Warriors All-Stars

Developed by Koei Tecmo

Release Date: 8/29/17

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Greetings warriors, and welcome to the newest game from the revered studios of Koei Tecmo! Considering how long Koei Tecmo has been around, and their vast collection of games and protagonists, it was honestly inevitable that we’d see a collaboration of their IPs at some point, and now that it’s here, it certainly does not disappoint!

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As with most of Koei Tecmo’s games that include “Warriors” in the title, WA-S is a musou style game that pits the player vs hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of enemies all at once. Fear not though, whoever you choose to play as, you’ll be more than a match for the enemies you face. Increasing your odds in the onslaught, you have a team of up to four other warriors to fight alongside, each with their own stats, special abilities, and loyalty-based power-ups.

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Whether you’re familiar with games of this nature or not, the controls are refreshingly easy to learn; most attacks require a string of single buttons, occasionally followed by a different button to unleash a special follow-up, with minimally more complex combos for certain characters at higher levels. All characters use the same input to initiate special attacks and various other abilities. Also simple to learn are the basic mechanics of the game; though the exact goals of a level vary by mission. A brief tutorial is given in the first level no matter who you choose, and more detailed explanations of topics can be accessed from within the games system menu as well as on loading screens throughout the game.

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This game does have a few differences from the games in which most of its characters hail from. For example, unlike in Nioh, Toukiden, or Ninja Gaiden for example, the game has many different possible endings and story routes, based on the actions that you take, or choose not to take. Relationship building is important, and not only effects your prowess in combat, but can change the storyline and ending. And just to reiterate, there aren’t just two or three endings, there’s a lot of them. Like, a veritable ton, all based on which faction you start with, who you use, which fights you decide to participate in, and who you choose to befriend (or not befriend). In addition, heroes can increase their power through Training, as well as via Hero Cards, which also unlock passive abilities, elemental attributes, and increased attack power.

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All in all, this game is an exciting new installment in the Warriors line of games. That said, while it does boast some new features (and more possible endings than I have any intention of unlocking) it does suffer a few pitfalls. First and foremost, despite the fact that there are more levels than I can even begin to count, they all fall into one of (rounding up a bit here) 7-10 types of missions, which can feel a bit stale after a while. Furthermore, while there’s a bit more tact and strategy required here than in simple hack’n’slash games, at the end of the day, the actual combat is very much a matter of inputting the same two or three input combos over and over, and can feel quite monotonous after the 6th or so hour. and while being able to grind somewhat endlessly is nice, I feel that there’s just a bit too much of that built into the framework of the game. Another slight annoyance is that relationship levels aren’t built up in both directions at the same time. Each character must raise their bonds with every other specific character; a task which, if done with/to every character, can take a mind numbingly long time.

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At the end of the day, I genuinely enjoyed this game and loved seeing some of my favorite characters from Koei Tecmo all in one place, with the ability to switch between them (with certain acceptable limitations) at will. And while W A-S has certain shortcomings, those shortcomings are largely iconic of musou style games as a whole; it’s no more, or less, repetitive than any of the Dynasty Warrior or Samurai Warrior (or even Dynasty Gundam Warrior) games out there, and the inclusion of characters from other games, as well as multiple story paths (and endings) makes up for a lot. Along with the lovely graphics (because when has Koei Tecmo ever *not* had amazing graphics?) and soundtracks (also, speaking of audio, I’m beyond thrilled that William’s dialogue is entirely in English) the game holds up, and the new mechanics it introduces have the potential to break up the gameplay. True, they could be refined, but at least the potential is there.

Final Score: 8/10

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