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Samurai Warriors 3 review

Slash and burn your way through Japanese history

If the devil in Monster Hunter Tri's detail was an anal retentive so-and-so, the little voice in the back of Samurai Warrior 3's head is going "kill... kill... kill..." relentlessly and endlessly. Another of Nintendo's projects, the company is co-publishing Samurai Warriors 3 over here, just as it did with Monster Hunter Tri. And like Monster Hunter, the Samurai Warriors series is more popular than breathing in Japan.

To be truthful, it's not hard to fathom Samurai Warriors 3. Equipment can be fiddled with and item lists shuffled, but when you step onto the battlefield your job is to press A as quickly as you can, for as long as you can.

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In the magazine's preview last year we mentioned the spectre of repetitive strain injury, and that's very much the case. This review is being dictated aloud to a willing typist - it was that or use our feet, for our hands are bandaged up after hours of furious Remote thrashing.

The main story mode has you selecting a character and leaping into a series of sprawling battles, all taking place in the Warring States era of Japanese history. Here's the first major obstacle to us lot getting it: all that talk of samurai, honour codes, slicing and dicing goes over most of our heads. Perhaps if the game was transported into the setting of the English Civil war (mud, rain, revolutionaries with warts and bad teeth) we might have more of a connection with it, though however you look at it big swords and severed limbs needs little translation. Perhaps if there was more to do in the game besides churn through a seething mass of human flesh, the question of whether we 'get' it wouldn't matter.

There are three types of attack. A handles the standard, sword-flailing attack, where the faster you pummel the button the faster the blade whirls. Down on the D-pad launches a Power Attack - a good one for when you get sucked into the middle of a throng because it whacks the enemy directly in front of you before sending out an energy ball which rips through onlookers. Most powerful is the Musou Attack, activated by squeezing B when your Musou gauge is full. Your samurai then spouts a load of garbage about destiny being fulfilled and duly goes berserk.

Horsing Around

Then there are the smaller, supplementary attacks. The Spirit Attack, with a press of the - button, calls upon your fighter's unique spirit self to chop up soldiers. And then the Charge Attack makes you shoulder barge a brutal furrow through the battle field.

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After getting an overview of the battle map, you're into the action. It all moves very well, with gangs and platoons running here and there depending on where the hotspots are. You have a main objective, which is usually chopping a mad general into pieces; secondary objectives, where you wipe out lieutenants and fortify strongholds; and tactical bonuses where you're rewarded with new stuff if you defeat an enemy according to certain conditions, like only using a Musou attack.

Yet despite the various means of amputation, it soon becomes clear that this is all you'll be doing, whether in the straight story mode, or in any other. Really its appeal is directly linked to just how bad a day you've had, and how many enemies you feel you need to smash.

Polished, good looking and suitably grand in scale, it's hard to shake the sense that Samurai Warriors 3 is a shallow experience.

Comments

12 comments so far...
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  1. NEO.BAHAMUT Wednesday 26th May 2010 at 21:39

    Can't wait for this game to be honest! Such a shame that ONM gave it a low score though...

  2. Eternal Darkness Wednesday 26th May 2010 at 23:11

    Can't wait for this game to be honest! Such a shame that ONM gave it a low score though...

    Low score? It's average, like all Samurai Warrior games.

    I'll get this when I can. But so many more games come first. I always pick up the Samurai Warrior games, even though they are mediocre.

  3. Violet Wednesday 26th May 2010 at 23:52

    There's no mention is this review, or the magazine, about the Takamaru sections that Miyamoto promoted when the game was released in Japan. I wanted to know if they were any good.

  4. BOWIEtheHERO Thursday 27th May 2010 at 03:57

    I'll be honest, a couple years back when I first found out that Koei's "Warriors" games were critically hated, I was shocked. I've sunk months, I repeat, MONTHS of my life maxing out characters on Dynasty 2, 3, 4, and 5... I've only played Samurai 1. Oh, and that CRAP 'Katana' on the wii already. Glad to see it return to what I love. Mindless slaughteration of countless ninjas.

