I’ve been a fan and player of musou games (or “warriors games” if you’re a dub rather than a subs person) since they were brand new – 20 years at this point. I’ve been with them since 2000 Dynasty Warrior 2, the very first one so far. After a week and a half with Samurai warrior 5, I have a confession to make:
I don’t know how to talk to people about musou games anymore.
When Polygon approached me to write this piece, the original idea was to write a review Samurai warrior 5, from the perspective of a musou lifer. So when I played it, that was the mindset I was in: looking at gameplay, graphics, presentation elements, how it “felt”. I could definitely write this story if I wanted to. The game looks great; The woodcut style cel shading style art is colorful and pops. The fluid combat is played by players. be known Samurai warrior 4on which it builds and refines. The story’s focus on the Nobunaga / Mitsuhide dyad has strong, tropical Naruto / Sasuke vibes, but the result is a perfectly usable Shounen-Manga-esque narrative.
Here we go! Review over. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
However, none of this tells you anything meaningful about the experience of playing the game. How can I get this across to people correctly, even though I hear myself go Full-on Mermista_uuuugh.wav frustrated many times in my many lots Hours with SW5that I still liked it very much?
I am ready to blame the genre for this. A Musou game sub-series (like Samurai warrior, Dynasty warriors, Warrior Orochi, and so on) has a lot in common with the main Final Fantasy games; they are iterations of gameplay wrapped around a common narrative core. However, unlike Final Fantasy, most of the Musou sequels are pretty similar to their predecessors. Specific subsystems may differ, but the core job you do is pretty much the same each time: you hit a bunch of faceless mooks with the occasional shot of “Duel with a famous officer” or “run across the damn map like” a person, that is on fire to achieve a goal that is more likely to be murder. “
Therefore, as expected, there is very little new in SW5. His fight builds largely on the core of its immediate predecessor, with new elements such as Ultimate Skills being added to players of licensed Musou games such as. are known Dragon Quest Heroes or Persona 5 striker. Most of the changes are aesthetic: the new graphics and visual style, redesigns of longtime characters, the game’s focus on the rise and fall of Nobunaga Oda. In a genre where the narrative consists largely of high-gloss, hyperkinetic set dressing, this may not be enough for players looking for a whole new experience.
For me, the archetypal Musou repeat offender, however, there was something fascinating about the changes the designers decided to make. Some of these shifts are extreme; in previous NS Games is called Yoshimoto Imagawa powder-faced, squeaky weirdo obsessed with one antiquated Japanese football analogue, a joke synonymous with DWis squeamish Yuan Shao. In SW5, he is a towering raw of a man, a strict and arrogant hegemon who is nonetheless the first stepping stone on Nobunaga’s path to greatness. Nobunaga’s wife No-hime gives up her sultry, murderous vampire personality in earlier years NSs becoming a laconic wife forced into a loveless marriage that ultimately loves her husband. Not all of these changes end up – Ieyasu Tokugawa’s transformation from vigorous elderly statesman to little bishounen twink is amazing – but for longtime series fans, they and the handful of new characters create enough friction with previous versions to pique interest.
A dutiful consumer journalist would point out some of the game’s glaring flaws: a dizzying locking camera that has forgotten what “collision” is, for example. The lack of an English language track in a game that defines “visual clutter” but expects you to routinely read long narrative texts on the screen. The reduction of over 45 individual movesets from the previous game to 15 common weapons, a chestnut the already has some longtime Musou people in her arms.
But then I think of the raw text file open on my desktop as I write this, filled with notes about the intricacies of the various weapons and how they work. It reads like a conspiracy bulletin board in many ways. An example: “Talisman c3 Shikigami – child? Priest? What kind of origami looks vaguely personable but would shoot fireballs? ”The morning I wrote this, I spent half an hour figuring out how to switch ammunition on the cannon and felt the intoxicating joy of understanding, when I found out the difference between shotgun, bullet mines, and HE shells, a difference in the game hardly explains any difference.
So I stay here with a story about a game that could be deeply frustrating and almost certainly is a future repetitive motion injury waiting to happen, but also one that, despite everything, caught my attention and got me into the Cross pulled. Path, path more hours of gameplay than it takes to write this article (49 hours as of the time of this writing).
As I sat down to write, I kept asking myself: How can I correctly answer the hypothetical reader who asks the dreaded question, “Will I like this?” If I just view it as a customer review, you get a very sober and lifeless one Result that says nothing about the real thing experience what is playing SW5 was like me. “The graph at Level 3 seems appropriately streamlined, five out of five” doesn’t make the importance of this hour of experimenting with the vaguely explained properties of a weapon clear, not because I needed that mechanical knowledge to win, but because knowing it feels cool.
At the same time, some of the nuts and bolts I mentioned earlier are real necessary so that you know. That moveset thing, the lack of English acting … these are going to be crucial facts for longtime Musou players. And that’s all In front I’d do any kind of pushing back against the genre’s infamous (and not entirely undeserved) reputation for mindless button presses. Yes, the game was addicting to me, but I’ve also put twenty years of my life into musou games. Would someone get anything without this context? useful Information from me describing my happy cackling when Mitsuki high-five a shadow clone of herself at the end of one of her attacks? Probably not.
So … I don’t know how to talk to people about musou games anymore. So here you get a bit of both: a touch of the dry system overview and a touch of stuff that made me “… buddy!” loud when playing.
In the end, all I can say is: yes, over a week and a change, I spent a lot of time in Warring States-era Japan doing a series of emphatic mermista “UUUUUUGH” s, but maybe that happened because something occasionally shows a touch of craftsmanship and brilliance, the stronger your desire to sand off the last corners and edges.
Samurai warrior 5 will be released on July 27th for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and window Pc. The game was verified on PlayStation 4 using a pre-release download code from Koei Tecmo. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect the editorial content, although Vox Media can earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. you find more information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.