Samurai Warriors 3 is the third main installment in the Samurai Warriors series, developed by Omega Force. The game is the first primary Musou title to be released on the Wii (which previously hosted Samurai Warriors: Katana), and is exclusive to the platform. As part of this exclusivity, the game includes a special mode inspired by Nintendo's Nazo no Murasamejou, a Japan-only release for the Famicom Disk System.
On March 16th, 2010, Nintendo announced that they would perform publishing duties for the game in North America. It was released on September 27, 2010.
Samurai Warriors 3 makes several tweaks and additions to the Warriors series gameplay, evolving from the system as it existed in Samurai Warriors 2. The most significant gameplay addition is the Spirit Charge. As the player fights, the Spirit Gauge, a series of five orbs, gradually fills. Each time an orb is filled completely, the player may expend one spirit charge to perform a strong knock-back attack that will cause enemies it strikes to reel and break the guards of anyone defending.
In addition to the above, if the player has a full Spirit Gauge and at least one full segment of the Musou Gauge, an Ultimate Musou attack may be performed. Ultimate Musou attacks are significantly more powerful than standard Musou attacks and carry unique properties. However, using an Ultimate Musou attack will drain the Spirit Gauge completely.
During the course of battle, the player may collect colored gems from fallen officers. These gems can be used to upgrade a variety of equipment, including weapons, armor, gauntlets, and boots. However, each item has a finite number of times that it may be upgraded, and so the player must choose which skills associated with each item to upgrade carefully.
The battle map is now much clearer in pointing out major and minor objectives. A green arrow now flashes across the map to show the player the most direct route to a primary objective. Additionally, each stage begins with a detailed summary of the player's early known objectives.
Previous games in the series allowed the player to enter battle alongside a CPU-controlled bodyguard ally. Samurai Warriors 3 has removed bodyguards entirely.
Samurai Warriors 3 supports three control variants. The game can be played using either a Wii Remote/Nunchuck combo, the Classic Controller, or a GameCube Controller. In Japan, the game launched in a bundle that included a Classic Controller Pro. No such bundle was made available for the game's North American release.
Samurai Warriors 3 features thirty returning characters from previous installments. The only previously playable characters not on the game's roster are Goemon Ishikawa, Gracia Hosokawa, Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki. Further, not all returning characters are available for play in Story Mode, as they do not have campaigns associated with them.
The following are returning characters that are available for use in all game modes:
The following returning characters can be used in Free Mode and Murasame Castle only:
New to the roster are seven playable historical characters, two special NPC historical characters, and one new special character. The new historical characters and their weapons are:
The process of unlocking characters for play differs from earlier Warriors titles. In previous games, the characters were unlocked in a set order by completing the story modes of available characters or other similar prerequisites. In Samurai Warriors 3, the player earns tons of rice as currency used for unlocking characters and bonus features. New characters are unlocked by spending the required amount of rice tons, and they may be unlocked in any order. Most characters require 100 tons of rice in order to unlock. However, characters that do not have story modes and are thus only playable in Free Mode and in Murasame Castle may be unlocked with only 80 tons.
Rice is earned by successfully completing stages. Beating stages in Story Mode yields more rice than in Free Mode. Completing Story Mode with a character yields a 100 rice ton bonus. A small amount of rice is earned as compensation if the player fails to complete a stage.
Rice can also be spent to remove the stat limitations place on characters once the characters have reached the maximum level of 50.
Character Creation & Customization
Samurai Warriors 3 allows for the creation of custom characters that may be used in all gameplay modes except Story Mode. In addition to customizing a new character's appearance using preset parts, players may also select the character's weapon type (sword, spear, or naginata) and level progression style (Normal, Power, or Speed). By spending rice, players may also unlock the ability to equip the edit characters with the weapons and fighting styles of the Musou characters.
The Musou characters that make up the game's roster can have their colors edited. In order to change a character's colors, the player must first beat Story Mode with that character (if the character has a story mode), and then spend the requisite amount of rice tons in order to unlock the color edit option for that character.
Aya and Masanori, who are both special unplayable NPCs, can have their models unlocked for use in character creation. To accomplish this, the characters must be rescued in Murasame Castle mode.
Returning Character Changes
Some of the returning characters have been altered in noticeable ways compared to previous entries in the series. The most significant of these changes is Oichi's weapon. In earlier games, Oichi fought using a kendama, a type of Japanese cup-and-ball toy. In Samurai Warriors 3, her kendama was replaced with bladed hoops that she can swing and throw about.
Historical Mode is a gameplay mode specific for use with player-created characters. The battles that appear in this mode are set against a timeline of the Warring States Era. By completing stages, the timeline is gradually filled in and more stages are unlocked.
Samurai Warriors 3 includes a special mode inspired by an old Famicom Disk System game, Nazo no Murasamejou (The Mysterious Murasame Castle). The Famicom title's protagonist Takamaru also makes a special appearance and after a certain point early on becomes available as a playable character within the Murasame Castle mode.
Murasame Castle essentially plays out as a sequel to the original game. Upon defeating Murasame, Takamaru and Murasame were both sent back in time to the Sengoku era. Murasame once again took control of Murasame Castle, and Takamaru must fight his way back so that he may destroy Murasame once again.
When beginning a challenge, the player is given the choice to either play through the stage as Takamaru or as the Samurai Warriors character the player chose when entering Murasame Castle mode. All standard and player created custom characters are available for use in Murasame Castle, and any experience, weapons, and items earned in combat are carried over across all other game modes.
Each stage in Murasame Castle contains three tanuki statues. By finding and shattering the statues, the player will gradually earn rewards based on the number of statues destroyed. If the player destroys thirty-three statues while playing on Normal difficulty, Takamaru becomes unlocked for use in modes outside Murasame Castle.
Samurai Warriors 3 offers cooperative online play for two players. When a connection to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is established, the game will put out a search for invitations to join a game from other players, and the player may continue playing the game while the search is conducted. Like many other games that use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, players may also exchange Friend Codes to ease the search for a co-op partner. Murasame Castle can also be played online over co-op.
Expansions and PS3 Port
The expansion Samurai Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends for the Wii expands upon the content of the original game by making the NPCs Aya Gozen and Masanori Fukushima playable. Ten new story modes were also added for the characters that did not have them in the original game. The expansion also features new gameplay modes, including a "MIXJOY" mode for sharing data between the expansion and the original title.
A subsequent Empires expansion was also released. Like previous Empires expansions in the Warriors franchise, the gameplay in this expansion is more tactical in nature as the player attempts to control all of Japan.
Samurai Warriors 3Z is a port of the game for the Playstation 3. This version runs at sixty frames per second and features most of the content included in the original version of Samurai Warriors 3 and its Xtreme Legends expansion. However, it does not include Murasame Castle mode nor the character Takamaru, as those features are taken from an old Nintendo property.
Neither of the expansions nor the PS3 port have been released outside of Japan.