Esperino http://www.esperino.com Thu, 11 Dec 2014 06:12:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Magic 2015: Garruk’s Revenge Expansion Review http://www.esperino.com/magic-2015-garruks-revenge-expansion-review http://www.esperino.com/magic-2015-garruks-revenge-expansion-review#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 06:12:17 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22279 Wizards of the Coast returns with an expansion for Magic 2015, after the lacklustre response it received from fans. The Garruk’s Revenge expansion looks to write the many wrongs players complained about from the original annual iteration, most notably the lack of full access to cards and removal of key features from previous year’s release. Can Garruk’s Revenge appease the player base and restore Magic‘s unrestricted creative freedom?

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Developer: Stainless Games
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Platform: Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Windows PC, Mac OS X, iOS
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Collectible Card Game
Release: November 6th, 2014

As the name of the expansion suggests, Garruk’s Revenge will grant players the chance to don the boots of Garruk Wildspeaker, the central axe-wielding hunter featured in the base Magic 2015 campaign. Trek through four new campaign levels and a further expanded Explore level as Garruk, battling foes with your deck and enhancing it with each vanquished enemy.

Although not overly brutal, the campaign offers enough challenge for even seasoned players, initially locked to a Green/Black deck build on your first play through. You’ll need a combination of familiarity and luck to overcome your four opponents, who each offer unique challenges. Each foe has a specifically tailored tactic that will present a degree of resistance, requiring you to be adaptable to various scenarios. Beating these foes unlock additional booster packs to augment your current deck build.

Unlike the original Magic 2015 which favoured newbies over the MTG veterans, Garruk’s Revenge campaign is far less forgiving, but far more rewarding for the loyal seasoned player base. If you aren’t familiar with the workings of the Magic universe, you’ll want to play through the original campaign before tackling the expansion campaign. I can assure you that you will get destroyed if you don’t take the time to learn the mechanics.

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The selection of playable cards have been expanded upon, with all the cards from Magic 2015 earnable throughout the course of play, as well as over 50 cards from the Shards of Alara block also being usable in the planes of the Multiverse. Granting players full access is a step in the right direction and is arguably the biggest improvement Garruk’s Revenge offers.

On the topic of boosters, the much lauded Premium Boosters previously only available via micro-transactions have been replaced with earnable Battle Booster packs that I definitely appreciate. Battle Boosters contain cards from the base Hunt Bigger Game set, as well as the newly added Shards of Alara block meaning for the one price tag, you can access a significant library of new cards. Of course, micro-transactions are still prevalent if you have no problem handing over real world dollars for your favourite virtual cards.

Garruk’s Revenge isn’t a lengthy or hugely content filled, with the bulk of the updates revolving around the new campaign, new cards and achievements. Considering the low price tag, you’re getting your money worth purely for the fixes it addresses from the core Magic 2015 game; and then some. Those that have already invested heavily into Premium Boosters may feel cheated, despite the expansion being available for anyone that has previously purchased a Premium Pack, but it was an update that Magic 2015 so desperately needed to make things right.

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Magic 2015: Garruk’s Revenge Expansion rectifies many key issues with the core title, adding an all-new campaign, cards and gameplay to supplement the micro-transaction laden original. Carrying a small price tag, Garruk’s Revenge is a solid purchase for Magic: The Gathering fans, although don’t expect to find extras like new game modes or pre-made decks to explore. Think of it more as a patch fix with bonus extra cards and you won’t be left feeling disappointed.

7.0 – Good. Entertaining but is held back by a couple of flaws. It will certainly capture its intended audience but it won’t appeal to everyone.

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Project SkyLight: Limited Edition PS4 Faceplates On Sale at Sony Store http://www.esperino.com/project-skylight-limited-edition-ps4-faceplates-on-sale-at-sony-store http://www.esperino.com/project-skylight-limited-edition-ps4-faceplates-on-sale-at-sony-store#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 05:28:57 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22286 Sony have announced Project SkyLight, essentially the release of two limited edition faceplate designs for the PlayStation 4.

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The SkyLight initiative is an early preview where PlayStation 4 owners can purchase one of two first release faceplates. Priced at US$24.99 you can choose between:

  • The Order: 1886 – featuring a shot of the Knights from the highly anticipated third-person action title
  • Little Big Planet 3 – featuring Sackboy and his new burlap gang

These custom faceplates are only available in limited quantities and will be sold while stocks last via the online Sony Store.

