Everyone was not Kung Fu fighting
When youíre looking at the Koei
company you think of only one thing these days: Dynasty Warriors
. The company has carved a franchise and niche out of the series, but they also have made countless innovations to their games with the release of each one.
Now itís the turn of the second game in a similar vein, but a new franchise: Samurai Warriors 2.Samurai Warriors
was in many ways a rehash of the original style of DW games. For Samurai Warriors 2 the developers opted to go a different and more adventurous route Ė read on to find out whatís changed and whatís really different about this second game.Story
Take a bunch of legendary figures from Japanese history and mythology, give them a little bit of a developer spin and youíve got the various story elements that make up the game. As always itís set against the backdrop of the brutal feudal wars in Japan and the historic battles that took place during those periods. Replace Cao Cao with Lord Nobunaga Oda and youíve got the idea.
The story for each character is told in a really effective way through some very nice CGI cut-scenes however and itís bold, striking and very well done.Gameplay
If youíve played all of the previous games in this vein then the gameplay is going to be familiar. Itís about button bashing combinations that become increasingly trickier to pull off but yield spectacular results when you master them. Itís about wading into armies of enemies and trashing them with those moves, taking on generals (min-bosses) and special generals (bosses) to win the various maps.
Sometimes youíre protecting a famous character, sometimes youíre trying to destroy a base and protect your own. There are numerous things going on in these battles and youíre never stuck without something to do.
If youíve never played a single game from the developers in this genre then youíre missing out on some addictive fun. Samurai Warriors 2 takes a new approach to the tried and tested method of level ups in this series. Once you have defeated a general you gain something from them, health ups, rewards and so on. After the mission is successful youíre taken to a debrief screen where you gain experience.
Experience that raises your stats and so on, you can keep or discard new weapons and eventually youíll get to a shop screen. It is here that you use money to buy new skills for your warrior (learned from defeating enemy bosses) and you can upgrade your weapons (most of them have a number of open slots) with new abilities. Some of the weapons have an elemental effect and you can gain even more damage bonuses by carefully applying these attributes.
In addition to the story mode you can also play a free play game and pick any of the unlocked maps. This is a good way to level up your character or experiment with different play strategies.
You can also play a survival mode that allows you to go up against a castle with various quests/floors and attempt to conquer them in return for prizes and rewards. These missions are simplistic but make a change from the pace of the maps where you have to protect your bases and so on.
Finally thereís a strange board game that you can play with up to 4 other players. It is known as Sugoroku, we were horribly bad at it but it was a fun diversion.
For those of you that like to play co-operatively you can play Story and Free mode with a second player on split screen. The game allows you to combine special attacks known as Musou in co-op for even more power.
Samurai Warriors 2 features some nice little tricks, including for the first time, a 3 level Musou power gauge that allows you to perform devastating special moves on your opponents. The gameplay is fast, fun and frenetic and the pace never lets up which has been a trademark of the Dynasty-style games since the first.