Top 10 Musou Anime Games [Best Recommendations]

Do you need a break away from the 90+ hour grind that you experience while playing RPG’s? Are visual novels becoming a drag and you prefer something a little more fast paced? Then look no further than the hack and slash genre known as musou, or in English ‘Unrivaled’, where you control multiple sides and battle your way through a massive horde of enemies in hopes to restore peace back to the kingdom. While musou titles do frequently come with very light instances of RPG elements tied in, a lot of the gameplay places attention on beating up what seems to feel like at times, an endless array of enemies while upgrading your characters so that they can overcome burdens towards the end game. Musou games have grown in popularity ever since the arrival of the famed Dynasty Warriors series, and since then have amassed a huge following worldwide. Let’s take a look at some of the best musou titles out there, and see which one claims the throne.

10. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Koei Co., Ltd.
  • Release Date: December 20, 2012

Fist of the North Star, also known as Hokuto no Ken, has taken to the gaming world and released its own musou version titled Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2. The game follows much of the plot from the manga only leaving the Ryu arc out, while throwing in a variety of added features to emphasize certain aspects of each character as you race through chopping down enemies.

You can choose from a list of your favorite Hokuto no Ken characters such as the notable Kenshiro, or if he isn’t your cup of tea there’s Rei and 23+ others to keep you amused. Signature moves make their return in the series and can be used by cycling through them on the d-pad, while additions such as dashing and dodging have replaced the jump moves from the first title for more diversity. So whatever your approach in battle Ken’s Rage 2 ensures that you don’t rage out yourself as you play, and that your experience is just as satisfying as the story and gameplay itself.


9. Arslan: The Warriors of Legend

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: October 1, 2015

Arslan was a remarkable piece of work that saw the young king take to the field to take on the corrupt enemies who planned to take down the nation of Pars, along with his devoted allies such as Daryun to dish out the heavy damage. For those who haven’t watched the anime or read the manga, worry not as the game retells the events from the anime in true form, while allowing you to take control of everything happening on screen. We still recommend watching the anime though, because it’s just too good to resist.

Despite not raising many eyebrows during its release due to other hit franchises releasing around the same time, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend didn’t really take off like it should have but be that as it may, the game itself is still a blast to play and we highly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of the young warrior. We had a chance to fiddle around with it at last year’s Tokyo Game Show, and honestly it was really fun to ride around on your horse while swinging your sword, cutting down your enemies with powerful special moves, while enjoying much of the Arslan lore we know and love.


8. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

  • System/Platform: PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo | Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: March 26, 2015

One Piece games have always had their own dedicated fan base for many years now, and so when Pirate Warriors came out it was no surprise that many picked it up to control Luffy as he bashes heads and kicks a lot of butt in this fast paced title. Using a lot of the mechanics from the Warriors games such as special power ups and story driven objectives that you’ll need to complete with certain requirements, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 comes equipped with just about everything you need and more, and a blast to play.

Huge explosions, epic cutscenes, and excellent story objectives are all fantastic selling points of Pirate Warriors 3 so any hardcore fan of One Piece should already have this in their collection. We played through this game countless times back when it released in March of last year and we couldn’t put down this action brawler, since there was just so much to do and it aligned well with the manga and anime series. You’ll be laughing at all the randomness that happens throughout each encounter, while boss battles will definitely be a challenge at higher difficulties. Don’t sleep on this one.


7. Sengoku Basara 4

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: January 23, 2014

With T.M. Revolution singing the cover for the popular series, you already know the game is a success. While not as big in America as it is in Japan, the Sengoku Basara series takes what you love from the more realistic Sengoku Musou series and creates a more exaggerated anime style world, that sees your favorite Japanese generals at it again to claim the nation. This is Capcom’s own take on the Warriors series, throwing in a lot of the Capcom flare we’ve come to know and expect, with a little more spice added in for extra flavoring.

Sengoku Basara 4 is the 4th installment in the series and comes with various gameplay improvements over its predecessors such as the Sengoku Creation Mode, where character stories take place over a number of battles. Some characters will have what’s known as drama routes while others come with anime route, but more of them this time around tend to be focused on the drama routes. Unleashing your Giga Basara finishing blow never felt more satisfying because the graphics really compliment everything that’s happening, and it moves at a nice pace that’s enjoyable for a good chunk of time.


6. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo | Omega Force
  • Release Date: December 22, 2011

A lot of you may be wondering, so wait Nualpha, you have all of these musou titles and not one mention of Dynasty Warriors at all? Well this is what we saved Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate for, since it incorporates both the Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors experience into one action packed title. So you’re getting the best of both worlds in this updated title that comes fine tuned with improved graphics and gameplay over the original.

Ultimate saw drastic changes over the original Orochi 3 with the already mentioned graphics upgrades, but let’s dive more into the gameplay a little. So a lot of the new characters from Orochi 3 are still in such as Rachel and Momiji, while introducing new characters such as Mae Tamamo, Sophitia from Soul Calibur Yinglong, and Kasumi from Dead or Alive. While we’re still scratching our heads over the last entry *cough* fan service *cough, the other characters come equipped with their own unique movesets and special attacks along with two new story plots to keep hardcore fans engaged for hours. It’s all out fun in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate so definitely give this one a shot if you enjoy both entries.


5. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo | Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: December 19, 2013

Nothing feels better than taking two incredibly gigantic franchises and sandwiching them together to form a hit series. Dynasty Warriors has its own cult following while the Gundam franchise has been around since the late 70’s, winning over the hearts of fans worldwide. In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn you pretty much play through various story plots from the Gundam series, while taking control of your favorite Gundam and blasting your way through a wall of robots who are trying to cause harm to the world.

The action packed madness you’ll experience in this game is unlike no other, with eye popping graphics and gameplay that aligns almost perfectly with much of the Gundam lore. Every corridor is filled with a ton of enemies to blast your way through, with special attacks that allow you to obliterate the entire room with a single laser beam of death. It’s satisfying, especially after a long day at work and you just want to kick back and fry some robots with your laser gun. While not mind blowing in terms of innovation, the overall feeling you get while playing is truly a remarkable one.


4. Dragon Quest Heroes II

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Armor Project | Omega Force
  • Release Date: May 27, 2016

Learning from the best is surely a great way to turn your already successful franchise into a top seller, and Square Enix took some notes from Koei Tecmo when they created Dragon Quest Heroes II. Known for being the biggest RPG franchise in Japan, Dragon Quest Heroes takes everything you love from the series and throws in an open world action experience that you’d find in Dynasty Warriors. The story takes place in the Seven Kingdoms where chaos is ensuing as all of the Kingdoms are entangled in war, and so chosen heroes from each kingdom must band together to restore balance to the continent.

We had an opportunity to clear the entire game of Dragon Quest Heroes II and it was a spectacular experience that we recommend you play through from start to finish. The rich story plot along with all of the intense sword swinging action is exciting, while working together with other characters to take down big bosses is satisfying. Whether your expertise lies in spell casting or going in fearlessly, there’s a character for anyone to enjoy in this wonderful RPG musou title that will hit U.S. shores next year.


3. Sengoku Musou 4-II

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PC
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: February 11, 2015

There’s no way that we could put Samurai Warriors anywhere but the top 3 spot because let’s face it, this is the one of the series that truly sparked a new trend of musou games and still continues to climb in popularity. Sengoku Musou, otherwise known outside of Japan as Samurai Warriors, the game takes place in the warring states period of Japan known as the Sengoku Era and you must take your army to victory to ensure the nation is secured.

For fans of Japanese culture and history, this game is surely one you can’t ignore because, not only do you get to relive the lives of powerful generals like Nobunaga or the fearless Date Masamune on the battlefield, but you get a chance to learn more about Japan’s history a bit. While a lot of the gameplay is fictitious, the premise behind it all is still there and that should encourage you enough to go digging up historical info online. The thrill of the game of course comes with all of the hacking and slashing you’ll be doing, along with added features to this game in particular such as new characters, storyline events, and more. With so much to offer in one package, Sengoku Musou 4-II is a must buy for the musou aficionado.


2. Hyrule Warriors

  • System/Platform: Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo | Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Team Ninja | Omega Force
  • Release Date: August 14, 2014

Hyrule Warriors throws you into the popular world of Zelda, where Link must now band together with his allies to take down the evil Cia and her wicked creatures, closing the Gate of Souls for good and ensuring Hyrule is kept in one piece.Hyrule Warriors evolved into an extremely popular hit for Koei Tecmo, which surprisingly made them a lot more in the bank than their usual Dynasty Warriors franchise.

Of course it should go without saying that it was in due to the famed Nintendo franchise that really helped to boost interest, and bring forth new fans to the musou genre. Similar to every other musou game on the market, you take Link or any other character from the series and battle your way through Cia’s army of minions as you try and prevent their invasion and protect the kingdom from peril. Using signature moves and weapons from the Zelda series, players will feel right at home and have a blast (literally) throwing bombs and hacking your way through to victory.


1. Berserk Musou [Berserk and the Band of the Hawk]

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PC
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Release Date: October 27, 2016 [JP] | February 2017 [WW]

Guts is pretty pissed off that his friend, who he thought could be trusted, not only betrays him and sides with an incredibly sinister group of evil foes, but steals the girl he loves and performs sexual acts in front of him to further enrage him. Guts is not a very happy person right now and so he and his allies work together to seek out the whereabouts of God Hand and his cronies, while hoping to bring Casca back in one piece in this action packed thrill ride.

Berserk Musou plays out exactly like the entire manga does, with cutscenes taken straight from both the movies and the more recent anime. It starts from the Golden Age Arc up to Hawk of the Millennium Empire, and you control Guts as you whip out your longsword and tear through whatever stands in your way, to save Casca and restore peace (or whatever’s left of it) back into the kingdom and Guts’ heart. With a ton of blood splattering with every slash you make and sexual references just about everywhere, Berserk Musou is a highly mature rated title that makes Dynasty Warriors at times look like a children’s game, but comes hard with a lot of action at every corner and plenty of extreme challenges to keep you busy. If you haven’t had the chance to read our review on the latest Berserk title, then be sure to hit up our game review section to get a full perspective on what to expect.


Final Thoughts

The musou genre is truly too exciting to put down because despite just sitting there and mashing away, there’s still some premise behind it all such as rewarding stories, or epic cutscenes to pay attention to. With other great titles such as next year’s upcoming Musou Stars making its way to PS Vita and PlayStation 4, along with other classics such as Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires and more, the musou genre has so much to offer in terms of adventure and melodrama. Let us know what musou title stands out to you the most in the comments section below, and be sure to tweet out our articles to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

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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