A Warrior is Worth a Thousand KOs: The Musou Franchise


I love Musou games even though I haven’t played a lot of them! Back in the day when I had an xbox (middle school I think, wowza) I played Dynasty Warrior 3 constantly. I adored it. Years later when I no longer had a working xbox I got Dynasty Warriors 4 for the PS2. I didn’t play it as much as 3 (or love it as much) but I had a fun time with it. Then I got Hyrule Warriors when it came out because LoZ is my fav franchise. It’s so fun and I love it so much. I finished the story ages ago and finished the adventure map a few months back but I’m still working on the other maps. Some of them are tough but I love playing dress up in video games so I’m determined to get every costume!


As someone who hasn’t seriously played a Musou since the first Samurai Warriors, are any of the games in the Steam sale a good reentry point?


I’d say go with DYNASTY WARRIORS 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition.

Though currently I found Hyrule Warriors to be top tier on Warriors games so if you can get that then grab it instead.


Ultimate’s a great game! Orochi 1 is, I think, still the best starting point for people new to the franchise (especially since it has the goofy English voiceovers).


I spent way too much time playing Orochi 2 to unlock skills from each character. I never finished it.


Agreed, 8XLCE is a great choice. The main reason the PS4 version is better is that the PC version uses the PS3 character models for some reason (possibly to allay performance issues). Samurai Warriors 4-II uses PS4 models but lacks certain effects and shaders from that version, making it look more barren, but overall it plays well. 8 Empires is a solid game, but considering the first Musou I bought was 5 Empires, I can say that it’ll feel rather confusing and chaotic to get into without context.

Toukiden and Bladestorm are not Musous, but while I’m at it, don’t bother with either of them. There’s a really high chance that they’ll run poorly or not at all. Shame DQ Heroes isn’t on sale- it has higher requirements than it probably needs, but it’s a really good port. Especially when you consider that both Koei Tecmo AND Square-Enix are often bad about that.


I lost my save data to a hard drive crash (I was playing via emulator) but I hear you on that. It’s a neat addendum, but you can tell it wasn’t a numbered sequel in Japan for a reason.


Honestly? I think that means they’re handling their tie-ins correctly. I enjoy all of them, but I figure for most folks they will get maybe one or two and they’re good. That’s why it’s good that they’re so packed with stuff to do (though I hear Arslan is lacking somewhat in that department without DLC).


Recently I faffed about with Dynasty Warriors 1, cause I remember playing a demo of it back in the day. Boy oh boy there’s definitely a reason why they upped and changed the title in Japan afterwards.

That being said, was the MMO any good?


Based on everything I’ve seen, it’s not really worth the effort. I’d recommend the PS3/360 version of Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce. Barring that, you can get the PSP version on PSN and it runs on the Vita, though you can also emulate it. It’s a much more unique online-focused game. Online itself is just too similar to the mainline series. And if you want character customization, DW5/6/8 Empires and SW2/4 Empires are all better choices.


There’s now footage of the English version of Berserk and the Band of the Hawk. (Content warning: there is the suggestion of one of the scenes of sexual violence from Berserk, though it doesn’t actually play out. And yeah, I’m pretty pissed that they decided to include this in a goddamn Musou game.)

Most notably different from the Japanese version is the greatly increased level of blood, which does set the presentation apart from previous games, even the similarly-violent Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage. It kinda reminded me of the mass of damage number popups in Dragon Quest Heroes, just with blood instead of fun balloon text.


Man, Berserk—both the game and the series in general—has a lot of cool elements, but the pervasive sexual violence is -100% to my interest level.


So other than the sexual violence, that looked pretty good. Combat looked properly weighty, and that second map looked pretty cool.


Yeah, it’s weird that they used post-eclipse Guts, during the eclipse, for the tutorial, and that they didn’t call the Frenzy mode, well, Berserk mode? It’s right there, y’all. But it is neat to see that kind of narrative structure applied to a Musou. The added blood actually helps the weight- the Japanese version was lacking a certain something visually.


Yeah and the thing is, they could have excised it entirely for this game! It’s not like Dynasty Warriors Gundam takes time out to focus on Amuro becoming alienated from his parents. Hell, One Piece Pirate Warriors leaves out a lot of the silly slice-of-life stuff and just throws tons of nonsense proper nouns at you during the briefings.

Including those scenes with Casca and Farnese AND presenting it as somehow salacious when even the source material didn’t is incredibly stupid to say the least. All this on top of Farnese not even being playable but fucking Wyald is. A demon so shitty he got killed before the story even reaches the arc with the demons. No Skull Knight either, but we gotta get in that sexual violence! I feel Tecmo’s creeping influence into the Koei side on this one.


As a palate cleanser: Oda Nobunyaga in Musou ☆ Stars.

I love that the star symbol is part of the official title.


Oh my god I love that, other than being a cat, Nobunyaga is completely serious. He’s got a deep voice and everything!


I am On Board for cat combat.


Well, I wasn’t entirely expecting this, but Sengoku Musou: Sanada Maru, a tie-in with a Japanese TV series, is coming west as Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada!

The most interesting thing about it is that the camp segments are now towns surrounded with a mini open world of sorts, which should be an interesting preview of what they’re planning for Dynasty Warriors 9. Sanada Maru was on PS3/4/Vita, but Spirit of Sanada looks to be a PS4/Steam release. Little bit odd for Koei to entirely skip Vita for a Samurai Warriors title when Toukiden 2 is getting a full-fledged physical release- Dragon Quest Heroes II skipping Vita was Square-Enix’s decision.


Just inject Musou Stars directly into my veins, Koei.