A Newcomer’s First Impressions Of Samurai Warriors 5

Koei Tecmo has released the latest entry to developer Omega Force’s long-running Musou series, Samurai Warriors 5. This title is interesting as Samurai Warriors has been long dormant since 2013.

The Musou games have their hits (this year’s Persona 5 Strikers seems favourable by critics and fans) and misses (let’s not talk about Dynasty Warriors 9). But as someone who never touched these games until recently, my perception of them is that they are good “junk food” games. It looks like silly fun but may not be as polished or as hold up to the high standards people put AAA games on.

So after jumping into Samurai Warriors 5, and the Musou games series, for the first time, have my opinions changed? Slightly. After about 10 hours or so trying this game out, it is much better than I expected.

Was It Always Anime?

For Samurai Warriors 5, the tales of the Sengoku Jidai is retold again. But now the game took on a new artstyle with redesigned characters.

How did Nobunaga Oda become your typical no-nonsense and dense shonen character? And they pair him up with the cool and aloof figure of Akechi Mitsuhide because that’s what you do in a shonen story. And the big boy that was Tokugawa Ieyasu is your young, quiet, pretty boy in the cast. I’ve also played too many Yakuza games that I cannot unsee Hattori Hanzō as “Ninja Kiryu”.

If anything, the redesign of these larger-than-life figures of Feudal Japan from the previous entries is for the better. I’m more invested with the more diverse-looking casts rather than just seeing way too many grizzly old men in the character roster.

There are few female characters too for those looking for waifus.

10,000-Hit Combo Therapy

The main appeal of the Musou games is just ridiculously overpowered you are as an officer on the battlefield, compared to the many mooks that surround the map.

And yes, I’m happy to report that juggling twenty or so enemies in the air in a flurry of non-stop hits so that you can reach the next crowd without breaking your 10,000-hit combo is actually fun. It’s brain-dead easy, sure, but there is some little nuance that you need to keep track of that will stop you from simply Unga-Bunga-ing your way to victory.

The customisable Ultimate Skills you can pop, the strong and flashy Musou attacks and the new-for-this-game Hyper Attacks are all fun to use. Mash those buttons away and see big damage.

When you are in the zone, combat feels therapeutic and is as satisfying as mowing down a field of tall grass with a machete. I mean, the enemies barely move and attack in most cases, they might as well just be tall grass.

But there are enough occasions where your Hyper Attacks, which is basically the endless combo button that lets you surf through the crowd in a barrage of attacks, gets nullified. Switch to an Ultimate Attack for those, and then resume your ridiculous combo number.

I have been playing a lot of PSO2 as of recently, so I’m more than familiar with action games where you feel good and overly powerful with each button press, which is why I believe I’m enjoying the combat of Samurai Warriors 5 a lot more than expected. Your mileage may vary.

Also, I have a sneaking suspicion that Omega Force’s experience of making different Musou games have been for the better. If you pull off a Musou Attack while you have spirit meter on, the attacks are flashier and your chosen hero strikes a pose so hard the game screen flashes into a still artwork, ala Persona 5. Or I could be wrong and haven’t delved deep enough into this rabbit hole yet.

And also, I can’t believe I have never been exposed to the soundtrack. The mix of rock, electrical and traditional Japanese orchestra is now living in my head rent-free for at least a week after this.

Is It Worth It?

If you’re a newcomer like me, who somehow only recently got exposed to the Musou series recently, is it worth jumping into Samurai Warriors 5 as your first game?

My answer is yes, with an asterisk. Samurai Warriors 5 require no prior story knowledge (if you know your medieval Japan history you probably can make educated guesses where the plot goes). And it’s easy enough to pick up and play. There’s a lot of content to go through from the looks of it, but if you like that core gameplay, you should just get Samurai Warriors 5 as your first Musou game.

The asterisk in question, however, is in its price. In Malaysia, Samurai Warriors 5 is priced at RM292, both on PS Store Asia and Steam. It’s good that both platforms are consistently priced, but they are consistently too much.

For context, a $60 USD release typically translates to RM249 (more or less) in Malaysia. With the new $70 USD standard price starting to creep in on new releases, that pricepoint currently equals RM299 over here.

RM292 is a big ask if you’re not a big fan of the series. Thankfully, there’s a demo available on both platforms (as well as on Nintendo Switch) so you can at least get a sampler of Samurai Warriors 5 and see if it’s worth that much to you. Make sure to download the correct language version for PlayStation players.

We will have a complete review of Samurai Warriors 5 soon, so stay tuned.

Played on PC. Review code provided by Koei Tecmo

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