Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada - PlayStation 4 Review

A historical adventure through the eyes of the Sanada bloodline.

Game Info

  • System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: May 23, 2017 [NA] | May 26, 2017 [EU]

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada Character Gameplay Trailer!

Who it Caters to

Any devoted fan of the Dynasty Warriors franchise or perhaps just loyal followers of the Koei Tecmo brand will most certainly find Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada to be not only visually pleasing, but will also captivate you with its historical references. There’s a lot in the game to absorb early on with plenty of features to keep you entertained, and in typical Koei Tecmo style. A lot of the gameplay combines role playing elements but sticks to what it knows best, and that’s hacking and slashing your way through countless missions in order to protect the Sanada lineage. If musou games are your cup of tea then this is one purchase you don’t want to ignore. If you’re curious to know more about Japanese history through the eyes of the Sanada clan, then that too is more reason to try this out.

What to Expect

With a plethora of in game features to absorb yourself in such as fishing, upgrading weapons at the blacksmith or simply running a muck on the battlefield, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada provides enough replay value for you to come back and aim for the S rank in every mission you complete. Speaking of missions, there’s plenty to dive into and all of them provide enough of a challenge to encourage you to play more. The story itself is beautiful and captivating in its own way, since you get to see the growth and formation of the Sanada Clan as well as the maturity of Masayuki and his two sons, Yukimura and Nobuyuki. Despite the game being a spin off of the Samurai Warriors series, it still maintains its integrity and provides a wonderful experience that will last you quite some time.

Story

Much of the story in Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is a very romanticized portrayal of the Sengoku period in Japan, which was a period of political strife and warfare which involved the Daimyo and their clans clashing for dominance. Unlike in other titles that place focus on numerous clans, Spirit of Sanada focuses primarily on the Sanada Clan and the timeline runs for about 54 years.

Gameplay

It should come with little surprise that Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada comes with very little change pertaining to its gameplay, since the same engine that was used in Samurai Warriors IV is the same used in this title. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there were moments of rigid movement in characters which did feel somewhat dated. Be that as it ma,y the overall gameplay experience felt very moving and it was a total blast to tear through hordes of enemies who stand in the way of your freedom. The game starts you off in a village where you, Masayuki, must now take control of the Sanada Clan and ensure that they rise above the rest to become the dominant power. As you progress through the game you learn of the many features that will come in handy later, one of which as we mentioned earlier is fishing since that ties in with the gift giving feature that plays another role.

With gift giving, you help to build bonds with people within your clan, and as you continue to build better relationships with every individual you’ll receive perks such as better items or tagging alongside you on the battlefield. Similar to role playing games, where conversations with characters are pivotal to progression, Spirit of Sanada rewards you in that regard too. As you speak to more people throughout the village and other parts of the game, they provide you with important information that Masayuki jots down in his journal. The information you receive may help to aid you in certain battles, and to help boost your stratagem when going forward. Speaking of stratagems, they also play a role in the gameplay since most battles will have you trying to complete missions, and a lot of side missions which are called “Feats” will encourage you to clear the stratagem. Once stratagems are cleared they provide bonus points for you and also unlock coins which also help to level you up throughout the game. These coins are located at the bottom left corner of the screen and you can obtain them through speaking to people as well.

In typical Samurai Warrior fashion, a lot of your gameplay will be focused on the musou style which is simply following a certain set of rules, making sure to clear them and collect your rewards for doing so. While this may all seem like an easy feat, Spirit of Sanada adds in extra elements of challenge to really test your wits on the battlefield. Some missions will randomly pop up out of the blue as bonus objectives, and some of them will come with a timer so you’ll need to complete it before it expires. Of course since it’s a bonus objective you don’t really lose out on much, but there will be times when a main mission will be timed and you’ll need to act fast before the person you have to save is defeated. Running back and forth is something you’ll be doing a lot of because one minute you need to beat a sub-boss, but then suddenly one of your officers finds himself in dire need of help and you’ll need to race over there before it’s too late. It’s a game that constantly keeps you on your toes which is such a great feeling because it really immerses you and makes everything feel like you’re truly on the battlefield working hard to survive. There are also missions that require you to clear objectives before sunrise or sundown because if you don’t, the enemy morale may increase which could lead to a quick death.
One great feature that we liked was being able to swap between characters during missions in order to successfully clear objectives on time. If there was an objective that was just too far out of our reach with Masayuki, we could swap to the other character and deal with any threats then immediately swap back to keep the flow going. They’re known as multi-stage battles and they’re one of the finer aspects of Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada. You’ll encounter plenty of these throughout the story with many more great features that we’ll save for you to experience on your own. The game features the entire cast from Samurai Warriors 4 and throws in three new playable officers, along with an array of returning characters from previous Samurai Warrior titles.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

With so many options and gameplay expansions to experience, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada allows you versatility and tons of action to keep you coming back for more. Optimizing the rage system will help you in times of desperation to finish off annoying bosses, while gathering certain rare items will make building long term friendships much easier. It’s a game that compliments the Sengoku Era very well, while not destroying the historical integrity by embellishing it too much. We like that the game made sure to keep the Japanese voice acting to provide more authenticity when it came to characters and cutscenes, and that the tutorials were thorough and very easy to understand. While it may be a lot to swallow at first you slowly start to pick up on things because often times the game will remind you via icons, or simply bringing up a pop up box. With tons of action and plenty of story, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is one historical adventure you definitely want to embark on.

Honey's Pros:

  • Manages to maintain historical integrity without going overboard.
  • An array of features that really help to add more meat to the game.
  • A mixture of rpg and musou elements strikes a good balance.
  • Dialogue and cutscenes were top class.
  • UI is very simple and doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.
  • Loved the day/night time system which affects how enemies respond in battle, etc.

Honey's Cons:

  • Rigid character movements sometimes affected gameplay.
  • Dated engine means a lot of texturing issues.

Honey's Final Verdict:

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada may not be the perfect title but it certainly has a lot of perks that make it a very enjoyable title in the long run. It would be cool if it had some sort of co-op mode enabled, but to be honest the game feels fine without one. We hope that for future titles Koei Tecmo will continue to implement these types of unique features, so that the gameplay will always feel vibrant and give more players incentive to continue. With Dynasty Warriors 9 on the horizon with its new open world theme, we’re totally stoked to see what they’ll do next. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and of course be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date about what’s happening in the gaming world! Follow us also on Twitch and come chat with the Honey’s team on our Discord server! Until next time, have fun gaming!

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Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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