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Samurai Warriors 3 (Wii) Review

Review for Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Since Samurai Warriors started on the PlayStation 2 in Japan, way back when as a Dynasty Warriors spin off, it quickly went from strength to strength to become part of a prestigious set of titles along with the likes of Monster Hunter and RPGs such as the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series. An iteration (and generation) later, Koei have launched Samurai Warriors 3 on the Wii, moving away from its previous appearances on Sony platforms. Whether this is a smart move or not remains to be seen, but with Nintendo co-partnering the project to push it onto the system, it definitely got the marketing backing. With this sort of support, Samurai Warriors 3 can hardly fail to be a decent title; or can it? Let’s take a look...

As one might expect, the story is cemented in a time period when feudal lords, daimyos and other powerful forces ruled the troubled warring states of Japan. This is all presented through cutscenes and text, but with the complexities that arise due the western language barrier, the majority of it may just fly over players’ heads; all it really boils down to is fights, strongholds and fleeing targets, anyway. Within the story mode, players can take control of over thirty five warriors, with only a select few being available at the start; the rest are unlocked as you play. With each character you’ll come different weapons, moves, speed and technique, ultimately effecting your play styles as you mash through the hoards of enemies on the battlefield. When you are in the story mode, it is your job to help out in the various skirmishes in any way possible; you could be called upon to fortify defences or to take down a sub-boss which is causing your comrades some trouble. Wherever you go however, you will face a constant stream of enemies that must be felled in order to get from A to B which, ultimately, makes it feel like you are the only character that is doing the work of the whole army at once.

Controlling your character is simple, and quite possibly, the main downfall of Samurai Warriors 3. There are three control schemes available in the form of the Classic Controller, GameCube pad, and the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo (thankfully no waggling is required) it would probably cause your arm to drop off in a game such as this. Movement is handled by the analogue sticks, attacking via three buttons. Take the Classic Controller for instance: X causes your character to do a standard attack, Y a stronger attack, both of which can both be chained together to cause some major devastation as well as charging up your Mousu gauge, which once full, will allow you to unleash a grand attack that fills the screen and wipes out anyone in the vicinity with a tap of R. That’s it, in a nutshell: stab at X and Y until the gauge is full, unleash a big attack, repeat. Samurai Warriors 3 seems fun initially, but gets very repetitive very quickly, to the point of giving your thumbs RSI.

Aside from the pain in your hands, you eyes may feel a little stretched too, as Samurai Warriors 3 isn’t the prettiest game to grace the Wii; far from it. Like its controls, the visuals are repetitive. Landscapes are dull and barren with the same identikit houses and farms spread throughout the levels that just give a boring vibe to the title, despite the action. The enemies themselves are very limited, different colours depending on the faction that they are fighting for, but besides the weapons that they carry, there isn’t much to differentiate them aside from end of level bosses.

Screenshot for Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

It’s not all doom and gloom however. The difficulty can be really unforgiving on the harder modes, meaning that you have to dodge, block and time your attacks well to send your enemies sprawling, so if you want more of a challenge from the normal mode, bump up the difficulty and see how fast you get wiped out. There is also an online co-op mode which allows you to play through the missions with a mate (friend codes intact) as well as unlocking weapons, upgrades and the rest of the thirty five characters to offer some longevity to the title.

Overall, Samurai Warriors 3 is just an ‘okay’ title; it’s not particularly memorable other than, possibly, for a slight niggling pain in your right thumb. That’s not to say it’s a bad title, it just has that purely repetitive formula that has a love/hate relationship with many people. If you are into your hack and slash games then look no further than Samurai Warriors, but if you get bored easily or don’t like titles to be a bit on the tedious side, then maybe this game isn’t for you. Koei could have turned this into a stunner of a title with some niggles sorted out, but as it stands, Samurai Warriors 3 just isn’t up to the task.

Screenshot for Samurai Warriors 3 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

It’s full of Japanese enemies that need to be sliced down with the power of the many protagonist’s weapons. However, it quickly becomes very repetitive in nature.

Graphics

The graphics make Samurai Warriors 3 dull and boring. Everything is bland, one wonders where the Wii’s power is going in this title...

Sound

It’s authentic to say the least, the music matches the overall theme of the game and the enemies cries of despair are rather satisfying in nature.

Value

There’s plenty to do and unlock in the form of thirty five characters and various weapon and armour upgrades. Though whether you will get that far entirely depends on whether the players thumb will hold out.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

Samurai Warriors 3 could have been a fantastic game, but there are some serious issues with this title that needed to be ironed out. It’s a hack and slash by nature and nothing else; if you are into that kind of thing then look no further, but if you want some variation in your gaming then broaden your horizons a little. It’s not a bad title, but it’s not a particularly good one either, and it just gets too ‘samey’ too quickly.

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22.08.2010

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Developer

Omega Force

Publisher

Nintendo

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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JoakimZ
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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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Dont know why Nintendo took the liberty of publishing this game outside of Japan, lacks the big N's polish and will no doubt sell miserably

Guest (guest) 23.08.2010 13:02#2

Yet another Musou game criminally misunderstood by a western reviewer. Why do western reviewers let lack of innovation ruin a genuinely fun series?

