Game: Warriors All-Stars
Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), PS Vita, PC
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
2017 will be looked back on fondly as the year where Japanese gaming has made a comeback. Exceptional releases such as NieR:Automata, Yakuza Kiwami, Nioh, Tekken 7 etc. have come from the biggest Japanese gaming publishers/developers. Over the years, Koei Tecmo has quietly built up a worthy stable of quality games and introduced a bevy of recognizable heroes that fans adore. To properly celebrate its library of noteworthy titles and simultaneously present a brand new Musou branded release, Koei Tecmo has given its fanbase Warriors All-Stars. While you may expect this beat ’em up to follow the same formula of other Musou games that many have tired of, this dream project does thing a bit differently for the better.
So why are heroes and baddies turned goodies all present within Warriors All-Stars? Well, they’ve all been called upon to lend their strength to different members of a warring family. A magical spring’s power has begun to lose its power, which has led to each member of the clans to gather their heroes and fight to become the ruler by restoring the spring. The entire premise is simple and straight to the the point, but it’s really not worth paying much attention to. Your sole focus will be on tackling a huge variety of missions that lend more currency, experience, stat boosting cards and more to your growing army. What this game does better than other Musou titles is its ability to keep things interesting. One minute, you could be fighting tooth and nail to eliminate one of the enemy force’s bases. Then in another instance, you could be found participating in a story mission that focuses on a group of like-minded heroes. The mission structure here lets you go your own way and fight as long as you want or end things as quickly as you can.
One of the more shocking aspects of this dream project is how deep its combat mechanics are. Musou games have a bad reputation for being nothing but mindless brawlers that are far too shallow. Warriors All-Stars does stick to its usage of mixing together light/heavy attacks together. But what makes this entry in such a long-running sub-genre stand out are its employment of team maneuvers. Once you have enough members to bring with you into battle, you’ll have the ability to quickly switch primary control over to them or even call upon them to land special assist attacks. Much of the enjoyment from this game is derived from the fun mixing and matching of characters and discovering which ones work together the best. Selecting Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden and placing him alongside heroes from franchises such as Dynasty Warriors, Dead or Alive, Nights of Azure etc. is a Koei Tecmo fan’s dream come true. Thankfully, the deep gameplay makes these moments all the more memorable.
Graphically, Warriors All-Stars looks decent at best. The visuals aren’t an eyesore mind you, but it’s clear that they’re far from impressive. When there’s a ton of characters battling it out onscreen (which is a regular occurrence), the framerate takes a noticeable hit. Musou games like this one still have a hard time overcoming these performance issues. This reviewer was hoping that problem would have at least been remedied for such a big Koei Tecmo project. But sadly, they still remain and literally slow down a game that doesn’t need to be taken down a notch.
Warriors All-Stars bucks the trend of overly simple Musou titles by offering a deeper experience. The main campaign strays away from the element of repetition by allowing you to map out your journey, interact with your fellow army men/women in a cool hub area and mixing/matching your huge roster of heroes. The battle system stays fresh by throwing in a ton of cool team battle/assist maneuvers that constantly changes up your strategy. The graphics could be a lot stronger, plus the framerate issues keep this game from moving as smoothly as it should be. There’s still a lot to appreciate here for Musou fans and followers of the many IP’s Koei Tecmo has in its vault.
- The teammate battle mechanics are shockingly deep
- The roster of familiar characters featured here is impressive
- The main campaign delivers a fun free form feel that lets you take your time or quickly head straight to the end
- The visuals aren’t that strong, plus the framerate chugs sometimes
- When there’s so much going down onscreen, it’s hard to keep track of all the action