A Warrior is Worth a Thousand KOs: The Musou Franchise


#1

What is the Musou Franchise?

Sometimes better known in the west as Warriors games, this series focuses on putting your character on a field with hundreds (and later, thousands) of enemies and a set of objectives that involve you beating them up. The series started off being inspired by the tradition of over-the-top martial arts media- appropriate to the setting of feudal China in the original Dynasty Warriors.

In addition to the generally solid beat 'em up gameplay, success is rewarded with character progression through RPG leveling and loot systems. Elements such as crafting and skill loadouts would also make appearances as the franchise matured.

Over time, the combat has grown to incorporate an almost anime-esque set of ridiculous movesets and powers. With the series’ newfound panache for crossing over with anime (Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, One Piece Pirate Warriors, Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, etc.) and video games (Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes), this comparison becomes even more direct.

While the original Dynasty Warriors: Gundam mostly uses the trappings of Gundam as window dressing, later Gundam titles and other spinoffs would find ways to turn those trappings into actual, appreciable gameplay differences.

Anyways, I love this series a lot. There’s just the right combination of action gameplay with an addictive numbers game of leveling up and getting better equipment/skills. There certainly are a lot of games that don’t benefit from yearly releases, but I like how quickly Omega Force iterates and experiments with various systems with spinoffs, then goes on to incorporate those back into the mainline franchise.

So:

  • Which games are your favorites?
  • What show/game do you think deserves the Musou treatment, and how would it stand out?
  • Whose movesets are the best?
  • Why is Red Hare the best horse?
  • Did Lu Bu marry YOUR character? He married mine. He gave me Red Hare. This isn’t really a question.

#2

There ain’t no party like a Musou party because in a Musou Party

YOU ARE A TRUE WARRIOR OF THE THREE KINGDOMS

#3

I really want a Power Rangers Musou. Maybe they’ll port the Gundam Musou to PC eventually, too. I can dream, right?

I’m also curious on how people have found the Attack on Titan Musou? I’ve considered buying it whenever it goes on sale, as the concept seems pretty unique for a musou game - but at the same time, I’m pretty hesitant as they can be quite hit or miss.


#4

Power Rangers Musou would be REALLY GOOD, but it would actually be Super Sentai Musou and it would never get localized because Haim Saban seems thoroughly committed to mediocre video games. On the other hand, if it’s on Switch I can just import it :money_with_wings:

Anyway, I like Hyrule Warriors a lot. The only other Musou I’ve actually played myself (I don’t count my roommate in college playing various Musou titles non-stop in the background for 2 years) was the Fist of the North Star one, and while that was fun, it really cut back on the point control aspects in favor of being just a ridiculous brawler. As such, I was pleasantly surprised by the situational awareness required in later stages of Hyrule Warriors.


#5

I started Hyrule Warriors Legends recently and hoo boy, that game demands you actually be on top of things more than any other Musou title. I really dig it. Though I gotta say, Impa’s moveset feels… weird? Like Kunoichi’s moveset in Warriors Orochi 3, you can tell that it needs to be leveled up more because it seems to cut off at a real in-betweener move. But also like Kunoichi, the rest of the moveset is really badass and great.

Adventure Mode is also really cool. Legends is one of the more loaded games in the series, and that’s BEFORE you count the DLC. Also, the season pass for Legends is like $15, which is the most reasonable Musou DLC pricing ever. I suspect that’s Nintendo’s doing.

A Super Sentai Musou sounds good… hopefully it’s better than the Kamen Rider Battride War series. There is just someone off about every game in that series, whether it’s 2’s Sonic 2006 loading times or Genesis and its bosses with dumb regenerating barriers. Also the fact that the motorcycles appear to have no effects? Like c’mon, the horses in the other games are totally badass, y’all can make a motorcycle cool.