Michael (guest) 23.08.2010 13:02#3

They published it because of the exclusive deal with Koei Tecmo. Just like how Nintendo published DQ9 overseas to help with the marketing and sales.

Nothankyou (guest) 23.08.2010 13:02#4

Ops, missed that you do mention the objectives etc but I think it doesn't do it enough justice the way it's told there. Not that I said it better either. But yeah levels can be quite involving. And the sound deserves better rating imo, the music is quite lovely and the sound effects what you expect, lots od dialogues too.

Presentation should be noted as well, practical slick menus, great FMV, map screens, etc, shame for the in game visuals.

Nothankyou (guest) 23.08.2010 13:02#5

It doesn't seem that you played this much at all.

It's not mentioned the online mode works super good, yet for some strange reason is limited to the murasame castle mode, which is much more annoying than the normal story levels thanks to the enemy types and automatic indestructible traps and devices that populate the levels. Similarly, split screen mode details aren't shared.

The leveling up of characters and the acquiring and upgrading of equipment (weapons, armor pieces, even horses) systems aren't mentioned, nor the use of items. It gets quite involving later as you don't just look at the main stats like power (which are mostly the same divided in strength, normal, and speed for weapons for example, aside from special unique items found in certain ways) but also what kind of skills and bonuses they allow you to upgrade with crystals found by defeating powerful enemies or completing certain objectives and levels.

Nor that the characters have vastly different abilities, despite the fact the controls remain the same for all of them. Some need to do a full 9-hit combo before the nice strong attack finishers become available, some have very nice moves within just 3 or 4 hits, so they feel quite different as with the former (which feel a bit useless until you level up and get their later combos) you strive to complete a multi-hit combo while trying to hit all the enemies around you that could potentially hit you and stop your combo, making you start from hit 1 all over again, while others work with quicker, smaller combos. They all have their strengths and weaknesses around power, range, their selection of special attacks, how easily taking damage interrupts their combos, etc.

There are quite a few different types of enemies actually. Some just hit you in melees, others use bows or guns, others use bombs that they either throw at you or plant on the ground, ninjas are quick and agile making them the number one cause of interrupted combos, sumo wrestlers are nearly unstoppable if you allow them to start their specials, etc.

In short, I didn't find the selection of normal enemies limited at all, but the bosses were disappointing since they were basically all the playable characters and used the same type of moves you can have, but not as effectively, while those that are tougher seem cheap instead of skilled.

In later (well, as soon as 3-4 in depending on the character's story mode) levels you also need you to be a little bit strategic and quick in completing the objectives, as there are defeat conditions more complex than simply your death, such as allowing a particular enemy officer to reach a certain point, or one of your own generals to die or be unable to reach a different point, etc, so you move around the battlefield trying to complete various victory conditions and at the same time try to defend the defeat conditions.

Oh, and you don't need to kill everyone, that's nearly impossible (levels also have time limits I believe), you just need to be effective. If you need a certain character to not die then you do need to mostly clear a path wherever he attempts to go or if he crosses paths with powerful enemies (not the whole level though), but if no such condition is present, or if you've taken care of it already, you can just focus on attacking the main objectives, not the endless stream of peons. Unless moving forward to a certain position they dont' chase you much after all, they tend to stick close to their post or commander type enemies, which you can dispatch to make the rest retreat.

Some control issues aren't mentioned either. For example, you don't have camera control outside the recenter button with the remote+nunchuck combo, while the classic controller uses the right stick to control the camera but in a weird way that makes it almost useless, unlike other games like for example MHTri. It almost feels like it's bugged here.

As for the graphics, yeah, they're not very good at all, but it does have a lot of enemies on screen, more than Basara 3 from what I've seen of that (either Wii or PS3 versions) and depending on the character used it's very satisfying to kill or make a bunch of them fly off every few hits. Definitely most enemies in a Wii game. Some levels are nice looking with both fields and a few decent structures too, and at least there are theme changes.

There's also a lot of unlockable content. Special items to find, new playable characters, making custom characters for use in certain modes, unlocking the weapon type of the main characters for use in custom made characters, making the main characters' appearance customisable, etc.

The story FMVs are quite nice too, and there seem to be plenty given all the characters have their own story mode (though there's a lot of overlap in the stories, obviously, and some FMV repeats).

Some of your writing is off too. You mention there's no waggle in a parenthesis, but the effects waggle would have had outside that parenthesis.

Ok, typed too much already, you get the idea. I'd rate the game a 6/10 mostly due to practical issues for the average gamer and possibly as high as 8/10 for fans of this type of game. There's a lot of content and the game's not quite as shallow as it seems to be initially, while there's a lot of satisfaction to be had in the slaying of whole armies. Most will probably enjoy it more than they think they will though, especially if they're like me and haven't touched a Warriors game since the PS2 days, thinking they're all stale repetitive crap since then, which is probably true, but doesn't make it less fun strangely enough.

Bill (guest) 27.09.2010 12:19#6

I'm glad to see in the comments section that some people understand the game. It's been out in Australia for months now, and I've logged around 60 hours on the game, and I can honestly say it's the most entertaining thing I've played on the Wii to date.

Admittedly I am a KT fan, but nonetheless, this review misses the grand history and genuine thrill of this game in epic fashion.

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