New faceplate designs are planned if neither of these two appeal to you. Unfortunately these faceplates cannot be shipped to Australia but I will let you guys know once they become available locally.

What do you think of the new faceplates, and will you be purchasing a faceplate for your PlayStation 4? Let us know in the comments down below.

[SOURCE]: PlayStation Blog

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Win a Sony PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition via EB Games & JB Hi-Fi in Australia http://www.esperino.com/win-a-sony-playstation-4-20th-anniversary-edition-via-eb-games-jb-hi-fi-in-australia http://www.esperino.com/win-a-sony-playstation-4-20th-anniversary-edition-via-eb-games-jb-hi-fi-in-australia#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 05:26:41 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22282 If you were hoping to snag one of these PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition consoles, you may have your work cut out for you in Australia.

Over in the U.S, Sony sold the consoles for $499 last Saturday and naturally, they sold out quickly and have started hitting eBay at obscene prices. If you’re hoping to own a piece of the 12,300 units being released, you still can through a selection of different methods.

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EB Games are running a competition at the moment, giving away 20 units over two weeks to fans deemed to be Sony die-hards. Of course this is a game of skill and your fate is firmly in the hands of those judging the entries, but heck at least its cheaper than hitting eBay.

Alternatively, you can also enter JB Hi-Fi’s giveaway which have a simplier method of entry. JB Hi-Fi are giving away 10 units and all you’ll have to do is vote on your 5 favourite franchises. This is all purely luck but if your RNG powers is spot on, you could become a lucky owner if this deliciously awesome console.

If you want to have even more chances to win, PlayStation Australia will also be giving away one console via Facebook and Twitter, although details on how to enter are still not confirmed at this stage.

Are you disappointed that you can’t purchase one of these consoles at retail? Share your thoughts below and let us know if you find any other methods to own one of these units within Australia, without having to fork out large wads of cash. Good Luck if you do enter!

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Club Nintendo Australia Updated with Coloured 3DS XL Docking Stands http://www.esperino.com/club-nintendo-australia-updated-with-coloured-3ds-xl-docking-stands http://www.esperino.com/club-nintendo-australia-updated-with-coloured-3ds-xl-docking-stands#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 02:35:05 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22284 Club Nintendo Australia have updated their catalogue with a selection of Nintendo 3DS XL coloured docking stands.

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Available in white, red, blue, green and yellow – these stands are designed specifically for the Nintendo 3DS XL console. This is not to be confused with the recently released New Nintendo 3DS XL console which is not compatible with the stands.

These stands were previously released in Japan, United States and Europe many months ago, and it appears to havee finally trickled down to Australia and New Zealand.

Each stand will cost you 2000 Club Nintendo Points, so if you want all of them, it’s going to cost a cool 10,000 Club Nintendo Points. Place your order via the link here.

I’ve personally purchased a yellow stand and hopefully I can nab a couple more before they sell out. Are these stands enough to make you spend your hard earned Club Nintendo points?

Let us know in the comments down below.

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 Review http://www.esperino.com/pro-evolution-soccer-2015-review http://www.esperino.com/pro-evolution-soccer-2015-review#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 02:22:50 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22262 Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 takes the competition to EA’s FIFA 15 and this year, may be on the verge of snatching away FIFA‘s long-standing mantle as the premier football (soccer) simulator. With a lukewarm reception from FIFA 15 this year, PES 2015 have delivered their strongest contender to date.

Visually, PES 2015 is head and shoulders ahead of FIFA 15 in this department. While FIFA 15 visuals look starkly similar to last years offering, PES 2015 have upped the ante once again producing a beautifully realistic experience.

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Developer: PES Productions
Publisher: Konami
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC, Xbox One (Reviewed), PlayStation 4
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Genre: Sports
Release: (NA) November 11th 2014, (EU) November 13th 2014

Last year’s PES 2014 was a massive improvement but PES 2015 appears to have ironed out much of the flaws, and polished it all out to produce scaringly realistic player models. Looking past cover athlete Mario Götze, even lesser known players look just like their real world counterparts. PES Player ID returns to ensure your favourite players look and behave like themselves all year round with regular updates to their current form and appearance.

