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April 5, 2006
Samurai Warriors: State of War - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
30/3/2006THQKoeiOmega Force
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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Looks like Dynasty Warriors...
Koei are a company to be respected. Their titles on PS2 including Dynasty Warriors, while technically not the best, certainly give the impression of large scale battles which tie into classic Chinese mythology and history. Indeed the company has released Dynasty Warriors on PSP already - although it wasn't close to the quality of the PS2 games. Now the company has another similar title available on PSP, Samurai Warriors: State of War.

Set during Japanese feudal times Samurai Warriors: State of War gives you control of famous samurai and legendary ninja, and engages you in an ever-unfolding war. Ultimately the storyline doesn't really hold much interest, and it's not long before you'll be looking for action.

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Some effects are nice.
Samurai Warriors includes all 19 fighters from the two PS2 titles as well as 37 stages across 22 maps created for the PSP. The game is split up into two main single player modes - Story and Free Play. The Story mode is where you will spend the bulk of your time. After selecting your character and bodyguards you will then encounter a map which allows you to move around and target the enemy be it a wall, base or troops. If you enter enemy territory you will go into battle which is where the game plays much the same as Dynasty Warriors. Depending how well you score in each battle determines how many spaces you can move on the map during your next turn.

Some other strategy elements come into play when you collect charms which can be used to boost health or abilities. Unfortunately you are limited in the number of charms you can carry. Also important is the fact that your soldiers increase in abilities after ever 50 KO's.

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There's plenty of text to read.
Ultimately Samurai Warriors fails for one big reason. While the developers have included strategy elements by being able to move around the map, and thereby select your next group of enemies to target when you get into the actual level's you're on your own. You can't issue commands, you can't set strategies or formations and it all seems half-baked. Also piss- poor is the AI of both friend and foe. They love to stand around a few feet from each other pointing weapons, but seemingly waiting for you to run around and hack them to pieces.

The final problem, or should that be insult, is multi-player. It was something we were screaming out for in Dynasty Warriors and it looks like Koei have listened - well, sort of. You see this game offers two multiplayer modes for up to 4-players. The first sees each human trying to kill five enemy captains first, or the most within the time limit. The second see you (and up to three friends again) trying to collect 10,000 worth of gold after being dropped by defeated enemies. There is no option to battle each other which is utterly bewildering given it's the subject of the entire game.

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Still on 'A' ranking.
As with Koei's previous title the graphics in this game do leave something to be desired. Yes there is a bit less fogging, but there's still plenty of horrendous draw-in only meters from the main character. It must be said that menus are well presented however the audio still leaves plenty to be desired - and improved upon - for subsequent titles.

Sadly Samurai Warriors: State of War still isn't the killer title which I was hoping Koei could deliver on PSP. Yes, it's better then Dynasty Warriors, but not by the margin one would expect after an additional years development time. If you're a fan of Koei's Warriors titles then this is probably worth a look, but non-fans aren't going to be swayed by this average effort.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSStill terrible draw-in, poor texturing, adequate effects, good menus.
SOUNDYet again Koei let us down in this area - we want quality, not this.
GAMEPLAYA bit more strategy then the first Koei title, wasted multiplayer.
VALUEStill an average game with full pricing. Could have been better value.
OVERALLSamurai Warriors is marginally better then the previosu game in all areas, but not enough to excite PSP owners. One for the fans only...

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