Players: | Release Date: 09/19/06 | Genre: Action
Koei is well known for their Action franchise Dynasty Warriors. The franchise has appeared on a multitude of consoles and has created a large number of fans despite the fact that the series has only given slight improvements in each installment. Koei later would spin-off the Dynasty Warriors idea with the Samurai Warriors franchise. While Samurai Warriors 2 appears to be very similar to the first one, this marks the first time the franchise has appeared on the Xbox 360. For those of you new to the franchise or wanting some more Koei-inspired action, SW2 may just have something to offer you.
Visually you would not be able to tell that Samurai Warriors 2 is a next-generation title. The game looks and plays very similar to Dynasty Warriors 5. Developer Omega Force took the PlayStation 2 version of each title and gave the graphics a “slight upgrade” but never really appears to be anywhere near what gamers demand of a next-generation title... at least in the visual department. The game looks very below average on the PlayStation 2 and lacks any of the graphical polish you would expect from the system this late in its life cycle. Back to the Xbox 360 version, Samurai Warriors 2 does retail for less than other new 360 games and can be fun to play if you can overlook the graphics.
Players will find well over twenty playable characters in Samurai Warriors 2. As you progress through the title, you will unlock the new characters by completing the various story modes found throughout the game. Unlike the story mode in Dynasty Warriors, players are given a list of different stages to complete in Samurai Warriors 2. As players journey through each level, they will be greeted by different cinematic sequences with over-the-top bosses and ask that you complete a given task on the level. Most of the time that task is to destroy the main enemy on the battlefield. As in past Koei titles, the voices range from good to absolutely horrible. The same is true of the dialogue too. Fortunately this series is about the action and not voice work or dialogue.
Between levels players can upgrade their weapons, skills, allies, mounts, etc. in a shop on the main selection screen. This gives the player the need to hunt for gold and treasure within each level. But the difficulty can be adjusted so if the action is a bit hard, you can always start on an easier difficulty. However, it is important to equip any items you purchase before starting a battle. Otherwise your hard-earned purchases won’t appear in battle.
The Xbox 360 version of Samurai Warriors 2 features play over Xbox Live. However, the player never actually fights the on the battlefield. Instead the winner is the first person who kills the enemy officer within their game. I personally don’t understand why this version was included in the title because it is not much fun and seems to be there only so Koei can say “hey we have an Xbox Live mode!”
Other gameplay modes offer freeplay where you can participate in the game without messing with the story. In this mode you will face off against an never-ending supply of enemies until your fingers are so sore you can’t continue on. In addition to this, there is a board game called Sugoroku that plays a lot like Monopoly. Players buy up spaces and if other players land on them, they have to pay the owner money. While this mode had a lot of promise, I grew tired of it fairly quickly because there is no online mode.
Overall, if you love Action games and are a fan of Koei titles,Samurai Warriors 2 is probably a game you will want to check out. While it may not be the prettiest or most original game, the single player campaign will keep you entertained for hours on end. Due to the slightly upgraded graphics, I prefer the Xbox 360 version over the PlayStation 2. But both games play the same. If you are looking for more than just a single player story mode, SW2 is probably not the game for you. Hopefully we will see Koei move this series online and we can actually fight other players online. Until then I will remain content and patiently wait.