Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes
Wouldn't it be cool if samurai had demonic powers? No, no it wouldn't.
- You'll smile the first time you get a 2000+ hit combo
- Everything else (plus bad RSI)
I didn't think I could get enough of the Dynasty Warriors formula (I currently own seven games in that series), but Sengoku Basara proves that Koei is more talented than critics give it credit for -- in the wrong hands, the concept is genuinely painful to play through.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
I think I know how Sengoku Basara happened. One of the head honchos over at Capcom has a son, let's say around 10 years old. And like many young boys in Japan, he is a fan of Koei’s Samurai Warriors series.
Like many youngsters inspired by a game, he wrote fan fiction in homage (check out www.fanfiction.net for more!). However, because Japanese history is ‘boring,’ he gave the heroes magic powers and physically impossible weapons, weird hairdos and one-dimensional personalities (and we should probably be glad he hasn't hit puberty yet).
Then he demanded his dad turn his 'awesome' story into a game.
Sengoku Basara is an embarrassment. As I argued previously based on initial impressions and videos, Capcom saw fit to spit on the graves of everyone involved in the historically important Sengoku period of Japan, opting for the kind of super-deformed juvenile junk that appeals to teenage boys and Final Fantasy: Advent Children fans (low blow, I know).
This would almost be forgivable if Sengoku Basara played well, but it just doesn't. All it does is copy Koei's Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors formula, where you’ll be wading through legions of fodder between boss battles, and tries to turn the action up to 11. While it was kind of cool to notch up a 2000-hit combo in the first hour of play, ultimately the action feels hollow.
What Capcom hasn’t realised it the appeal of Dynasty/Samurai Warriors is in the historical context. You’re tossed on a real battlefield, and you’re free to roam about, completing objectives in a bid to turn the tide of the battle. On top of that, the battles it depicts are reasonably accurate, historically speaking (allowing for the presence of heroes who can slaughter thousands of soldiers in an hour).
By contract, Sengoku Basara shoehorns you through tiny environments that feel more restrictive and linear than most 2D beat-em-ups. Run down a tiny corridor, capture a command point, kill boss, rinse and repeat. As a result, although the battles are named after their historical counterpart, the levels are just that — generic and uninteresting levels.
The terrible level design is compounded by the lack of tactical depth. Despite being a button-masher at heart, Dynasty/Samurai Warriors opened up some light strategy in asking you to protect certain characters and capture bases, and prioritise the order in which you undertake those objectives. Sengoku Basara neglects that, instead making you fight more. Yes, Capcom has actually made a game in which you have to mash the attack button more than a Dynasty Warriors game. An impressive feat in one sense, but chronic RSI is not really my idea of a good time.
It's not like the story telling or music is enough to redeem the game, either. The plot really does read like a fan fiction, and the music sways back and forth between being merely irritating and uninspired, to genuinely headache-inducing.
Special mention to the voice actors, too. In Samurai Warriors 3, you had the option of turning on the Japanese voice track and enjoying the game subtitled for a dash of authenticity. Here, you don’t. Expect a wide range of English and American accents superimposed over Japanese anime faces. A shout out to the main character, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was voiced by Liam O’Brien and sounds like Alan Rickman’s voice stunt double. It worked when he voiced the book in Nier — it's very out of place here.
If there is one positive that can be found in the game, it is that with just 16 characters, there is less than half the gameplay of Samurai Warriors 3 — so at least it's over quickly. Unlike Koei’s games, where you typically get a multitude of gameplay options (including online co-op in recent versions), you’ll also have just the one story mode, no online, and a basic free battle mode. So again, at least it’s over quickly.
Dante’s Inferno compares badly to God of War as an inferior and deeply disrespectful piece of literature exploitation, and Capcom has performed an equally unforgivable faux pas here.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 3 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 4 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 5 MSI GS70 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Watch Dogs 2 PC impressions: A smooth-running romp through meme-filled San Francisco
- Hearthstone fans now have a dedicated Skype chat room to challenge its best players
- You'll be able to stream Xbox One games on the Oculus Rift in December
- Doom running on the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar is the latest hilarious 'Doom on dumb stuff' hack
- Massive Civilization VI update adds DirectX 12, new multiplayer mode and maps
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- TV of the year award 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCJava DeveloperNSW
- CCProgram PMO Analyst, GovernanceNSW
- PTService Management Analyst (Part-Time)SA
- CCSolution Designer and DeveloperNSW
- CCSecurity ConsultantWA
- CCIteration Manager / Scrum MasterNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service Desk AnalystQLD
- CCIngres DeveloperVIC
- CCNetwork Deployment SpecialistNSW
- CCUI DeveloperACT
- FTLevel 2/3 Application Support SpecialistQLD
- CCAutomated Test EngineerACT
- FTEnterprise Architect - Information ManagementVIC
- FTService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- TPSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- FTSecurity Operations EngineerNSW
- FTPrincipal Product Manager | Cloud | Managed ServicesNSW
- FTService Lifecycle Management Contract AdministratorVIC
- FTSoftware Implementation ConsultantVIC
- CCTechnical Business Analyst / Solutions Design - LogisticsNSW
- CCSecurity Consultant (Perth CBD based)NSW
- FTSenior Architect, Financial MarketsNSW
- TPiOS DeveloperNSW
- CCAdobe AEM DeveloperVIC