Samurai Warriors: Chronicles

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2011-04-06


Developer: Omega Force Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Release Date: March 27, 2011 Available On: 3DS

The launch of the Nintendo 3DS has brought us a ton of ports, both of new games (Super Street Fighter IV) and old games (Rayman). Tecmo Koei brings us something refreshing: a title designed specifically for the 3DS. Do not get me wrong, the Samurai Warriors/Dynasty Warriors franchises are well represented on both consoles and handhelds. Itís just nice to know that someone actually bothered to develop an original game.

You start off by selecting between a male and a female character. Once you name him or her, you go into battle as a warrior without an allegiance. Set in feudal Japan, one battle you will combat a legendary figure, while a few battles later you will join him against someone else. The story is hard to follow due to the similarity in names of the characters, so unless you know your Japanese history, expect to lose interest in the storytelling pretty fast.

The story, of course, is not the focus of Samurai Warriors: Chronicles. The developers at Omega Force bring Samurai Warriorís combat into the 3D era of gaming. Like most games on the 3DS so far, the fact that the game is in 3D does not give it any real edge in how the game plays. The 3D does not pop out at you like I expected, but it does do a good job of providing a sense of depth in the battlefield.

The graphics overall are a mixed bag with large levels and tons of enemies, sometimes as many as thirty on the screen at once, but the character models can look muddy. Some enemies barely seem to have faces. The game redeems itself with attention to detail in clothing and other lesser areas, such as the few cut-scenes that are in the game and snazzy visuals from using a power-up.

The game throws a number of missions at you relatively quickly. There really is not much downtime between missions for you to explore, which I imagine was intentionally done because it is a handheld title. A morale bar shows which side is winning the battle. You are not required to complete a mission, although you are punished by losing morale if you fail in one. Failing multiple missions will result in low morale and eventually loss of the level. Of course if one of the main characters dies or objectives such as a fort fails to the enemy, you also will lose the level.

Gameplay is fun and challenging yet gets repetitive after a while. You have a basic attack with Y, a combo attack with Y multiple times and then X, you can charge your weapon with R, and unleash a devastating attack with A when your meter fills at the top of the screen. The bottom screen allows you to switch between the four main characters in any given battle. When you are not playing as them they are computer controlled, although you can give them battle instructions in the gameís menu.

Truthfully, the more you play, the more grating the combat becomes. The average soldiers that you encounter take very little damage before they die. Commanders are more of a challenge, but each battle is more or less the same. The main difference is with the weapon that you use, which is dependent on the character that is selected. Thankfully you get to play as a wide variety of colorful characters that have everything from swords and pikes to weapons that appear more like a double hammer.

While Nintendo had shown an enormous amount of third party support for its 3DS launch, many of the games so far have failed to deliver. Saturated with ports and games that fail to make very good use of the 3D technology, Samurai Warriors: Chronicles stands out as a game that is both original in nature and is one of the better 3D titles on the system. Sure, the 3D really only projects depth, but it is impressive nonetheless. Moreover, the number of characters on-screen during battles without noticeable slowdown is even more worthy of praise. If this is first-generation technology, I canít wait to see what kind of games developers will be releasing in two or three years from now. Samurai Warriors: Chronicles is easily one of the better launch titles on the 3DS.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.6 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review

Reviewed by Kyle Bell