#6

From what I hear, the Attack on Titan game has a unique feel, what with the boosting and grappling, but you do have to ice a LOT of titans in the missions. So it sounds like the 3DS AoT game, Humanity in Chains, but with 10x the kills required to progress. But I wouldn’t be opposed to nabbing it at a super-cheap price point.


#7

Never have I ever Mused a Sou, but wanna point out DW8XL, DW8E, SW4-II are on sale on Steam right now.


#8

One thing worth mentioning: buyer beware with Koei’s PC ports. Those three work, though the PS4 versions of all of those look and generally run better (actually part of the reason I even got a PS4). Still, Steam sales for Koei stuff happen way more than the blue moon PSN sales for the same games/DLC!

On top of all that, the Koei Wikia is a pretty good resource for looking up the differences between games. Only Samurai Warriors 4-II is on Steam, but if you have a PS4/Vita and are curious about the differences, they list them all out.


#9

I’ve only ever played Hyrule Warriors, but I found it really fun. People don’t give those games enough credit for doing a simple gameplay style so well. It’s just too bad Samurai Warriors 4: Empires isn’t on Steam, though. That one looks really cool.


#10

Yeah, it’s really bizarre that the only Samurai Warriors game on Steam is one without a create-a-character story in it, considering that series’ history. 2 lacked it in the original, but it also had one of the best Empires spinoffs of any Musou.


#11

I recently mentioned this in another thread but give me a wild west warriors game. Hell, branch out to other time periods. Give me the Civil Warriors.


#12

I’ve made this joke elsewhere, but it is pretty telling that there’s a Musou equivalent to most of Koei’s strategy games except for Gemfire (generic fantasy, I’d say Bladestorm covers it despite not being a Musou), Genghis Khan, and Liberty or Death.

Imagine beating guys up with a giant quill as John Hancock. They could call the musou attacks Patriot Actions.


#13

A Musou set during the 30 years war could be interesting. Possibly a part of history less people would be familiar with than the Romance of the Three Kingdoms or the Sengoku Jidai.

A Musou game about Journey to the West though… Even if it was just Monkey’s part with a lot of embellishment. That’d be swell.


#14

Yeah, there’s been a lot of praise for how Guts’ abilities grow over time in Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, which got me thinking that they really could make a game that has just 1 or 2 playable characters who change/grow over time. The new Sanada-focused Samurai Warriors game sorta teased that, but it still has a pretty big cast (probably because it tied in with a new TV drama).

Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce also proved that they can do online co-op games and I really wish they’d make a successor to Phantasy Star Online. Hell, make Phantasy Star Heroes with a bunch of series stalwarts in a story mode, then toss in a create-a-character mode that echoes PSO.


#15

A single character focused beat em up where we see them grow as we play is basically just a character action game. That’s basically just Devil May Cry.


#16

I mean, it would still have the balance and structure of a Musou game.


#17

The only Musou game I have is Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, but it’s such a ridiculously fun game that I not only want to recommend it to everyone, but I want to play other games in the series as well.


#18

Hyrule Warriors being so good is part of why I’m super excited for Fire Emblem Warriors. Also the fact that I’ve been saying Fire Emblem would be a perfect fit for a Musou crossover ever since Hyrule Warriors was announced.

I should get back into playing Legends. It was a really good cathartic de-stresser after work. I just remember slamming into a brick wall near the end of the Wind Waker map.

On the other hand I tried both Dynasty Warriors 8 and Dragon Quest Heroes and neither of them really clicked with me, which makes me think it’s the Nintendo fanboy in me that is actually enjoying these games, not because I’m actually into Musou-style games…


#19

I still have to go into the deep end of Hyrule Warriors. I haven’t touched the Adventure map or any of the DLC. I have a really embarrassing Wii U backlog that I’ll never finish before the Switch drops in 3 weeks because I fell down a PC gaming hole.


#20

The adventure map hides like all the weapons, costumes and character upgrades. It’s like the real meat of the game.