Review – Samurai Warriors 3 (Nintendo Wii)
Pressing a button over and over again can be boring at first, but it can be a compelling experience.
This is the context in which those buttons are used. Look at the original Super Mario Brothers: you have a direction pad, a jump button, and a run button. With just those three entries, Miyamoto and Nintendo created a genuine work of art.
Samurai Warriors 3 has an attack button, a stronger attack button, an even stronger attack button, and a jump button. I don’t think anyone is going to claim that Samurai Warriors 3 will be fondly remembered as one of the best examples of interactive media 20 years from now, but despite its simplicity, it’s a hugely entertaining game with plenty of content.
Samurai Warriors 3 stems from the same heritage as Koei’s vulnerable Dynasty Warriors, and will be immediately familiar to you: Taking control of one of a huge lineup of heroes, you’ll cut through entire armies and rack up over 500 kill counts in 20 increments. of minutes. Nominally, you’re fighting as part of a larger army, but in reality it’s you who’s going to be doing all the fighting.
What makes it a compelling experience is the visceral impact that the limited combos and special attacks have: there’s not a lot of variety in what you’ll do, but there’s a genuine sense of power that you’ll experience as you charge into an entire enemy unit, knowing that they are about to be scattered like leaves in a hurricane.
It helps that the game is very beautiful. Nintendo decided to step in and publish the game for English-speaking audiences, much like it did with Capcom’s Monster Hunter Tri, and just like that epic dinosaur slaughter, Samurai Warriors 3 pushes the Wii to its limits. Character models are reasonably detailed and smoothly animated, and there can be as many as 50 on screen at one time.
There’s also a lot of data processing going on in the background: units on the opposite side of the map from your character will bump into each other, and the tides of battle will ebb and flow around you. It’s an impressive effort on Koei’s part to create a battlefield that breathes on the limited capabilities of the Wii.
It also helps that the game has its roots in Japanese history. Anyone who has studied Japan’s past will recognize the names and backstories of the characters, and participating as these characters in epic battles is like taking control of Hannibal in his campaign against the ancient Romans and then decimating the entire population of Japan. Rome alone.
When launching the game for the first time, be sure to change the language option to Japanese for a more authentic experience (and to get rid of the terrible English voice actors). Don’t miss out on any of the political drama going on in the background and you’ll make the most of one of the game’s best features: the genuine history and culture that frames the violence.
Each of the game’s 40+ characters has their own story arc; just playing them will take you a long time, but beyond that, there’s a “create a fighter” mode, some online options, and a ton of weapons and armor to buy and upgrade. Just like Monster Hunter Tri, this game will consume your time in an amazing way.
Although you will have allies on the battlefields of Samurai Warriors 3, they are mostly brain dead and will need you to take them by the hand. It’s a little too easy to get the “game over message” because an ally that needs to survive gets slaughtered, but in addition to keeping a close eye on where those critical allies are running on the map, the amount of strategy (or thinking) that will be required of you to do is minimal.
And this is the game’s biggest flaw: while Mario has been reinvented (or at least substantially improved) with each new game, the Dynasty/Samurai Warriors formula hasn’t really changed in its many years. For anyone who has played some of these games in the past, there is nothing really new in Samurai Warriors 3. For newcomers to the series (I bet a substantial part of the Wii user base), this game is very recommendable. – As a technique to relieve stress, killing 25 digital humans per minute is second to none.