Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes Review

By on February 8, 2011

Did Capcom accomplish what Koei failed to do?


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First Impressions
My reaction is

I have always been obsessed with ancient Asian history. Specifically Japanese and  Chinese history. That’s why everytime I hear a new Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors game is announced I get excited even though I know at the bottom of my heart that the developer will screw up once again. I have this glimmer of hope that one day they might come to their senses and create the perfect one man army hack and slash game. Sadly my hopes get crushed everytime and I can do nothing but watch as another mediocre game is put on the market.

The 1st Sengoku Basara game appeared to the western audience as a game called Devil Kings on the Playstation 2. Back then Capcom decided to throw away the historical context of the game and instead replace the story, setting ,and characters with  fictional counterparts specifically made for the western audience. Obviously this was a terrible move and it resulted in an extremely uninteresting world. The gameplay was  repetitive and didn’t really have much depth to it. All of those factors adding up produced a low quality product that failed to attract a good fanbase.

Sangoku Basara: Samurai Heroes on the other hand decided to stick with the historical setting and do away with the mistake that is Devil Kings. The game is developed by the producer of Devil May Cry 4 and promises much refinement  to the genre. Based on my experience of playing Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes I would definitely say that Capcom improved a lot on their previous release, however it’s still far from being perfect.

The game is set in the Sengoku period which translates to the warring states in English. It focuses on the period of history that led up to the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate.  Hence you will be playing as a couple of historically important figures such as Nobonaga Oda, Ieyasu Tokugawa, and Toyomi Hideyoshi. The game’s story mode lets you choose from a selection of 15 characters to fight with. Each of the characters has a separate story line that has multiple possible routes and endings. The characters themselves are quite unique from each other, and limiting the number of playable characters to 15 helped reduce the sense of repetitiveness felt from other similar titles.

If you ever played Dynasty Warriors or Samuari Warriors by Koei then you will feel right at home. The game puts your character against a massive swarm of mindless AI enemies that come charging at you.  For the most part your characters objective is to ply through a mass of enemies until you reach their leader and kill him/her. There isn’t any diversity in the objectives which can get boring very fast depending on how much you enjoy this type of games. The characters themselves on the other hand can be level up and customized in terms of weapons, accessories, attacks and finishers.  This addition to the series seemed great at first, but near the end of the playthrough you feel that even though the game features these customizations, they don’t seem to add much to the experience as a whole. The game also feature offline co-op which is more fun than playing alone but still doesn’t bring any new gameplay additions to the formula.

In terms of visuals the character models are decent , however the environment is totally repetitive, stale, and extremely low detailed to the point where it seemed to be ported from a last gen title. The voice acting on the other hand is hit or miss, you can love it because its so cheesy or hate it because of the same fact. It highly depends on you tolerance for these things. The soundtrack is a bunch of “battle music” that although good gets repetitive quite fast.

The concept behind these types games is very interesting, and the potential for creating an outstanding title is there. However no one was able to develop a great game as of yet.  Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes adds in character development, different ending paths, and diversity in combat. However it still doesn’t feel as engaging as the Dynasty Warriors series from Koei. Character interaction and diversity in enemies and game objectives need to be present in order to enhance the experience. This game is made for a specific type of people, if you never enjoyed Dynasty Warriors or other similar titles then don’t  bother with this one. But if you are one of those crazy fans of the genre, then this game would prove to be a pleasant experience.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
7
The addition of Character level up and customization is welcomed, but the options you have are limited and can become boring quite fast.
GRAPHICS
6
Decent character models but mediocre environmental visuals.
SOUND
6
Hit and miss voice acting along with good but repetitive soundtrack.
VALUE
6.5
The game does have a lot of replay value if you like it, with 15 different characters and different routes and endings to complete.
FUN FACTOR
5
This game is only fun if you are into this genre, if not then RUN AWAY.
OVERALL
6.5
Capcom improved a lot on their previous release, however Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes still needs a lot of work as its far from perfect.

About

A young zergling from Bahrain dreaming of one day magically morphing into an ultralisk. 20 years old, 2nd year of university, and a lover of all types of games specially RPGs and RTSs.

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