Samurai Warriors 5 is the musou that I liked the most of all the ones that Omega Force has made, anime licenses included. It is a video game full of energy, good stories and powerful characters that manage to give meaning, coherence and vitality to their traditional mass fights
I’ve been playing musous since Playstation 2. My whole life beating thousands of enemies while going through stages, leveling up and unlocking new characters. Except for minor variations, this has always been the case. But both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series, the former set in China and the latter in Japan, eventually stalled. After its hilarious first installments, it seemed that Omega Force no longer had anything to offer except repeat the same patterns and again. Luckily, anime licenses came to the rescue of their productions. That gave the musou a second life creating many very enjoyable ones. Those inspired by Berserk, Attack on Titan or One Piece I especially liked. However, the main and original chapters of the saga seemed that they did not quite know how to renew themselves. Samurai Warriors 5 change that situation for the better. Omega Force has been able to take advantage of the influence of Luffy and his nakamas, Mikasa and Eren, and even Guts, to understand that it is necessary to provide an energetic, lively and passionate context so that all those massive battles work better. That is, the musou it has to be pure shonen. And here it is.
For those of you who do not know what shonen means, it is a term used to refer to manga and anime aimed at young male adolescents. Its characteristics include having a character full of dreams, a lot of passion and energy. If you think of Naruto, for example, you will understand what I am referring to. The grace of Samurai Warriors 5 is having known how to become a shonen both during its fights, its scenes of pure narration, its menus, talks and in its presentation. And it does it so well that although we continue to crush enemies and clone enemies, without much intelligence and running like headless chickens across the stage, make you want to do it, that you want to meet their commanders, get along better with your friends, recruit new warriors, level them up and keep fighting. That is, Samurai Warriors 5 does not get rid of the common characteristics of the musou that many abhor, but reinforces them, boasts of them and makes sense of them. And this seemed impossible.
There are two game modes that we will alternate between: Musou and CitadelFor starters, Samurai Warriors 5 has a fantastic art design. His characters are made with thick ink strokes, they are very different from each other, they are very detailed and well written. This good taste is also in his menus, in his enemies and in the direction of his cutscenes. Samurai Warriors 5 is loaded with animated scenes full of oaths, promises, sacrifices, blood and sweat. And everything has a tacky point (said in the best of senses) and over-acting that suits everything very well; but not only that. During the missions in which we continue advancing through fortresses fulfilling tasks, the characters do not stop talking. Friends die, betrayals and new alliances ensue, and when you encounter a significant boss, cutscenes are introduced during the actual combat that present the rival. Who was going to tell the musou that through a lively narrative construction he was going to find his maturity. This was already done in part by Samurai Warriors 4, but here everything is much better. There are two game modes that we will alternate between: Musou, divided into chapters and where the toughest challenges are, and Citadel. In this second we will have to do smaller missions, get materials, improve our heroes and make our buildings grow. Throughout the game we will alternate between one and the other, which adds a bit of grateful variety.
A slightly more difficult fight that is appreciated
But all this would not make sense if the fights were not something more complicated to solve. This was the first time I have been killed more than once in a musou. There are common enemies that need to be eliminated with special abilities or they will not be defeated, musicians who encourage rival troops and that we must eliminate first, archers who make it impossible to finish a commander if we do not kill them first, leaders who have to be killed or rank and file soldiers will not stop appearing … That is, there are a number of variables in the fights that order them and they force you to be strategic. Now, when you get to an area, you have to check where all these troops are before you get to crush your target. If you do not, you will lose a lot of life and you will not be able to advance well. Many of the commanders you have to crush will make you stop and play defense, wait for them to attack and block them in order to place your combo; especially the alternate bosses hidden on stage who are especially tough. We have a skill wheel that activates both passives and special attacks. With them we can cut off their most powerful attacks. If we are not attentive, they will leave us stunned and their hosts will do the rest.
Samurai Warriors 5 himself begins by advising that you better play in easy mode, because in normal it is not as simple as other installments; but it is that being a little more complicated feels great, so play normal. To finish off these good feelings, there is cooperative mode, double special attacks, there is enough differentiation between playable characters and many hours of play both in the different plot lines of its campaign mode and in a way in which we can do missions more freely, strengthen the bonds between friends, optimize our barracks, horses, etc. In total, you can play more than 25 hours and still You will have things to do and phases in which to improve your rank. All of this is not to say that the game is perfect or that Samurai Warriors 5 has reached the zenith of the franchise. This bombastic presentation comes in exchange for reasonable performance drops during cutscenes and combat, and enemies that only appear when we are close to them; and that I have analyzed the game playing with a 3060 on PC. The enemy AI is still ridiculous, there are clone warriors to handle, there are some very unbalanced and when you play for several hours in a row there is no shonen that takes away the feeling of repetition. And the game comes with english texts, which is a tremendous shame.
Maintains the main lines of the previous game but with a better artistic direction, tone and combatFeaturing 27 main and 10 support characters, a very fun main mode told through the perspectives of Nobunaga Oda, Mitsuhide Akechi and their friends, and the Citadel mode for doing side quests, collecting materials, improving your castle and reinforcing the affinities between characters, local and online cooperative for two players, Samurai Warriors 5 has convinced me. It maintains the main lines of the previous game but with a better artistic direction, tone and combat. He still has problems that many will not forgive, but he has found a very funny balance between a shonen energy I needed and its usual massive battles. Of course, the game is analyzed on PC, I do not play it because of how this will move on Switch.