Review: Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 (Nintendo 3DS)
- Release Date (NA): June 30, 2015
- Release Date (EU): June 24, 2015
- Release Date (JP): December 4, 2014
- Publisher: Tecmo Koei
- Developer: Omega Force
- Genres: Hack and slash
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
- Also For: PlayStation Vita
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 for 3DS (US)
Sometimes, a gamer just has to grow up. And this time, I felt it more than ever with Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3. The third sequel (second one for the US), a loose retelling of historical events in Japan, released in Japan last year and in Europe and North America this year, is the next title in the line of Warriors hack and slash titles. The gameplay elements of the Warriors series have not changed, with the player mashing the square and triangle button (or X and Y depending on the console), to slash through hundreds and thousands of faceless mooks to complete objectives. The formula has not changed with Chronicles 3. Chronicles 3 takes gameplay elements from the first two Chronicles and adds a bit more to the flair by incorporating elements from Samurai Warriors 4, which released on the Playstation 4 not too long ago. And this title is a refining of the title, but on a smaller sized screen.
Right off the bat, starting the game, you'll be asked to create a custom character, with more options than the previous titles. I ended up making a freakishly tall man with a faux-Manchu beard setup going on with a rather high voice pitch. Because why not, I like to watch things burn. Once your character has been decided, you're thrown into gauntlet after gauntlet of staple battles in the Warriors series, dealing with the Warring States era of feudal Japan. So yes, we're going back to the staple battles of Sekigahara, the epic events surrounding the betrayal of Nobunaga Oda. You play one you've pretty much played them all.
With each battlefield, you're given a few other not so faceless generals that are popular figures from Japanese history. As the battle goes on in real time, the generals that you are not in control of (up to three) are off doing their own thing, usually almost dying to the hands of a random officer or a faceless mook. They're moving slowly towards objectives, so they're not quite as bad in terms of AI. With a tap of the screen on the respective general's portrait, you can quickly switch over to them and continue the battle in their shoes. Each battlefield has a number of little objectives that pops up on the screen, to the noise of a trumpet that gets rather old relatively quickly. As you complete objectives, at the end of each stage you are rewarded with loot the more you clear.
While the events are loosely based on historic moments in Sengoku era Japan, some of the more interesting moments occur with the character dialogue portions, a returning feature from the original Samurai Warriors Chronicles and Samurai Warriors 4. The dialogue functions are an easy mode "choose your own adventure," which will mostly lead to the same result but gives you a chance to better the relations between yourself and these generals. And these generals are a peace of cake to read. If one wants to kill everyone and asks you a question, you'd usually end up picking the option that allows you to follow their train of thought, which leads to a small happy face that continually gets happier with each successive correct answer. It does give each character a sense of being fleshed out, but again, unfortunately, the material falls short as it's more of the same old thing put into a different package.
Something that I forgot about in this game was how grind heavy it is. In the initial story playthroughs, cash is going to be relatively scarce as you're most likely going to spend it on weapon upgrades and leveling up your officers. But getting those max level affections and the legendary weapons means lots of repeating the same stages over and over again... and leveling the bond relationships takes a while. Be ready for that. It can accelerate slightly with the implementation of the tea ceremonies in the town hub, but the bottom line is that you're still grinding at the end of the day, especially on the early play through runs, since the tea ceremonies cost money. And sometimes, grinding isn't enough as there are instances where you play with a few officers for a while, and then you're suddenly switched to new officers that end up at low levels due to them not being used - in later stages of the game, this inexperience will be the downfall of your army as they get slain by CPU officers.
Combat has seen an improvement with the implementation of hyper attacks from Samurai Warriors 4. Using lots of charge attacks will provide the means to sweep through hordes of enemies with a few slashes of the sword. Interestingly enough, I never really bothered with some of the new mechanics. Having played since the earliest days of Dynasty Warriors, I've already grown quite savvy with my X,Y or Square and Triangle combos. And my method of sweeping still holds true to this day. Combat is further heightened with adding affixes to weapons and leveling them up so that they're actually decent in combat. The more affixes the merrier of a time you will have on the battle field.
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 takes some steps forward, but at the same time it takes a few steps back. The implementation of the new Challenge mode (fight against the clock!) adds some more fun, but it just feels like a means of delaying. DLC comes in here and there, and sometimes if you're lucky to live in a Streetpass zone that gets lots of players, you can interact with them and do mini battles with them for loot! But unfortunately I live in a dead zone where nobody really has a 3DS to begin with, and there's even fewer people out there with Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3. So on the multiplayer note, my mission is a failure.
What hurt this time though is that I was genuinely looking forward to this title. Chronicles 3 does little to up the ante that Samurai Warriors Chronicles brought back in 2011, as a launch 3DS title. The graphics looked extremely dated and had little to no improvements. The environments took a real downgrade, having been ported from the Vita, and looked pretty muddled and bland. I noticed it even more this time, that those faceless mooks had really dull and empty facial expressions that may as well not have existed. The 3D is pretty dull in this game, and the story was overtly short and felt even shorter than the original launch title. It took me about seven or eight hours to mash through the initial campaign. While I usually have a giddy pleasure about playing Warriors titles, this time I didn't feel it quite as much. The mechanic changes were minimal and didn't even matter in the long run. I thoroughly played the first Chronicles game at the launch of the Nintendo 3DS back in 2011, and this time, what I thought would be a fine reminiscing of the past, turned into a dull slog that didn't change much compared to the other title. While the game takes steps in having content with a lot of character dialogue and progression, it still follows the same old formula that Warriors tends to follow. It's a passable game that isn't outright terrible, but it's not great either. For those that want to 100% this game, or for those who want to get all those costumes and DLC, be prepared to sink time into it and open your wallet! The game is going to demand a lot of time to max everything out, and with the large ensemble cast of characters, you'll be playing a while.Overall, the title isn't quite worth its $30 price tag, as the original Chronicles game should be plenty to suffice.
+ Enhanced gameplay elements from Samurai Warriors 4 added
+ Challenge mode adds extra fun
+ Characters are fleshed out and given personalities
+ Dialogue system returns and gives a sense of control over characters
- Dull, repetitive gameplay
- Graphics look very dated and had little improvement
- DLC is expensive
- Grind heavy
- Dull and empty AI mostly will stare at you and do nothing.
The UI is intuitive and allows for easy on the fly switching of generals during gameplay. The overall feel and expectation of a Warriors title still meets standards, and it's still the hack and slash title that it's always been for ages now.
Gameplay is repetitive, and the addition of the new Samurai Warriors 4 elements does little to console the player as they realize the time commitment and the disdain as they have to repeat stages to max out happiness between officers.
The challenge mode is fun but that's sadly about it, other than playing Free Mode and maxing out weapons and officer happiness. The DLC scenarios are okay, but more of the same, and the other miscellaneous DLC items are awfully expensive, costing more than the game itself.
out of 10
(not an average)
Chronicles 3 does little to up the ante that Samurai Warriors Chronicles brought back in 2011, as a launch 3DS title. While the game takes steps in having content with a lot of character dialogue and progression, it still follows the same old formula that Warriors tends to follow. It's a passable game that isn't outright terrible, but it's not great either. Overall, the title isn't quite worth its $30 price tag, as the original Chronicles game should be plenty to suffice.