Combine these gorgeous models with the reworked gameplay on the field and you have pure magic. Expanding on the intricate refinement from last year, PES 2015 takes intuitive control and mechanics to the next level. Animation sequences are smooth, as is the seamless flow of any given match. Effortless dribbling, responsive ball handling and collision detection makes it equally as enjoyable to watch and play. Matches come alive with attention to detail given to all aspect of the playing field.

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Improved shot control and goal-keeping mechanics is evident, with the power and precision of your moves directly influenced by the player behind the controller. It’s free flowing and unrestricted controls which helps set it apart from the competition, rewarding those dedicated enough to learn the intricacies of the game. It’s a continual step in the right direction which the franchise has been building and evolving upon; year on year. Faithfuls of PES will appreciate the step back to the PES gameplay roots, rather than taking a carbon copy approach of following in FIFA‘s footsteps. The end product is a fluid mix between pin-point control; combined with the unpredictable nature of the beautiful game.

AI opponents and teammates respond intelligently to what’s taking place on-field, behaving reactively to any given situation. Online and offline gameplay are equally as fun to play, particularly alongside a friend in local multi-player for highly competitive matches. Online ranking has been simplified with new Online Divisions, relegation, promotions, and a dedicated 11 versus 11 gaming lobby.

PES 2015 introduces the MyClub mode this year, taking a page out of FIFA‘s Ultimate Team mode. Inherently the same at its core, MyClub will have you building your own team from scratch, recruiting your favourite players to your squad. This doesn’t come cheap if you want to build a dream team of superstars, requiring you to invest hours upon hours of gameplay to earn in-game currency. There is the option to leap frog the grind by spending real cash on microtransactions.

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This isn’t entirely as seedy as it sounds, given it is purely an option and not required to experience the full content PES 2015 has to offer. It simply caters to different player groups, from the hardcore dedicated players to the casual gamer. MyClub is a welcome addition to the franchise, but doesn’t revolutionize the format by any means. If anything, it feels more a case of keeping up with the Jones than anything else.

If MyClub isn’t for you, you’ll be glad to hear Master League and Become a Legend mode makes a return. Although largely the same as the previous year, Konami have instilled a few updates, most notably in their menu system. With the UEFA Champions League being one of their biggest licenses, Konami have gone to lengths to make the most out of the license, making use if anthems and presentation format ripped straight off a telecast. It’s executed remarkably well that some may struggle to distinguish between the two.

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There’s no denying the lack of licensed teams in PES 2015, with some recognisable official teams missing from the game. It’s been an uphill battle for the franchise against the FIFA series littered with licensed teams up the ying-yang. Despite the lack of licenses, PES 2015 does well with what they have, even creating their own team crests and colours to emulate the real deal, without infringing on trademarks.

Despite the omissions, you do gain access to the Europa League, Copa Sudamericana, Recopa Sudamericana and Super Cup, with the Copa Libertadores and Asian Champions League making a return among many others.

Compared with last year, PES 2015 does include more licensing deals, including a day one patch adding new teams, branding and players to the official roster. Of course, if you really want to play as your favourite team omitted from the game, with a little bit of time and creativity, you can re-produce any team you desire.

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 delivers a thrilling soccer simulation that will give the FIFA franchise a run for its money. Those shifting from FIFA to PES 2015 may struggle to grasp the change in mechanics at first, but you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in one of this year’s greatest sports games. Hard work has certainly paid off for Konami with this years revision.

9.0 – Excellent. Fun, enjoyable, engaging, and memorable but is missing that little something that will make it exceptionable. People will fondly talk about this for generations to come.

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Assassin’s Creed: Victory Leaked http://www.esperino.com/assassins-creed-victory-leaked http://www.esperino.com/assassins-creed-victory-leaked#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 22:49:13 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22272 Next year’s entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been leaked early, with Ubisoft confirming Assassin’s Creed: Victory is indeed true.

Assets revealed by Kotaku sounds the new Assassin’s Creed title set in 19th centry London on a Victorian backdrop, hence the name Victory.

Set for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC next autumn, Ubisoft Quebec will be taking the lead on development duties, having previously worked on DLC for Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Reports indicate there will not be a dual release next year, like this year’s Unity and Rogue titles.

