Spirit of Sanada breathes some new life into a series showing its age
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada brings plenty of welcome elements to the formula and makes me excited for what Omega Force holds for us in the future once it fine tunes everything introduced in this game. While it brings plenty of shiny new features, it feels smaller in scale compared to the last mainline entry. But those new little things do add up to a lot. Spirit of Sanada offers a fresh take on the Warriors experience that can be very welcoming to newcomers and veterans alike.
Battles are massive multi-stage affairs with thousands of enemies onscreen, and even when you're bored with fighting, there is a breadth of additional content to enjoy. Whether you're engaging in the game's encyclopedia or exploring the countryside and mini-games, there is a lot to consume for the history buffs and Musou fans out there. That's if you can get past the graphics and engine that--much like the story--are remnants of an era bygone.
That said, the combat system remains completely untouched since Samurai Warriors 4 and for all is minor tweaks and nuances, time's running out for this ageing brand of battlefield action. Even long-time fans will agree that, after being pulled in just about every direction, the series desperately needs to move on. No pressure, then, Dynasty Warriors 9.
This Samurai Warriors spin-off feels outdated in many aspects, but it is fun to play and offers deep strategic options for a "musou" game.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Because of its characters, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is more recommended than the franchise before. Musou genre doesn't allow so many novelties, but we like de RPG elements..
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Come for the historical Japanese setting and story, stay for the pleasing, fast-paced combat. Spirit of Sanada puts combat, its best asset, front-and-centre, and it pays off.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is a fun and heavy slasher game, where you'll mow down thousands of enemies in the spirit of war and blood letting. The game captures so much of what makes the Samurai Warriors series well loved, while bringing in a few new features and environmental adaptations that allow the game to stand on its own. Several issues with balance and presentation betray an otherwise solid game.
For those who might be tired of the traditional Musou hack and slash format, Spirit of Sanada offers up enough changes to make the series feel fresh while retaining the traditional 1 vs. 1000 hack and slash gameplay that the series is known and loved for.
As someone thoroughly tired and uninterested in anything Musou, I can say without hesitation that Spirit of Sanada did very little in changing my opinion on the genre. Having said that, the focus on telling a tighter, more involved story along with the addition of a variety of RPG elements is a step in the right direction and deserves praise- hopefully pointing towards a renaissance for the genre.
I grew bored pretty quick, though that may just be my jaded outlook. If you don't feel beaten down by slashing your way through another sweeping battle, this may be the game for you. If you've related to my weariness for the genre, this one will only exasperate the feeling.
Spirit of Sanada is more than just a Samurai Warriors side story, bringing the series to new heights with its largest roster and longest battles to date. The new multi-stage battles will have players take a more tactical approach if they want to reap the rewards.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada attempts to shake things up with a bigger emphasis on RPG elements and a more personal story, but it doesn't always hit the mark. Seeing events unfold from the perspective of just a few characters does make for an interesting and engaging narrative, but the pacing is bogged down by boring filler missions. Likewise, chopping huge historical battles into bite-sized chunks adds depth to each scenario, but the epic scale and the thrill of thriving battlefields are lost in the process. Spirit of Sanada certainly isn't a bad game, but it is one of the weaker Warriors titles on PS4.
Mechanically speaking, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is very much yet another musou game from Omega Force. There's much more to the title than just that, though, as the new focus on just one family allows it to tell one of the most interesting stories from feudal Japan. It's an entertaining history lesson (although as expected it does take certain creative liberties) that also provides a thoughtful look at why war can't always boil down to good versus evil. Despite some dated graphics and gameplay that is sometimes too simple for its own good, Spirit of Sanada ends up rejuvenating a franchise that had been treading water.
Although Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is a spin-off of the mainline series of games, it shouldn't be seen as anything less than the best companion to Samurai Warriors 4. I enjoyed returning to the battlefield once more and learning all that I could about the Sanada clan while following their lives over the course of the game. The character driven plot was much appreciated as well as the graphical improvements made to the battlefields from previous games. I would definitely like to see more spin-offs of the series that focus on some of the other clans.
The extra weight added by the RPG side of things and the dungeon-style challenges means that Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada has more to recommend the franchise than before. Whether it'll be enough to draw new players in, however, remains to be seen.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is at least a somewhat fresh take on the Warriors system. It's still enjoyable and it offers some new elements, even if the overall affair is what we've come to expect from these games. Some major added benefits though include the game's more polished graphics and ability to render even more enemies on screen. It makes some of those battles truly feel gigantic.
Feudal fragmentation through eyes of one of the most important samurai. Gameplay is mainly focused on killing hordes of enemies, but there is also complex plot and many RPG elements. Not only for the fans of the genre.
Review in Polish | Read full review
'Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada' is frustrating due to its total lack of challenging gameplay. The game makes several mistakes that diminish from the potential this title could have met, making the whole thing feel like a waste.
Kermath received a digital copy of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada from Koei Tecmo for review.