Koei Tecmo released their mash-up Warriors/Musou game for a fans of their video game series so you’re free to see characters outside of their comfort zones battle it out in free-roaming hack and slash combat. The biggest draw here aside from familiarity is being able to take Kasumi from Dead or Alive series for example, or Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, even NioH’s William Adams for a spin. This is a Warriors game with a fresh lick of paint and whilst it sticks to the tried and trusted there’s some additional features tossed in for good measure. The bottom line is though, is this worth a punt?
Let’s answer that question first off even if we’ve already perhaps answered that for you already. Fans of Omega Force’s Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors and to a lesser degree Toukiden will find their feet pretty quickly here and jump right in with a nice selection of characters – there are around 30 to mess around with as you progress on the world map unlocking more as you move through the story. Fans should lap up the game and so to purchase or not is a no-brainer. You can see the targeted market here during Koei’s conception of the idea and to be fair, why not. Anyone else though who are fans of specific characters and may want to see them in a new game might be a little overwhelmed. Omega Force’s games are an acquired taste and yet they have been pumping out the same style of games for years now – improving along the way though. However, in this instance it’s not the best starting block to dive into their wares. The recent Samurai Warriors Spirit of Sanada being one game that might be a much more feasible entry point. That said, the gameplay isn’t hard to work out or master.
Your main objectives are to simply move around the open map beating up lesser grunts, gathering enough bravery (this is a new system) in the process to then take on generals and commanders before their leader enters the fray so you can take him or her out too for victory. The higher ranking officers require a certain bravery level before attempting to take them on if you’re to stand a fair chance. So you beat up the grunts, raise bravery level, then take out the sub-bosses, then main boss. That’s a pretty simple way of explaining the gameplay but that’s effectively it. You’ll have side objectives galore to be mindful of, as well as some baby sitting duties of AI companions. There are areas scattered around the battlefield which you can take over for bonuses which aid all of your AI troops. It’s a fun albeit repetitive amount of running at speed to sections on the map and entering powered up modes to rain punishment on large groups of basic AI opponents who often stand around not doing much. The visual element of having large groups of opposition is very much for effect rather than one that befits the gameplay – aside from racking up large combos.
Interestingly, you’re able to choose some allies from the roster of main characters to join you, which in the field means you can team up for specific attacks and even swap out and control them if desired. At the end of each battle there’s a friendship and card system, so the more you use specific friends they become even more useful during battle. There’s also some dialogue bonuses you can unlock in the hub town between bouts for a little light relief. In terms of the story, it’s a bit fantastical which has the Koei Tecmo characters warped into a alternate dimension where they are tasked with helping a faction during a power struggle so they can be returned back. It’s not the deepest of stories but is fun all the same and acts as a break from all the hack and slash fighting.
Warriors appears on PS Vita, PS4 and PC this time which means there’s some smooth gameplay even when there are lots of assets on the screen. The minor details are suitable as are things like lighting and shadows but overall the focus is on the main characters and opposing enemy rather than background detail. The locations themselves which are a mix of dark interiors and outside at various times of day are still somewhat lacking but this is understandable given the numbers of enemies filling the screen. Audio is strictly Japanese here with subtitles being the mainstay of understanding what’s happening. It’s a nice touch that all the original character voice actors are used for authenticity.
In terms of length, there’s enough content here to keep you well entertained with hours easily reaching into double figures. It has to be said this is a single player game only though which is a bit of a shame as co-op could have worked well here.
Warriors All-Stars is a less-serious yet fun offering from Omega Force and one that’s filled with colourful, larger than life characters, plenty of eye candy during combat and even a bit of boob jiggle for those interested in such things. This is a pure fan service game pushing many characters together in an unreal scenario and does what it sets out to do well enough. Whilst there are still some annoyances with gameplay elements being a tad unfair at times especially in relation to protecting AI companions, your map position and the new bravery system, these can be overcome with some learning. If you’re itching for a new hack and slash fix then this ticks all the boxes, but isn’t as good as some of Omega’s other more recent offerings.