Koei’s Tired Formula Fails To Bring History To Life - Samurai Warriors: Chronicles - 3DS - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Samurai Warriors: Chronicles

Koei’s Tired Formula Fails To Bring History To Life

I think it’s a happy chance of fate that the 3DS is such a futuristic piece of technology and yet one of its launch games is a work of historical fiction centering on real people locked in a feudal Japanese war. Sadly there is very little to be happy about regarding Chronicle’s gameplay, which also feels like it’s from another era.

Koei’s Warrior’s series has traditionally cast players into the role of historical generals, but with Chronicles players get to name their own fictional character. This doesn’t have a large impact on the narrative, since you still spend a portion of the game playing as historical figures from Japan’s Warring States period, but some of the choices you make in the game will affect the game’s branching story. I wish I could say more about the narrative, but Chronicle’s plot bores me like eighth grade history class. All of the game’s talk about periods, clans, and family names spelled with more special characters than Marvel vs. Capcom made me drowsy, and no amount of historical 3D maps could recapture my attention. Honestly, there were times when the narrator began describing in-game events and I didn’t know which side I was fighting on.

Aside from a few Japanese history professors, most people probably won’t care about anything other than Chronicle’s combat. Actually, most people probably won’t care about that either. If you understand how to work the Y button on your 3DS then you’ll have no problem playing this game. As usual, your character is a one-man army who travels across the battle map hacking through enemy soldiers, killing important enemy commanders, and protecting vital NPCs. There isn’t a lot of variety there.

One welcome new mechanic allows you to switch between up to three additional allies who join you on the battlefield. As you battle through enemy encampments you’ll acquire an assortment of missions. These tasks don’t often diverge from “kill this specific enemy commander,” but fulfilling these conditions will cause the battle to swing in your favor. I actually dug managing my small troupe through the game’s tactical map – sending my friends across the battlefield while I dealt with more immediate dangers – but your allies rarely accomplish anything significant without your supervision. More often than not you’ll need to assume control of your allies and finish the job yourself once they reach their destination.

Chronicles’ biggest problem is its repetitive combat. You’ll spend most of your time jamming the same attack combos over and over again until you build up a Musou attack that takes out a large group of enemies. Then do it again. Battles feel less spectacular than Warriors titles on console thanks to the small number of onscreen enemies Chronicles’ throws at you, and it’s jarring to see a band of warriors pop into view only a few meters ahead. Enemies themselves spend a lot of time circle strafing your character, before taking a few swings at the wind, and then finally moving in to do real damage. There is always plenty of action happening during a Samurai Warriors game, but it feels very tiring these days. History shouldn’t be a sedative.

Email the author , or follow on , , , and .

User Reviews:

  • 6.00
    Samurai Warriors: Chronicles was among the other launch titles for the 3DS when it released last year. Having awaiting more than year, I'm finally posting my review, although despite that time my opinion remains the same. Samurai Warriors shows a lot of promise, but in the end fails to shine. Similar...
    read more
  • 8.00
    Right out of the box, Samurai Warriors seemed a bit lacking. The traditional explosive opening with guitar rifts and epic fights that Koei has in their past Warriors series was missing. No worries, that was given to us as we started the game. Once the game started however, things took quite a change...
    read more