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Samurai Warriors: Chronicles (Nintendo 3DS) Review

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

One original title which many people - and game stores, for that matter - have glossed over in the launch of Nintendo 3DS is Samurai Warriors: Chronicles from Tecmo Koei, spawned from the Dynasty Warriors series that has seen much popularity around the world. Late last year Samurai Warriors 3 launched on the Wii but didn’t do brilliantly, so it’s great to see the company taking another stab at the franchise on the 3DS. The question is, however, is it better than its Wii brethren? Let’s take on a few armies and find out...

As the name suggests, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles takes place in Ye Olde Japan, the late 1400s to the early 1500s where Japan was divided by feudal lords, daimyos and various other factions. At the start, you chose between a male or female character, a supposed wanderer and hardened battle veteran, and go in search of someone to be your battle master; or, more precisely, someone who shares similar views as you. To this end, the story kicks off a couple of hours in, once you have aligned yourself with the Oda clan, who seek to unite all the various lords of Japan and ultimately bring long-needed peace. The journey isn’t clear cut, though: there are deaths, betrayals and natural disasters that change the shape of the battlefield and the re-shaped land.

Players familiar with the Samurai Warriors series will be pleased to see the return of all the familiar faces, all playable. How they are playable separates it from the rest of the series entirely, though; previously you would pick one of the warriors and play through each of their painfully similar storylines. Here, you have your main character who you develop throughout the game’s story, but during each battle you can choose between three other generals - to bring your total up to four characters - at any time by simply tapping their icons, which are strategically placed around on the touch-screen’s map. This may not seem like much, but it improves the fluidity of the gameplay phenomenally. You will be given several missions at once, which you have to complete in order to lower the opposing forces’ moral before taking out their head honcho. However, the reason the fast and frequent missions work is because you have four characters on the battlefield and can therefore meet the requirements of each one instead of having to run around the areas constantly with one character, meaning you can focus more on the action, the difficulty of which can be very unforgiving on normal mode or higher.

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

Though the new format goes alleviates some of the series’ traditionally repetitive nature, missions can still feel monotonous on occasion: go here, take out this dude, stop these people meeting, escort these guys, repeat. The same can be said of the combat; whilst being able to switch characters on the fly keeps the combat fresh, there does just feel like an endless amount of enemies, although you can run between objectives fairly easily without being obliged to kill them all.

Each character adds variety to Samurai Warriors: Chronicles; even though you are essentially mashing the face buttons in order to wade through waves of enemies, each one brings something different to the table. Some are better at range, whilst others are good at getting elbow deep into the action. Attacking is handled by the Y and X buttons, and the characters have slightly different combos, though the main changes occur within the elaborate Mosou combos that deal massive amounts of damage to large groups of enemies at once - and make for pretty nice eye candy, too. Within between-fight sections your character can build up relationships with others to make them more favourable to you, in turn getting buffed up for combat with pretty sweet combined combos, and there is a lot of character development, all of the interludes between fights fully voice acted. Western gamers may feel slightly alienated, though, especially if they are not used to Japanese culture, as said voice acting is all in Japanese and everything is subtitled. It can get a little confusing following who’s who through the subtleties of the story.

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

One of the main concerns for Samurai Warriors: Chronicles was the amount of enemies that would be shown on 3DS’ screen at once. Fortunately, it doesn’t let the side down in that respect either. The main characters’ models look magnificent as they are gesticulating, especially with the 3D on, and each of their personalities shine through. There are many varied enemies at screen at any one time, though they do have a habit of popping into existence as you swap between characters, and they also look fairly decent considering the amount on screen; not too far off, if not on par with, Wii’s Samurai Warriors 3. The graphics overall don’t look too bad, with areas widely varied between regions of Japan. One mission will have you storming a fort, whilst others will see you taking out a stronghold in the snowy mountains. One gripe, however, is that the areas themselves do seem to suffer from being made with one overall colour base, so whilst it looks different, areas look mottled with the same colour, which can make them look bland on occasion; many feel quite similar. That said, the cut-scenes are absolutely gorgeous, each one in 3D and showing off both depth and aural clarity to suit the needs. The varied soundtrack suits the situations perfectly.

