Dynasty Warriors bought us the usual hack-and-slash game with a bit of history. A little bit of history, because as always, it is a game. And a game does need to have some embellishments for it to be relevant or, at least, be noticed. Dynasty Warriors did this; aside from incorporating elements from history, like the Yellow Turban rebellion, they did some flashy designs on the heroes, their move sets and weapons and armor included.
The first time you play a game in the Warriors series, you get hooked in by the strategizing. An effective strategy is needed to capture flags within bases and bases, as well as to escape stronger enemies (like the insufferable Lu Bu in Dynasty and Tadakatsu Honda in Samurai) and evade other opponents. However, once you get the hang of it, the play becomes repetitive. You might even begin to feel pity for the endless hordes of enemies that meet death at the end of your super weapon.
This is the point where you begin to look around for welcome alternatives to an already too-familiar game. Fortunately, there is one such game. Luckily, the Warriors series failed to keep a monopoly in the hack-and-slash/pulp history genre and Capcom managed to squeeze one in. Say hello to Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes.
Arguably, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes (Devil Kings in North America) is based on an anime in Japan. Its direct competitor is more Samurai Warriors than any other game in the Warriors series. Here, familiar names in the period of Japan?s Sengoku Era are featured. You?ll see Nobunaga Oda, Ieyasu Tokugawa, Masamune Date and Tadakatsu Honda here, almost exactly the same way they are portrayed in Samurai Warriors. ?Almost? becomes apt because they are not quite who they are when you see them in Samurai Warriors.
For instance, you might?ve controlled or battled with the gun-wielding samurai Magoichi Saika. In Sengoku Basara, the Magoichi Saika you encounter is not quite the lady-killing Saika in Samurai Warriors. In Sengoku Basara, Saika is a woman; she still wields the same arsenal the male Saika in Samurai Warriors did, though as to debates, one scenario offered that the male Saika of Samurai Warriors is the leader of the band of samurai this Saika belonged to. Go figure.
It?s either the game borrows heavily from the anime, or the anime gets heavily from the game. Here, a lot of heroes are packaged differently, save for Masamune Date, who wears the exact same armor, only made slightly different. The same goes for Yukimura Sanada, who, in this game, is Date?s rival, and instead of wielding one quarterstaff, he wields two. Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin are still each other?s greatest nemesis, though their appearances have differed; Takeda is a robust man in his middle ages, while Kenshin gets repackaged as a lady killer.
Sengoku Basara does have some moments where even strategy is not enough to win it. For instance, there is a stage where you have to go against two heroes, one feeding the other with enough strength to bring you down one time, while you have to put down this particular hero a lot of times in order to win. Another stage features a cyborg Tadakatsu Honda, where, try as you might to put a nick in his armor, he just doesn?t go down; he can defeat you in one shot, though.
Variety is great, and if this is the sign of things to come, then Sengoku Basara is a game worth looking at, for the sake of variety, if anything else.