Ubisoft have responded to leak, speaking to PCGamer:

“It is always unfortunate when internal assets, not intended for public consumption, are leaked,” Ubisoft said. “And, while we certainly welcome anticipation for all of our upcoming titles, we’re disappointed for our fans, and our development team, that this conceptual asset is now public.

“The team in our Quebec studio has been hard at work on the particular game in question for the past few years, and we’re excited to officially unveil what the studio has been working on at a later date. In the meantime, our number one priority is enhancing the experience of Assassin’s Creed Unity for players.”

Below are series of screenshots from the leak today. For full assets, head over to Kotaku for more information:

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Grand Theft Auto 5 Removed from Target Australia Shelves http://www.esperino.com/grand-theft-auto-5-removed-from-target-australia-shelves http://www.esperino.com/grand-theft-auto-5-removed-from-target-australia-shelves#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 22:07:35 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22269 If you wandered into a Target in Australia and couldn’t find a copy of Grand Theft Auto 5, the reason is more surprising than you think.

Target Australia issued a statement confirming the R-rated video game has been taken off store shelves following angry backlash from customers.

The cause of the removal is GTA V depiction of violence against women in the recently revamped release for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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Why this wasn’t seen as an issue when Grand Theft Auto V launched back in 2013 is the next-generation version now allows players to experience the game from a first-person perspective.

As such, concern has been raised by graphic depiction and altered experience players are able to perform, such as killing a prostitute, or having a sex act performed on your character from a first-person view.

Whether this crosses the line is open to debate, but it seems Target Australia have taken their stance on the matter.

“We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content,” Mr Cooper said.

“We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.

“However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.”

Oddly enough, Target will still continue to sell other R-rated DVDs and games, with only GTA V being targeted (pun unintended) for removal.

So if you’re looking for a copy of Grand Theft Auto V in Australia, you may want to shop elsewhere.

[SOURCE]

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Sony Announces PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition; Limited to 12,300 Units http://www.esperino.com/sony-announces-playstation-4-20th-anniversary-edition-limited-to-12300-units http://www.esperino.com/sony-announces-playstation-4-20th-anniversary-edition-limited-to-12300-units#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 20:43:10 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22264 Sony today announced PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition, to celebrate 20 years of PlayStation.

Limited to 12,300 units worldwide (a number that reflects the launch date of the original PlayStation), the limited edition PS4 will come in an “Original Gray” color, along with a matching DualShock 4 controller, vertical stand and PlayStation Camera, packaged in a special commemorative box.

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The console will sport the familiar cross, square, triangle and circle face buttons, etched into the lower portion of the unit. The logos are also a throwback to the original PlayStation multi-color logos, with each console individually numbered with a commemorative plaque on the lower bottom section.

Sony have also released a set of unboxing videos of the PlayStation 4 20th Anniversary Edition which you can take a look at below:

If you live in the US or Canada, the PS4 20th Anniversary Edition will be available in very limited supply for pre-order starting Saturday, December 6th.

Sony have instructed interested fans to watch the PlayStation Experience keynote starting Saturday morning at 10:00am Pacific Time for more detail.

Since it is limited in production, the 20th Anniversary Edition is reportedly not going to be available via ‘traditional retail channels’ in SCEE regions. More details will be available soon on how to get your hands on one of these.

What do you think of the new console and colour scheme? Will you be adding a new PlayStation 4 to your collection? :)

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Never Alone Review http://www.esperino.com/never-alone-review http://www.esperino.com/never-alone-review#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 00:20:03 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22254 Note: Never Alone throws a major curveball at around the midpoint of the story. As such, light spoilers will be discussed (though not in any detail) due to its influence over the story, as well as the gameplay itself.

Rarely does a game with such potential fail to deliver on the same level as Never Alone. The concept – or at the least one that’s initially presented to you – is fantastic, highlighting the side-scrolling adventure of a little girl in the icy tundra with only an arctic fox for company. It’s an appealing premise, and one that you’ve probably never considered before. Sadly, the game is far better on paper than it is in execution thanks to a number of unwanted factors.

