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Samurai Warriors: Chronicles Review

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On 07/02/2011 at 07:28 AM by Nick DiMola

It’s not the deepest experience on the 3DS, but it’ll certainly keep you busy for a good long while.

For fans of hack ‘n’ slash games that don’t quickly grow tired of repetitive gameplay.

Last year, I had my first taste of the Samurai Warriors series and was pleasantly surprised by the experience. While heavy on the hack ‘n’ slashing, the game still provided for a bevy of interesting objectives and some frantic pacing as you rush about the level to meet all of the expectations. Not only were the objectives varied, but the experience was dynamic. New objectives were presented each time I went through the level, changing and morphing based on the state of the battlefield. Samurai Warriors: Chronicles falls very much in line with its predecessors, with improved graphical fidelity and a fully-voiced presentation.

Given that Chronicles doesn’t really shake the boat, players familiar with the subseries should know well what they are in for with this one. While all of the Warriors games are similar in design, none have ever felt quite as good to me as the Samurai Warriors subseries, making this a welcome addition to the 3DS library.

Fortunately, the game lends itself well to the portable platform the 3DS provides. Considering the game offers up a variety of scenarios based in Sengoku era Japan that last around fifteen minutes each, it’s easy to pick up the game for just a single scenario before moving on to another real world task.

The 3DS hardware also proves to be the best for the gameplay as well. Players can view the map on the touch screen now, as well as tap the portrait of one of the other warriors on the battlefield to quickly switch to them while in the heat of battle. Given the dedicated location of the map, it’s now far more descriptive and useful, making it much easier to navigate the level and perform all of the scattered objectives.

While the Wii provided for some questionable visuals in Samurai Warriors 3, the game looks great on the 3DS, complete with crisp and clear character models that have plenty of detail. While the 3D effect doesn’t add much to the gameplay, it is nice to look at and it definitely adds a layer of detail not previously present. The game is also fully-voiced, which adds just a bit more to the presentation. It’s clear that the game couldn’t be pulled off this deftly with Nintendo’s previous handheld device.

Many of the camera problems I encountered in Samurai Warriors 3 have been alleviated here, making the overall experience extremely smooth and enjoyable. The circle pad and general 3DS button layout was perfectly suited for the gameplay, making it easy to constantly combo enemies and pull off the stronger special “musou” attacks.

While it can be enjoyable to dispatch enemies in spurts, long play sessions of Chronicles will grow tiring – just like any preceding Warriors titles. Frankly, the 3DS iteration of this series excels in making the series portable and refining the core concepts into one of the best Warriors games to date.

If you’ve enjoyed Warriors games in the past, you’re sure to love Samurai Warriors: Chronicles. It’s clearly the most polished of the group, thanks to refinements to all portions of the experience and the capabilities of the 3DS hardware. While I lament the lack of co-op play, Chronicles does a surprisingly great job of making the experience enjoyable even for a single player.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

07/02/2011 at 04:06 PM

Good and fair review Nick. Glad that you actually gave this game a fair shake rather than give it a low score and say that the formula hasn't changed and consequently give it a low score and be done with it.

I actually tend to enjoy the Samurai Warriors, Gundam Warriors, and Sengoku Basara versions over Dynasty Warriors for some reason but I enjoy them for the most part. I think these games like the Mystery Dungeon games have an "acquired taste" to them, and I can see why someone wouldn't like Samurai Warriors or Mystery Dungeon based games.

Joaquim Mira Media Manager

07/02/2011 at 06:36 PM

Lukasz better not watch IGN's video review for Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3, nor read the review. This is from IGN's review:

"After your Gundam is perfect you take it into the battlefield and press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X press X..."


Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

07/03/2011 at 11:18 AM

Oh I do know about IGN's review of these games.

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