Review: Samurai Warriors 4 – Experience The Sengoku Era at its Finest
It’s been four years since the original release of Samurai Warriors 3 exclusively on the Nintendo Wii, and while it wasn’t on a stronger console like the PlayStation 3 (excluding the Japan-only expansion), it was still well received by many fans of the series. Now comes Samurai Warriors 4, the fourth main entry in the Samurai Warriors series, and it’s possibly the best Musou game I played so far among Koei Tecmo’s releases.
Just like the previous titles, Samurai Warriors 4’s story revolves around the Sengoku period of Japan, a period of much military conflict and political warfare where Japan was divided between regions ruled by daimyo that lasted from the middle of the 16th century to the early 17th century. However, as expected the game doesn’t follow the real life events as they happened. For example, Nobuyuki Sanada and his brother, Yukimura, are shown to participate in the Battle of Kawanakajima, even though both of them had not yet been born at that time.
Granted, while the representation of the Sengoku Era isn’t entirely accurate and can be over-exaggerated, some of the historical events are still present. Even if you feel passionate about the historical Sengoku Era, you might still enjoy the different stories for each characters as well as like the character themselves. As a bonus, there are over 50 main characters and over 1,000 named NPCs present in this title, so there’s plenty to enjoy.
Story Mode offers different stories pertaining to different legends of different characters. Depending on the length of each legend, they will vary on the amount of levels available. Multiple characters are playable within each legend, which attempts to keep accurate to the various allegiances and clans. However, some story scenarios are exclusive to certain characters so it’s best to replay a level multiple times.
Additionally in Free Mode, you can play any legend with any character of your choice including your own created character. While it’s nothing special, it’s always nice to be able to play as your favorite characters. It also really helps if you want to level up a specific character, unlock additional weapons or simply add some replayability after you completed the main story mode.
Samurai Warriors 4 can also be enjoyed with a friend locally or online. When playing the game locally, it will work similar to playing in single player but instead the second player is assigned to the second character chosen before the stage. Players lose the ability to switch between characters while working together. To play online is simple: after choosing a level, you will be prompted to join a session or create one, which matches you with someone looking to complete the same level. Unfortunately, while data can be transferred and saved across either PlayStation port of the title, crossplay between the three versions is not available.
Like many Musou titles from, the main goal of the game is to defeat the horde of enemies coming your way while completing the task given during battle. Similar to Samurai Warriors Chronicles, you must select two characters for each battle and can freely switch between them as they fight, which allows for dramatically more engaging gameplay scenarios.
Also as in any Musou game, you will be given two buttons to attack, as well as a Musou attack (essentially an ultimate move). You can enhance your attacks by using Hyper Attack and Rage Attack, which allows the character to perform faster and stronger attacks, respectively. While the gameplay is simplistic, it allows you to create a plethora of combos to defeat your enemies.
The game allows you to set different commands to the NPC as well as your secondary character; these include “do their own thing,” “go to a certain location” or “protect their master.” When not in control, the secondary character is controlled by the AI. When multiple tasks are available, usually the AI gets to the destination point really fast, almost as it was teleported there. It makes things easier to complete, especially when once it reaches the destination, you can take full control. Unfortunately, they can be sometimes useless in some scenarios, such as defeating a horde of enemies blocking their way.
Characters can summon horses for faster travel across the stage, which is always convenient; it’s worth noting that characters have a smoother animation for mounting horses than in previous titles. Many different horses will be available to mount, some of them which you have to unlock. Just like characters, each horse will have different stat which is very important for travel and combat — of course fighting while mounting a horse isn’t the best way to go, but it won’t stop you from defeating the hordes of foes coming your way.
In the game’s Dojo Mode, you can view Event Scenes previously shown during your battles, completed objectives, character biographies and the game’s soundtrack. Most importantly, you can create your own warriors through Dojo Mode. The mode offers different types of customizations such as name, gender, various body type options, armor, weapon of choice, voice, and portrait. You can upload your own images to use as your character’s emblem as well your character portrait. I really enjoyed making different types of characters with the wide variety of options the game offers.
Chronicles Mode is a combination of Mercenary Mode featured in other Warriors titles, as well as traits from the main story mode found in the Chronicle titles. You will be able to choose your allegiance and freely travel between different provinces of the Warring States to complete various requests focusing on the main cast. I honestly love how this mode provided multiple perspectives of the main cast not otherwise seen in Story Mode. Player characters can either befriend or alienate a character of their choice through personal conversations, fighting them in battle, or by traveling with them.
Graphically, the game looks really nice but it isn’t too impressive either, which is to be expected from a Musou game but isn’t distracting enough to disturb you from your killing spree. The level designs in this game are great as well, with a huge emphasis on the dynamic lighting effects as well as the highly polished character models, especially on the PlayStation 4. While the cutscenes in the game are good looking, there isn’t too much of a different between the PlayStation 3 version and current-gen.
Unlike past titles, this game is the only title that has Japanese voice overs. However, the game still offers English menus and subtitles. While this is unfortunate for fans in the West who followed the series for years and familiarized themselves with the English cast, it isn’t exactly a bad thing considering the characters sound more authentic speaking in their native language.
Overall, Samurai Warriors 4 is one of the best Musou titles that Omega Force has made so far. While the game sometimes can get repetitive, especially with the similar objectives, it’s still pretty fun to slay giant groups of enemies coming your way. Playing through this game reminded me why I love the Sengoku Era so much, not to mention that being able to control many of my favorite historical figures in the most epic ways really added to the experience. If you’re an aficionado of the Musou genre or the Sengoku Era in general, then Samurai Warriors 4 is a great title worth picking up.