Nuna

Developer: Upper One Games
Publisher: E-Line Media
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed)
Players: Single, Co-operative
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Release: November 18th, 2014

What the game does right, it does in its first half (roughly 60 – 80 minutes long). The tale begins with a little girl, Nuna, setting off on a quest to discover the truth behind a mysterious blizzard. This blizzard plays into the adventure more often than it should, but at least it comes with some form of context. Nuna can use a well-timed jump in tandem with a strong gust of wind, launching herself to platforms that would be otherwise out of reach. She wouldn’t get far without her foxy friend, however, who proves himself a true ally thanks to his courage, agility and spirit powers.

The presentation is actually quite decent. You can’t expect the blockbuster models or dazzling effects of triple-A releases, but Never Alone is consistent in tone and features an effective audio score. The narrator speaks in his native tongue and you’ll find videos dotted around the landscape which might just teach you a thing or two, Discovery Channel-style. The in-game animation is vastly superior to the (mercifully rare) drawn cutscenes, though screen-tearing does occur at questionable moments when there’s very little going on.

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Again, it’s the first hour which will impress the most. You’ll run away in a panic, solve environmental puzzles and genuinely start to enjoy the tale which the adventure seeks to tell. True enough, you’re not getting much variety in terms of setting, but that’s fine for a bite-sized outing with so much atmosphere. Nuna dies with a single hit, but the system makes sense given her youth and fragility in a world of such peril. Switching control between Nuna and the fox works well enough, but the game also touts a two-player mode which is available locally. As the two heroes are always on-screen together, you’ll get a sense that the two of you are about to embark on a grand quest together.

Then you get to the game’s second act; an act which begins with a major disappointment in terms of story and ends horrendously in terms of gameplay. Those who purchased the game for time spent with the fox are in for a shock, as he’s swiftly replaced by an altogether different playable character. A better idea would have been to transform him into another spirit animal (eg. a bird for lofty areas and a bear to break down terrain) and while it’s just an idea I just came up with while playing, it’s infinitely better than what the game ultimately decides on. Much of Never Alone has been derived from arctic folklore, and while this goes some way to explain the odd decision or two, this shift in character remains a problem either way.

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The game itself becomes an irritating mess of unforgiving jumps and woeful trial-and-error. There’s even an invisible timer towards the end, hammering that final nail in Never Alone’s frosty coffin. You’ve got to hand it to the developer in some respects – after all, the team came in with some fresh ideas – but on the other hand, it’s tough to forgive the game such enduring missteps. When you find yourself cursing at the TV then it’s safe to say that most of the magic is lost. That’s not necessarily true of all games mind you, but it certainly applies to what Never Alone aspires to be… a whimsical adventure for the same audience as Journey.

The biggest tragedy of Never Alone is its failure to live up to its own potential, pulling back the curtain for an hour to let you glimpse at what could have been. The idea of blending retro platforming with Inuit folklore is a sound one, and so too are the game’s opening moves. Sadly, Nuna’s story plummets in quality to the point of hair-pulling, teeth-grinding frustration. How no one in development noticed the damage being caused is nothing short of bewildering. I wanted to love Never Alone, but came away simply saying ‘never again’. For the asking price, we all deserve a better adventure than this.

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5.0

5.0 – Average. While it does nothing exceptionally bad, it does nothing exceptionally good either. It may be fun for a while but it will struggle to maintain any interest.

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Samurai Warriors 4 Review http://www.esperino.com/samurai-warriors-4-review http://www.esperino.com/samurai-warriors-4-review#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 23:35:43 +0000 http://www.esperino.com/?p=22250 Koei Tecmo took their time with Samurai Warriors 4 but it’s finally here, just in time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series. It’s been 4 long years in-between the last primary Samurai Warriors title, but this Japanese-themed Musou spawn is definitely worth the wait. Bolstered, enhanced in nearly all facets compared to its predecessors, there’s plenty to experience in the latest entry to the Samurai Warriors franchise.

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Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PS Vita
Players: Single-Player, Co-operative, Multi-Player
Genre: Hack-n-Slash
Release: October 24th, 2014

Set in feudal Japan sometime during the 16th to 17th century, Samurai Warriors 4 combines fact with fiction, romanticizing fabled tales of conflict during the well-known Sengoku warring period. Characters and events have been altered to give greater prominence and effect, so don’t mistakenly misinterpret the game as some form of history lesson. Think of it more as a loosely-based story given the Koei Tecmo interpretation, with outrageous attacks, special moves, garments, and outspoken personalities.

