Review: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes
The back drop is feudal Japan. A time of social upheaval, political intrigue, and nearly constant military conflict. Your goal is to embark on a quest as one of many Japanese Historical figures to unify Japan under the rule of one leader. Then anime gets thrown into the equation.
- Worth The Time?If you have time to mindlessly (no brain required) run around and bash two buttons, it might be worth your time. But then again, so will cheese making.
- Things LovedInteresting re-imagining of the Historical Japanese Figures. The simplicity.
- Things HatedVoice acting; dubbing and talent; repetitiveness; limited combos and anime cliches. The simplicity.
- RecommendationIt stands out from its innumerable predecessors of the same basic game and is the best in its genre of "historical hack/slashes and beat em ups", but that is not really saying much. It has a bit more redeeming value then "other historical beat em ups", however it lacks overall. I would recommend the bargain bin if you enjoy the series or really like anime type games. Otherwise a rental may prove enjoyable to some, but it is definitely not worth a full price purchase to non-fans.
- Name: Sengoku Basara: Samurai Warriors
- Genre: Hack & Slash
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: co-op
- Platforms: PS3, Wii
- Developer: Capcom
- Publisher: Capcom
- Price: R600
- Reviewed On: ps3
Foreword: As you read this review you will notice that it contains many mixed feelings. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes is intended for an audience that is incredibly niche. I actually ended up enjoying it, but it’s tough to recommend. The best would be to try the game out first.
This game has an interesting setting.
Feudal Japan was a time of many conflicts, and as mentioned above, was a time of social upheaval and political intrigue.
Sengoku Basara: Samaria Heroes manages to deliver its own form of these conflicts and ignores the other concepts, which is quite unusual for the games of today.
The game puts an anime spin on things, and right from the beginning you are met with the compulsory opening video containing a Japanese soundtrack and some cinematic action. This video introduces the main characters, and ends with two characters charging towards each other, before the title Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes fills the screen.
There are 16 characters to choose from, where some need to be unlocked. Each character is based on Historical (Real and Mythic) Samurai and come with their own unique story. All of them have the same goal of ruling Japan.
Essentially, this offers you the chance to rewrite history.
The characters, although being fantastically re-imagined and in some cases gender swapped, are letdown by the anime cliches. The Righteous Character, the Depressed Character, the Character fighting for revenge, and the one that wants to take over. They are all in there.
Characters are also let down by bad script writing and poor voice acting. Expect to hear many long winded dialogues that seem as if they are monologues. Another blow is that we obviously get the English version of the game, hence the dialogue is in English and we all hate dubbed anime.
Samurai Heroes looks good in writing and is backed up by the ability to choose your path through Japan, facing your enemies and forming alliances. The overall result offers 60 possible endings.
However it fails to deliver.
And choosing your path isn’t that hardcore either, as you do this on a map outside gameplay segments. Similar to alliances, this does get slightly challenging later on.
Furthermore, play segments are quite repetitive and involve the same principle in every level:
Or on occasions ride the horse that can be found on the level.
Kill hundreds of enemies:
This repetitive, they all look the same and don’t put up much of a fight. But there’s a heavy emphasis on chaining together hits, which in turn will reward you for different milestones.
Capture the positions, by defeating the commander:
There’s usually a base commander or guard that sits inside of a small shack like structure, and if you defeat him you’ll gain control of that point, meaning your side will spawn Squad Leaders that can act like independent AI to help you take over a map. It’s largely for show, since the AI rarely takes down enemies by itself.
After all the positions belong to your faction, defeat a few heroic enemies to end the stage.
There are some breaks from this repetitiveness, although they are few and far between and seem to lack polish.
An example is in one instance which involves you racing another character on horseback, which doesn’t seem particularly well suited to the gameplay or all that polished. These segments are few and far between, but they’re not particularly fun to play through, and feel a little cheap for the most part. The game is at its best when it’s allowing you to run around and cause havoc against hundreds of enemies that look the same, and while that can get a little old after a while, the segments are fun in short bursts.
Once a “named heroic enemy” is defeated and the area is conquered, the area’s natural resources are obtained which can be used to create various accessories that make heroes and their weapons more powerful. Yet it lacks depth and can be done with little thought or ignored all together. Quite a number of items can be created.
As for combos: Hardly any. Hardly needed. In fact, they are only needed to rack up massive numbers of hits.
Once you fill your BASAR bar, using a whole two buttons, you can release a BASARA art attack which is quite something to look at for the first few missions — until your eyes bleed from seeing the same thing over and over and over again.
I actually think that Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes is a very innovative and intriguing game. Yes, it is a hack and slash game, but it is fantastic because of the elements it brings into the game play. Allowing your character, historic or mythic, to have elaborate costumes and weapons. Opponents also choose their path throughout historical battles and events. These features are something Capcom succeeded on bringing to the table, following the limitless (although pointless) customization of weapons, maneuvers and tactics that take place within the game. Yes, the dialogue may become repetitive, monotonous and at times long winded, and the controls could have been more innovative, but overall, this game stands out in its genre. Which is not saying much at all.
Unfortunately the game lacks depth and variety, and it’s too repetitive. It is enjoyable for the first few missions or so, but after that fails to deliver.
However, if you love the series — you’ll definitely love this.