Samurai Warriors 2 PC DVD
Published by: Koei
Developed by: Omega Force
Release Date: Out Now
We don't see many Koei titles on the PC but 2008 sees a couple of Koei titles coming to the platform, Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI and Samurai Warriors 2. Personally I'm really looking forward to Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI as it's a great series and not many titles in the series actually arrive here in the UK. As for Samurai Warriors 2, game arrived on both the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox 360 in 2006 and the PC version is essentially a straight port of the console version with no added extras to entice those who enjoyed the game two years ago.
Samurai Warriors 2 offers a Story Mode, a Free Mode, a Survival Mode and a Sugoroku Mode. The Story Mode allows you to play through a handful of missions with each character. There are 26 characters to play as (which includes 10 new characters such as Miyamoto Musashi and Tokugawa leyasu), although only 7 are initially available. Free Mode allows you to play through a mission of your choice with a character of your choice. Survival Mode allows you to battle through an endless castle whilst completing quests along the way. Finally there’s the Sugoroku Mode which is essentially a samurai flavoured monopoly game.
If you’ve enjoyed the previous Samurai and Dynasty Warriors games, and if for some reason you didn't pick up the game for the PlayStation 2 or Xbox 360, you’re going to enjoy what Samurai Warriors 2 has to offer. That’s not to say this is simply more of the same though. In fact Omega Force has added some nice touches to the successful formula that fans of the series will really appreciate. Battles can now seamlessly switch from outdoors to inside a castle in a single mission. A new skill system has been included and each of the game’s 26 characters can be levelled up to level 50 and each of them has their own skills and abilities. You can now place each of the characters in a special stance that allows them to perform special attacks. It’s also possible for developed characters to have a triple Musou gauge. Traps and ninja decoys can be set once the forbidden techniques for a warrior have been learnt. Linked charge attacks are now also possible giving each of the characters more powerful attacks.
The most interesting part of Samurai Warriors 2 has to be the Sugoroku board game that allows between 1-4 players to take part. As we said earlier it’s a kind of samurai flavoured monopoly game where the idea is to amass a predetermined amount of gold (5,000 G, 10,000G, 20,000G or 50,000G). Games can either be played on a small or large map. Like a board game you’ll roll the dice and move the number of squares that appear on the dice. Around the board there are a variety of squares that you can land on. Each player has a home square. You can purchase normal squares which will allow you to charge rent from any player who lands on that square. Purchasing a square that’s next to a square that you already own will create a link and increase the rent for both properties. A wasteland square is worthless but still enables a link to be created (when it’s placed next to a square you already own) so it does have a purpose. You’ll also earn gold for landing on your own square. Port squares allow you to move to other port squares on the board. When landing on a shrine square, you’ll get to roll two dice and depending on the number you roll, you’ll receive an event. These events range from all the players being relocated to losing a certain amount of gold. Around the board there are three flags for each player and collecting these flags and taking them back to your home square will not only raise the player’s level but also earn some gold. Should you land on a square that is already occupied, you’ll have the opportunity to challenge the other player in some form of mini-game. The Sugoroku game is actually quite enjoyable and it’s a real shame you can’t play it online.
If you were hoping for the PC version of Samurai Warriors 2 to look significantly better than the previous versions of the game you're going to be disappointed. The game didn't push the Xbox 360 two years ago and I suspect it would run quite comfortably on even the most average of PC configurations without any problems. The game does look sharper as a result of the increased screen resolution (oddly enough the common 1280x1024 screen resolution is not supported) but aside from quicker load times, there are no other discernable improvements. The game is even a little strange when it comes to controller support. For some reason the Xbox 360 controller doesn't work correctly and you have to use the triggers to rotate the camera as the right analogue stick isn't recognised by the game.
Samurai Warriors 2 is not completely subtitled but on the whole, it's fine for deaf gamers. The introductory cutscene isn’t subtitled but all of the other cutscenes in the game are. None of the cutscene dialogue has character portraits or character names placed alongside it. All of the important dialogue during the Story Mode missions is shown in text and you’ll always be made aware of what needs to be done. Comments that the characters make when you’re selecting them to play as, in the various modes, are not subtitled which is of no great importance. All the comments that the characters make in the Sugoroku board game are subtitled, which is rather pleasing as it means that deaf gamers are allowed to capture the full atmosphere of the game. The dialogue displayed during the missions and the Sugoroku game is displayed in speech balloons making it very easy to read. All tutorial messages in the game are displayed in text.
Had Samurai Warriors 2 arrived on the PC two years ago you would probably have been disappointed with the graphics and also with the fact it offered no improvements over the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 versions. Two years after the game's release on those consoles, the game has very little chance of impressing. It probably would have made more sense to release a PC version of Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War which is arguably the most refreshing game that Omega Force has released in quite some time. The problem lies in the fact that if you wanted to play Samurai Warriors 2 you probably already own either the PS2 or 360. In fact Samurai Warriors fans have been enjoying Samurai Warriors 2: Empires (a later and superior game) for quite some time now. The PC version of Samurai Warriors 2 is a decent game but it's just so disappointing that it offers nothing different from the console versions that have been out for quite some time now.