With a total of 55 playable characters, Samurai Warriors 4 packs in more options than any before. There are three new characters introduced to the main franchise from off-shoot series (Munenori Yagyū, Naotora Ii, and Takatora Tōdō), as well as returning characters that didn’t quite make the cut in the Samurai Warriors 3. On top of these inclusions are 9 all-new characters making their debut in a Samurai Warriors title.

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There are a few different gameplay modes to choose from. The campaign or story mode has been re-tweaked with the option to tackle Regional Stories, or a Story of Unification mode which sees you take on the entire land as stages. Free Mode allows you to revisit unlocked stages to unlock even more content. A new Chronicle Mode has been added, borrowing from the Mercenary Mode of Warriors Orochi titles. Chronicle Mode provides greater emphasis on character interaction and development, giving greater freedom for exploration and alliances as your actions will affect affinities and conversations between characters

Dojo Mode opens up a world of customisation for your character, with a compendium of content included such as an officer encyclopaedia, a gallery mode, tutorials and much more. This mode is perfect for fans wanting to explore more of the lore of Samurai Warriors 4 at their own leisure.

Gameplay takes its cues from Samurai Warriors: Chronicles from the Nintendo 3DS, where players can select two characters to engage in battle, switching between either character with a tap of a button. Depending on your pairing and their relationship, new features will open up to you, including new missions should you create a duo with specific affinity towards one another. Co-op mode plays nicely off the twin combination; however the ability to switch between characters is removed. Co-op can also be played online with a friend, which runs fairly trouble-free in my experience. Morale influences the tide of battle much like other Musou titles, with the AI morale taking a hit when a general is defeated on the battlefront.

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Samurai Warriors 4 introduces “Hyper Attack” to the series, a crowd clearing super attack of sorts that disperses enemies quickly, or damages an enemy general with greater efficiency. A special “Mighty Strike” (“Tate”) has been added which essentially is a finishing move with its own unique animation sequences. “Tate” can only be performed on generals by satisfying certain conditions and having an active Tri state. Lots of fun to watch and perform, given all the unique ways the playable characters dispose of their target. “Rage Attack” moves provide a powerful buff and a short period of invulnerability for the cost of a Spirit Gauge, mixing up combat and adding flow to the battle mechanics.

It can become a tad repetitive, as does all hack-n-slash titles tend to be after a few hours of gaming, but I felt Samurai Warriors 4 did a better job with the game mechanics over the recent Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, providing a fresher experience that didn’t quite wear down on a player as quickly.

Level progression for each character appears to require more effort to rank up, with your actions directly influencing the progress of your various stats. Normal attacks, charge attacks, special skills and hyper attacks proficiency can all be increased by utilising the appropriate skillset, giving it a more RPG feel compared with its predecessors.

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Further customisation is available via rare items known as “Heirloom” (kahou), which can be used in the heat of battle to heal damage or improve a character. These items are reusable, however are specific to a particular character that you will need to earn through defeating generals by completing set objectives. Armor has been removed but you do still have access to stat buff items, as well as the return of weapon forging for upgrading your equipment. Weapons have attributes which can be unlocked by using a rare gem granting them improved stats, or alternatively you strengthen attributes in another weapon by applying and reforging it.

The soundtrack for Musou titles has always been a standout, with catchy melodies adopting an East meets Pop/Rock vibe. Samurai Warriors 4 is no different, with a healthy dose of new and familiar tunes, perfect for getting the adrenaline pumping. The sound bytes of raw steel clanging against forged blades and armour add to the immersive quality.

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Samurai Warrior 4 is the most complete offering in the series so far, rivalling the likes of Koei Tecmo bread winning Dynasty Warrior series. It may have been a long-time coming, but fans of the Japanese-inspired Musou title will find plenty to do, pack with loads of ways to experience a broad range of characters, rich stories and addictive gameplay done in a way that only Omega Force know how.

8.0 – Great. An enjoyable experience, fans and newcomers of the genre will be entertained. Any noticeable flaws are largely outweighed by the positives.

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