  5. Drig786 Thursday 27th May 2010 at 10:59

    it is a Decent score but the game is way better then that =3, i played this series and dynasty warriors series since PS2 and i will be picking this up =D

    i wonder if they will be making more of it like Empires, Xtreme legends =S if they are i would wait for those instead

  6. Kiran145 Thursday 27th May 2010 at 17:26

    ONM are so Anti-Hardcore it disgusts me. Maybe it is a slight bit repetitive but 61%? It seems that ONM have a hatred for anything Hardcore...

    I'm sure, if this game was titled '' Mario Warriors '' we would be seeing a 95% and a gold award...

    Just because a few other mainstream reviewers are giving this game mediocre scores that does not mean you have to...

    Do you feel pressured into it? Or do you want to destroy the development of hardcore games for the Wii?

  7. Oxo64 Thursday 27th May 2010 at 19:31

    I wasn't expecting the ONM guys to give this game much credit, but you have to admit, the Warriors games haven't changed a whole lot since...well...ever.
    They are still underated in my opinion. Saying you "just smash the same button over and over" doesn't do the battle system justice. It's way deeper than a lot of games I've played, Muramasa for example (which is a totaly wicked-awsome game).
    Heres hoping for Xtreame Legends: Samurai Warriors 3!

    Oh and guys, if your fingers hurt after playing this, you're doing somthing seriously wrong!

  8. NEO.BAHAMUT Thursday 27th May 2010 at 22:05

    Can't wait for this game to be honest! Such a shame that ONM gave it a low score though...

    Low score? It's average, like all Samurai Warrior games.

    I'll get this when I can. But so many more games come first. I always pick up the Samurai Warrior games, even though they are mediocre.

    It is a low score, this game deserves 75%-85% in my opinion.

    I'm sure, if this game was titled '' Mario Warriors '' we would be seeing a 95% and a gold award...

    The weird thing is that you are most likely right about that.

  9. sedativegod Saturday 29th May 2010 at 08:07

    ONM are so Anti-Hardcore it disgusts me. Maybe it is a slight bit repetitive but 61%? It seems that ONM have a hatred for anything Hardcore...

    I'm sure, if this game was titled '' Mario Warriors '' we would be seeing a 95% and a gold award...

    Just because a few other mainstream reviewers are giving this game mediocre scores that does not mean you have to...

    Do you feel pressured into it? Or do you want to destroy the development of hardcore games for the Wii?


    or it could just be that the game is mindlessly repetitive and dull?
    if all you do is hack and slash with only the use of 3 buttons i can imagine it gets pretty boring

  10. Kiran145 Saturday 29th May 2010 at 09:29

    ONM are so Anti-Hardcore it disgusts me. Maybe it is a slight bit repetitive but 61%? It seems that ONM have a hatred for anything Hardcore...

    I'm sure, if this game was titled '' Mario Warriors '' we would be seeing a 95% and a gold award...

    Just because a few other mainstream reviewers are giving this game mediocre scores that does not mean you have to...

    Do you feel pressured into it? Or do you want to destroy the development of hardcore games for the Wii?


    or it could just be that the game is mindlessly repetitive and dull?
    if all you do is hack and slash with only the use of 3 buttons i can imagine it gets pretty boring

    Fairrrr enough, but they barely mentioned the character creation OR the new Muramase castle mode...

  11. Nelsonator15 Tuesday 1st Jun 2010 at 22:45

    I probably won't get this since I still own Dynasty Warriors 5 (as well as Empires and Xtreme Legends) on PS2 and I can safely assume that this is just like that. Mashing the buttons on a Playstation controller isn't so bad, but I can imagine mashing buttons on a Wii remote being slightly painful, judging by the 'catwalk' wall-climbing sections in Okami.

    But as long as the 'Warriors games sell by the truckload in Japan Koei won't bother to change them. If they did then chances are they could lose a lot of their Japanese fanbase (which is where about 95% of their money is :) ) only to satisfy a few of us in the West, resulting in a massive loss for Koei.

    But there'll always be a few of us (me included) who enjoy them anyway. :)

  12. Eternal Darkness Sunday 13th Jun 2010 at 18:34

    I'm getting this game after I get No More Heroes 2, Super Mario Galaxy 2 (even though I hate Mario, but if it's as good as it's suppose to be then I can't miss it).

    Critic's have always hated Koei for some reason but I love their games and their repetitive button bashing, but if you just button bash you would die =|
    Also if your fingers hurt after this, then you need help.

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