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

In StreetPass, you have the ability to create a squad, much like Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition, to take on other opponents when the console is in your pocket; from here you are able to swap weapons and items to further your character in the single player. However, despite playing the game since 3DS’ launch, this game’s StreetPass functionality has not been tested for this review, as nobody with Samurai Warrior: Chronicles StreetPass data was encountered during the course of writing.

There are also several SpotPass updates due which have been released in Japan, adding extra chapters to the Gaiden mode, separate from the story, to add some longevity. There have been rumours of DLC which adds multiplayer to the title as well, but whether this comes to fruition remains to be seen.

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


A fair amount of variety and lots of missions to cover, though they can be slightly repetitive. Loads of enemies to dispatch and a decent, if occasionally confusing, storyline with lots of characters to mess about with.


Really impressive character models throughout, the areas are very diverse and the cut-scenes are absolutely gorgeous, all pulled off in stunning 3D.


Some really nice tunes that set the pace of the game nicely, at just the right times. Occasionally a little repetitive but there is plenty of variety. It’s all very 'traditional Japanese'.


The main game will take you around 12 hours to complete on a normal difficulty. Add to that the extra Gaiden chapters as well as - hopefully - the added DLC when it heads to the rest of the world, and you have a rather fulfilling title that could potentially last a very long time.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

It’s mystifying that Samurai Warriors: Chronicles hasn’t been endorsed by more stores, because it is a surprisingly strong title, trumping the quality of the Wii version by quite a long shot. There’s plenty to see and do, as well as a good story. Even though it can get slightly repetitive at times, the ability to switch up characters whenever you want soon sees to that problem, and removes some of the tedium from past games in the series. If you are looking for a game from the 3DS launch line-up that will last you for a fair amount of time, and give your hack and slash thumbs a work out, look no further than Samurai Warriors: Chronicles.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

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

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Staff Member

I really like that you've taken your time with this review and not said it's "Just another hack 'n slash"

I thought I'd take a chance, with it being my first Samurai Warriors game. (Apart from playing Samurai Warriors 2 once on PS2) I'm absolutely loving it and I'm glad I purchased it.

Nice review Calum. Smilie

( Edited 07.04.2011 03:49 by Mush123 )

Staff Member

I might get it at some point but I'm just recovering financially from the madness that was March. Smilie Then there's E3 coming up too and who knows how many games Nintendo are going to pull out of their sleeves this time. If it's anything like last year, I have to start saving now already. Smilie

There are quite some parts that sound very interesting. I like the Hack and Slash genre, even if it gets repetitive. I've played through No More Heroes three times in a row completing it with 100% and No More Heroes 2 four times in a row completing it with 100% which really says a lot. Smilie Japanese voice acting is one BIG plus for me, I like that DLC is coming and I really dig high difficulty in games like this.

I'll wait and see for now. There's no way I'm buying this for the €50 Amazon has it for right now, so hopefully it'll drop in price in the coming weeks leading up to E3.

( Edited 07.04.2011 17:42 by SirLink )


Awesome review, Callum. It seems like Dynasty Worriers, what with loads of enemies to kill, and the players and weapons look like they have a Dynasty Worriers feel to it. I might consider getting this, looks cool.

SuperYoshi6 PSN name
3DS friend code 2878-9581-8999
Staff Member

Super Sonic said:
Awesome review, Callum. It seems like Dynasty Worriers, what with loads of enemies to kill, and the players and weapons look like they have a Dynasty Worriers feel to it. I might consider getting this, looks cool.

It's a spinoff of DW, if you didn't know that. Smilie

This is my first 3DS game. I love Dynasty warriors, I love SW too, so I love SWC

Eat & Play

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