Also On: PS4, PS3
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Medium: Digital/Vita Card/Disc
Your opinion on Samurai Warriors 4 — at least on the Vita — will be dictated entirely by your feelings on draw distances.
Now, before I go any further, I just want to acknowledge how pretentious that previous sentence is, and how it’s never something I thought I’d find myself writing. After all, most of the time, I don’t care about that kind of stuff — as far as I’m concerned, as long as the game doesn’t crash on start-up and isn’t eye-bleedingly hideous, I’m good.
For Samurai Warriors 4, though, draw distance is actually a big deal. After all, the Warriors series in general — be it Samurai Warriors, Dynasty Warriors, One Piece Pirate Warriors, whatever — is all about hacking and slashing your way through hundreds, if not thousands, of enemies. There are obviously stabs (pardon the unintentional pun) at a story, but those have generally been secondary to mowing down wave after wave of bad guys.
What’s notable about Samurai Warriors 4 on the Vita isn’t that the gameplay has changed all that much — it’s basically identical to every other entry in the series — but rather, that it doesn’t try to show those waves upon waves. You’ll see them on your map, and they show up the moment you’ve flown through the preceding wave and moved one step in any direction, but when you’re actually focused on one set of enemies, that’s all you focus on for that moment.
While this will probably annoy some people — the sort of people who care about pop-in and draw distance and all that — I have to think it’s a good move. As someone who has suffered through some pretty terrible graphics on previous Warriors games on the Vita, I welcome this concession to the smaller screen and less powerful hardware (at least compared to the PS4). It looks a lot nicer, it makes the screen a lot less cluttered, and it makes it possible to enjoy the game without fighting against lousy graphics (which, to me at least, was one of the big problems of some of the more recent Warriors games on the Vita).
Apart from that change, of course, this is everything you could come to expect from one of these games, for better and for worse. It’s not going to wow you with new gameplay, and if you’re in the mood for anything cerebral, you’ll want to look elsewhere. For what it is, however, it’s a pretty solid game, and for anyone wanting a genuinely strong Warriors/musou game on the go, Samurai Warriors 4 is definitely it.