By Hailinel 4 Comments
So given Giant Bomb's general stance on all things Koei-related, I doubt too many of you will be interested in this, particularly with so many people playing the hell out of Super Street Fighter IV, but my 3DS launch game of choice was Samurai Warriors Chronicles. I've put a few hours into the game so far, and I'm enjoying it. It brings some interesting new concepts to the series that really change up the pacing and structure quite a bit.
The biggest change in Samurai Warriors Chronicles is that there's one story mode that's divided into a number of chapters, with each chapter hosting a series of battles. Your character is a custom character you create at the game's start, and in each battle, you control both this character and at least one other character from the standard Samurai Warriors roster, with the characters you can use dependent on the battle. Unlike a game like Warriors Orochi, where your characters magically swap in and out of the same position, all of the characters exist at different points on the battlefield, and you swap control of characters by tapping that character's icon on the touch screen. Player characters not under your control behave as AI characters, though you can also manually set targets for each of them on the touch screen map.
What this boils down to is that you can have up to four characters that you can control on the battlefield at any one time. The objectives are thus laid out so that you need to swap between characters in order to accomplish them all successfully, and you get special rewards for completing them under specific requirements, like taking out the specified targets using a particular character, or by completing it under a time limit. The more important goal of these objectives, however, is decreasing enemy morale. By completing objectives successfully, the enemy's morale can decrease, making the less powerful and easier to defeat. However, if you're flubbing missions, it can have the opposite effect and decrease your own morale, making the enemies, and ultimately the primary objectives, that much harder.
There's also a relationship aspect to the game, as the player character can interact with the other officers after battles. The friendlier the other characters are with you, the more bonuses you get, like the option to engage in more conversations with other officers, or the ability use officers your on good terms with on any stage you've already completed. It's an interesting system, making the game feel much more like it's about your one character rather than a collection of individual narratives like past Samurai Warriors titles.
Speaking of past titles, one of the telling elements that this is definitely a launch title is the amount of recycled elements. Most of the character models and maps are taken from Samurai Warriors 3, though this isn't really much of an issue. Though the maps are the same, the objectives and general flow of the battles are completely different. In a way, it's actually helpful in the sense that it doesn't require also learning the new maps while attempting to complete the new objectives.
So beyond all of this, there's also plenty of 3DS-specific stuff, most of which I haven't had the opportunity to try yet. The 3D effect in the game is actually well done, of course. The depth of field in the game is really good, though some corners are obviously being cut in the graphics department with the way enemies pop in in the distance. The game supports StreetPass with a mode that asks the player to create custom officer teams to battle against other teams, but beyond setting up a team, I don't know anyone else with the game locally, so it'll probably remain unused. However, the game also supports SpotPass as a means to download new stages. There aren't any available at this time, but once they are, I should have a better idea of how it'll work. Play Coins are also used, in that they can be exchanged at the in-game shop for gold.
Like I said, I'm liking the game. There are some areas where it could improve, certainly, but it's an interesting take on Samurai Warriors, and for a launch title, it's not bad at all. I'll definitely be playing this one a lot.