Warriors All-Stars: review

Warriors All-Stars is the latest hack and slash game from Koei Tecmo, and is a crossover based on the popular Warriors series. It features a cast of characters from various Koei Tecmo franchises including Samurai Warriors, Dynasty Warriors, Nioh, Ninja Gaiden, and Dead or Alive, as they are brought together to restore a magical spring (which is the lifeblood of a strange otherworldly kingdom populated by a race of cat-like people). Crossovers are always interesting, but don’t always turn out so well. So how does Warriors All-Stars compare?

The hub world doesn’t have much to do in it, but you can watch someone play an old Tecmo arcade game, or go for a bath with your friends!

The story is a simple one. The king of the kingdom is dying, and the magical spring that has sustained the world has dried up. In order to try to save the kingdom, the queen tells her daughter Princess Tamaki of an old prophecy “When the Spring loses its power and the world heads for destruction, Heroes from other worlds shall arrive. The Heroes will share their power with the shrines and revive the Spring. And the one who leads the Heroes will be crowned as the new Monarch, and restore glory to the world”. After hearing these words, Tamaki performs a ritual to call for heroes from other worlds to help them power up the shrines to bring the Spring back to life. Unfortunately (and inevitably) the ceremony goes wrong, and the heroes end up scattered around the world. When the disorientated heroes arrive, they find two other members of the royal family, Shiki and Setsuna, are also trying to recruit them to their cause, with each having a different motive for taking the throne. It ends up with the heroes split into three separate groups as they’re forced to fight on opposing sides. After the other two claimants to the throne are introduced, the story branches off into three separate campaigns depending on which royal family member recruited the player’s hero.

These cute little guys actually want to kill you.

Once you start the game, you are met with a huge world map which shows you all the missions available to you. There are icons aplenty that would make even Ubisoft blush, with various story missions, side missions and challenges. However it isn’t very obvious which the story missions are, and we ended up doing the missions that had character faces on them, which seemed to advance the plot, and unlock extra characters. At the start a lot of the side missions are beyond your lowly ranked character, and you need to gain some XP to enable you to stand a chance of getting through the level unscathed. Missions mainly consist of battling through hundreds of strange creatures and fighters to reach a point on the map, and then capture the area by slaughtering a set amount of enemies before taking out the base commander, which lets you capture the base.

You also need to protect allies, and take down gatekeepers to open a path to the next objective. Other side missions involve protecting merchant caravans, capturing shrines from enemies, or clearing out monster nests. These sound varied, but most of these levels play out in the same way, and it does get very repetitive very quickly. The game has you doing a fair bit of button mashing, with the square button used for a light attack, while triangle has you performing a heavy attack. As you level your character up, more powerful combos are made available to you. You can have a party of up to five characters, and you can also perform combos with them by pressing R1 along with the corresponding button press for each character. Your teammate will then perform a powerful move to help your cause, either through an attack or by healing nearby allies. There is also a Rush mode, where you push R3 and become an invincible killing machine as you scythe your way through hordes of spawning enemies. Bravery is a stat that increases as you fight through the level (or when you defeat an enemy with a high Bravery level) which increases the damage you dish out.

Performing combos with your chums is quite satisfying

As you battle through the game, you receive materials and Hero Cards by defeating boss enemies. Hero Cards can be created and levelled up to give your character extra powers and perks, along with the XP earned through playing. You can have a stack of Hero Cards for each character, but you can only equip one card at a time. You also create your own by merging cards that you have together, but it’s pot luck on what you get, and most of the time you end up with another low-ranked card. You are actually better off just using the cards that you find on the battlefield, which are normally good enough to see you through. It also gets a bit overwhelming and confusing, with all these different menus, stats, and systems at play. Also, with the various game series involved, some of the characters and enemies look quite out of place, with some being simple blue blobs or flying skulls. But then the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, with a few lighthearted moments.

Rush mode sees you taking down hundreds of enemies with ease

While the story in Warriors All-Stars is reasonably interesting, you don’t get the full picture until you complete the game from all three perspectives, which may put some players off. The campaign is also a lot shorter than other games in the series, taking us eight hours on our first playthrough; although the side missions help pad things out. Also, some of the systems aren’t properly explained, and the map could do with some pointers on where you go to further the story, which is also slightly irritating. The repetitive nature of the gameplay in Warriors All-Stars won’t suit everyone’s tastes, and this title certainly won’t change minds – but for Warriors fans, this slice of hack and slash is a crossover made in heaven.

 

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Written by Kevin M

I've been addicted to gaming since my parents bought an Atari console way back in the 70's. I progressed to the iconic Speccy, Amiga, and all the Playstation platforms. Having seen games evolve from single pixel bat and ball, to HD constructed environments, gaming has changed much from my early years. Having defeated the rock hard R-Type on the Speccy, the biggest challenge I've faced so far is putting up with the hordes of American teens spouting abuse in the current generation of consoles, noob indeed!

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