Overall - 80%
Any Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors fan will get exactly what they are looking for in Spirit of Sanada. If you find the formula a bit stale, this might be enough of a change to get you back into the series. This title is a welcome addition to the Samurai Warriors series, and I'm looking forward to the next iteration.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada of the newest iteration of the Samurai Warriors series to hit in the United States. Is the focus on the Sanada clan enough to make the game interesting, or is it just like every other Samurai Warriors game out there? Check out our review to find out.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit Of Sanada Honest Game Review
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is a bit of a change up from the typical Samurai Warriors game. Instead of following multiple factions and clans through out the Warring States period of Japan, you focus mainly on the Sanada Clan and their rise throughout the years. Starting as the father of Yukimara and Nobyuki Sananda (who most people will know from the other Samurai Warriors games) the Sanada journey starts with the Takeda Clan. You are one of the Shingen clan’s strategists and you are responsible for making battle plans for the upcoming skirmishes. While this is going on, you will learn more about the brothers and sons of both Shingen Takeda and the Sanada Clan. Focusing on just a single clan makes it much easier to follow the story of what’s going on, and I thought it was a good change. Of course if you didn’t like the Sanada Clan in the previous Samurai Warriors games, you won’t enjoy this.
Combat is largely unchanged. Players will still mash square and triangle to do various combos and eliminate dozens of soldiers. The large change comes in the form of Stratgems. These are minor, or sometimes majors, strategies you can use during combat. By doing objectives during battle, you will build up Strategy Coins which will allow you to employ special strategies. Some of these just light up the area during night, while others do major things like heal your main camp general or set up ambush units so the enemy commander can’t escape. The more objectives you complete, the more strategies you have open during other missions. If you fail an objective, you might miss out on a major strategy for the next battle, which can add to the difficulty. This addition really made it feel like you had a lot more control on the battlefield, and it was a welcome addition.
Since you are following the Sanada Clan, you are often forced to switch characters during the story. At first, I was a bit disappointed at this, but I understood it because it made sense. People die in battle or get old and die, so switching is natural. As the game went on, I got more into it. Most of the battles have you control two units: your main unit and a backup unit you get to choose. Because of the constant switching, I found a bunch of characters I would have never tried in the other games and really enjoyed them. The other thing this does is add to the difficulty, which has been an issue in many other Samurai Warriors games. You can’t just rely on one overpowered guy in this – you have to spread the love or you will die.
As stated above you do mainly focus on the Shingen and Sanada Clans, but there are also secondary battlefield that you can fight on. These are optional battles that focus on other parts of Japan during the course of the game. These battles are normally very difficult, because you can’t upgrade the characters until after you beat a mission with them. Joining up in these skirmishes is a good way to gain extra XP and gold that you can use in its Castle Town. You do get to use Strategy Coins during these, but they draw from the same ones that you use with the Sanada Clan. Strategy Coins feel like a bigger deal during these fights, because of how difficult they can be. As I said these are optional but if you want to play as Magoichi or Uesugi Kenshin, you get the option during these.
A hub area isn’t new to Samurai Warriors series, but the Castle Town in this game is a bit different from the other games. Castle Town is where you spend your time in between battles upgrading your gear, creating medicine, and buying horses. You can also do minigames such as fishing and farming to get new items for crafting. The Castle Town is also the area where you learn more about the other characters in the Clan, and how they feel about the upcoming battles and the war in general. The sidequests are also found here, which are normally gather quests or collection quests which you can do in the exploreable areas outside of the town. Castle Town helps break up the non stop battles from other Samurai Warriors games by giving you a nice little hub to explore and interact with.
The game is technically sound and I didn’t run into any crashes. These types of games sometimes have units disappearing because there are to many infantry on screen, but that was not an issue here. Not only that, but I didn’t run into any frame drops even during some of the more crazy Musou moments. The game is in Japanese and subbed, and does not feature English audio.
Any Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors fan will get exactly what they are looking for in Spirit of Sanada. If you find the formula a bit stale, this might be enough of a change to get you back into the series. This title is a welcome addition to the Samurai Warriors series, and I’m looking forward to the next iteration.