will be times you'll need to keep an eye on them and make sure they don't run right into the enemy base and get slaughtered. This can be prevented by using the map to place where each captain should head towards and fight. But it does get a bit annoying trying to send them away only for them to turn and run right back which can result in a failed mission. Or if you happen to be far away to make it in time, just tap one of the captains you're in battle with and you'll then take control of who you selected which all in all makes things a bit easier instead of running about through the entire area trying to complete the various missions proposed to you, which is certainly a welcoming touch. Upon completion or failure of a mission, you can reap in more rewards and gain morale, or miss out on some loot and loss morale for your army.

When you finish the scenario there'll be a post-mission conversation that you'll have among yourself and the captains that participated in battle with you. And it's here that the friendship level will change for better or worse when you are proposed different events, questions and inner thoughts and beliefs. Depending on your answers, different outcomes will present themselves. The plusses of becoming best chums with the officers is taking them to battle with you and you'll also eventually unlock their weapons that you'll be able to use if you became fond of one style or simply just want to try something else out other than the sword and gun and twin swords that the male and female characters respectively use.

If that wasn't enough, your character will unlock various different costumes and colours giving you a fresh, new look. However as you progress through the story of the Sengoku period in feudal Japan, the first time you view the plot narration given in Japanese with subtitles is unskippable. The CGI movies that are in place are also fully in 3D and at times it'll seem like there are objects coming out of the screen. Tecmo Koei has also been a bit sneaky in regards with the graphics. The graphics during combat are decent enough considering everything that's on the screen and aren't as bad as what screenshots might suggest. The likes of some of the generic army figures looks a bit blocky and facial details aren't great when you see them up close, which doesn't happen too often. While the captains and main characters do look better detail wise and stand out more, some suffer from facial close ups, which is normally a rare occurrence since viewing them from a distance makes them look fine. But these characters all change during the out of mission conversations and look much better. In regards to how many opponents you see on the screen at once ranges from twenty to thirty models, if not a bit more. But don't feel disappointed in reading that there might not be much on the screen, they will take a beating before they finally die instead of a couple of slashes and as previously mentioned a bit of a "Will I be able to pull this off?" feel. Some speculation as to why there isn't as much on the screen at once is due to the console emulating the entire stage instead of just what you see so captain switching is effective and allows you to take immediate control of them and view the surroundings of the battle they are currently in with one little tap. The music is Japanese styled and the sound track does have it's moments in some situations in regards to the surroundings, pace and setting.

Aside from the main section of the game you can visit the store and synthesis your items and weapons which can contain various different stat attributes and boost it's level and power giving you an edge, assuming you give it some time to work on it and have the relevant weapons and money. If you do find yourself a bit short on cash within the game you can trade in the play coins in exchange for money. The game also supports both SpotPass and StreetPass. Currently there are two downloadable pieces of content for the game with another on Friday each week, the first being a level 10 sword you get which is unlocked within the 'Vault' section of the game after participating in a StreetPass battle, and the second was a new Gaiden stage that is instantly available to you when you select a scenario to play in. As for StreetPass, you assemble an army of four different captains you've encountered through the game who play different roles such as a healer and berserker and a formation in which you want them in. When you encounter another army trying to invade your game an automated battle will take place showing each move that a character is performing and the victor being the last team member alive. There is also a section within the vault where you can view all the CGI movies, listen to music and view the likes of various records and events that have occurred between you and the captains you've had conversations with.

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles is easily one of the better titles available on the 3DS compared to what is out there already and definitely worth a purchase, especially when you consider what titles are out and what they offer. Not only that, the title also shows that other reviewers out there don't give Samurai Warriors a chance, perhaps don't play it much or really 'get' the game and instead simply shrug it off for not adding anything significant to the series, something that several other games out there do.

What you're looking at here is a completely original title made just for the 3DS. Makes good use of 3D, includes SpotPass, StreetPass, coins and will take some time for you to get through the story which will only be expanded. The combat certainly is fun and has a lot of variety between all the characters and weapon types. The game has unlockables to keep you interested along with the in game missions and various character abilities you can use depending on the situation you're in giving a strategic edge to what is a good addition to your 3DS library and is a true shame that it's being overlooked compared to the quick rush jobs that are out.

N-Europe Final Verdict

A strong 3DS title making full use of the consoles features that has been overlooked. This will keep you busy for hours and those looking for a good 3DS game should look no further and give Samurai Warriors: Chronicles a look.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Lots of content to play through
Supports the 3DS features
Good use of 3D and lovely cut scenes
Lots of customization and characters to play as


Graphics can lose a little quality at times
Enemies randomly appearing when they should already be there
Captain AI can be annoying at times
Not enough stores stock this

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