I didn’t think I’d be playing another installment of the Samurai Warriors series seven years later. Samurai Warriors 5 is a reboot of the first game’s story. Samurai Warriors 5 is a high-action Sengoku Era hack and slash drama retold from 2 different perspectives that highlights Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi. It is available on the Nintendo Switch, PC (Steam), Playstation 4, and Xbox One. This review is primarily based on gameplay from the PlayStation 4 version of Samurai Warriors 5.
The narrative in Samurai Warriors 5 covers stories that were not covered previously in the series such as Nobunaga’s younger years and includes events such as the Incident at Honnōji for the first time. Focusing solely on the Sengoku period, spanning from the end of the Ōnin War to the Incident at Honnōji. Even though I naturally enjoy games that are historical, Samurai Warriors 5 retells the Sengoku period in a way that makes each cutscene feel as if I were watching a dramatic series or a historical Japanese-drama. With Samurai Warriors5’s new vibrant artwork, players get to see how the stories of Nobunaga and Mitsuhide intertwine with one another.
My Castle is the starting point to progress through the Musou Mode of Samurai Warriors 5. Players can use buildings such as the Blacksmith and Dojo to strengthen their warriors and weapons. There is also a shop to purchase items from. In the main mode, Musou Mode, each chapter has a set of main missions and character/side missions you can play through. As with every other musou title, players must complete each main mission by successfully fulfilling the objectives that pop up throughout the battle to push invading enemies back over time.
There is also a sub-mode called Citadel mode. Citadel mode requires players to protect their base by defeating or defending it against invading enemies. Each mission in Citadel mode gives the player a score based on how quickly the battle is finished. While the Musou Mode focuses on items, Citadel mode focuses on the troops. The troops you summon unleash an attack on invading enemies and remain at various locations to help players defend the base. Citadel mode also features friendship levels between characters that increase each time they take part in battle together. If a friendship level is maxed out, players are able to unlock and view special scenes that are not featured in Hermit’s Retreat in the Musou Mode.
Samurai Warriors 5 also contains a gameplay that is compelling. While it doesn’t add on anything new to the musou genre, it is a polished musou title that is enjoyable even with the looped hack and slash gameplay. I made sure to prepare myself before each mission to face up against thousands of enemies. I particularly loved the new addition of Ultimate Skills to the gameplay. If you’re familiar with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4, Samurai Warriors 5’s new system of Ultimate Skills allows you to equip new abilities that can be used in combat that recharge for a short period of time after each use. Ultimate Skills are split into four types: Avalanche, Recuperation, Relentless Store, and Pulse. Throughout my playthrough I equipped Ultimate Skills, depending on my warrior’s weapon type, that helped give me an advantage against tough enemies and extended my rush of chained combos along with different stat boosts. This new addition to the combat improved the gameplay experience and made the combat loop enjoyable.
Samurai Warriors 5 offers 30+ playable characters. I enjoyed the 20 characters I unlocked. While new players may fear a “clone” issue and the possibility of redundancy, there is some variety with the roster of characters thanks to the new ultimate skills ability system. Each character also has their own distinct combos depending on their weapon type. For older players to the series, like myself, you might find that the cut in the character roster and the 16 movesets to be a bit…lacking. However, these changes work well with the new narrative direction.
I did not experience any game breaking bugs in my playthrough of Samurai Warriors 5. However, I did experience some issue with frame drops after extended hours of gameplay (over about 5-6 hours of ongoing gameplay). As with other musou titles, loading screens can be lengthy due to the thousands of enemies spawning onto the field ready to take up arms in battle. If you’re new generation consoles such as the Xbox Series X/S or PlayStation 5, you won’t have to worry about the length of the loading screens. After comparing the loading times between my PlayStation 4 Pro and Playstation 5, I found the load times to less than a minute on the Playstation 5 versus the 5-7 minutes on my PlayStation 4 Pro.
The new visuals inspired by traditional Japanese art compliments the dramatic retelling of the first Samurai Warriors’story. Samurai Warriors 5 is filled with vibrant Japanese ink painting and cel-shaded art styles that unravel the stories of Nobunaga and Mitsuhide like a Japanese picture scroll. I was especially caught up in the soundtrack for Samurai Warriors 5 as it deviates from the original combination of traditional Japanese instruments and electronic music in previous titles. Samurai Warriors 5’s soundtrack combines the sounds of traditional Japanese music with orchestral and rock music, reminiscent of soundtracks you would hear in anime series such as One Piece or Naruto.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough of Samurai Warriors 5, I can’t say that it is worth the $60 asking price. If you’re a fan of the series, I know how it feels to not care about the asking price. However, if you enjoy musou titles or an in-depth story based on true history and can hold out for a sale, I recommend picking up Samurai Warriors 5 to add to your catalog. Especially for anyone who may be new to the series and might have avoided the Samurai Warriors series. Although this entry doesn’t add on many new features to its gameplay from its previous title, Samurai Warriors 5 is a fun and vibrant hack and slash drama.
Samurai Warriors 5 Review
Samurai Warriors 5 Review
A stylish hack and slash drama that retells the rise and fall of Nobunaga Oda.