Review by Lord Omega Yagami

Reviewed: 03/20/06

Samurai Style. Ninja Style. Pocket Style.

I have always been a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors games, and even more so for Samurai Warriors games. I have also been a PSP owner since day one. Yet, I hesitated to buy Dynasty Warriors for the PSP. I just figured it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good. But after playing Samurai Warriors: State of War, I now know that Koei’s signature series is just fine for the PSP.

If you didn’t know, Samurai Warriors is a huge scale action game where the greatest warriors in Japan’s history duke it out. Be prepared to slash your way through hundreds of enemies in your quest to unify Japan.

While State of War on the PSP may look identical to the PS2 version from a couple years ago, it plays completely different. Instead of one big battle, you have a number of smaller battles. In the smaller battles, you have objectives that you must complete quickly, such as defeat all the reserve captains, protect your base, or kill as many people as possible in a minute. These smaller battles are connected by a map grid. Every turn, you can move so many spaces, and you have to plot out your plan, thus giving the game a much better strategic feel than normal. I really like it.

Also, the skill system is quite different. You learn skills from beating hard opponents, and then you level them up by earning Musou KOs. Weapons are done the same way, but the items are gone. There is also no more bows or arrows (for you at least), but that isn’t too bad since they are pretty useless in SW anyways.

One of the new things added are spells. When you are on the map before battle starts, you may cast spells to do stuff like heal you, attack the enemy beforehand, or hinder one’s movement. This fits the strategy element great. Another thing that has changed a bit are the sub generals. Well, they act pretty much the same way, but there are a lot more. More than two hundred of them. Not only that, but expect to see some familiar faces from Dynasty Warriors in them.

One of the main complaints that has haunted the PSP are its load times. Well SW doesn’t have that problem. There is a load time at the beginning of each battle that isn’t bad at all, and then you’ll never see another load screen until you win the entire battle. That is pretty nice considering how much you will be going between the map screen and battle screens. Another complaint dealing with this series is slowdown and bad frame rate. Sadly, this is still a problem to some extent. But it is better than normal since you are dealing with only small portions of the map at once. And while the visible distance is pretty bad, it can display plenty of characters on screen at once, probably even more than the console versions. And unlike DWPSP, this is completely in widescreen.

If you are looking for good graphics, look else where. They look identical to the game from two years ago, and that didn’t look so hot for its time either. However, this game dos have the best voice acting by far of any of the other Dynasty Warriors games (Note: This game has no voice acting).

All and all, this is a great game for Dynasty/Samurai Warrior vets. And it works really good on the PSP. However, if you don’t like the series, there’s no way you would like this one. Also, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who has never played the series. But for people well broken in, I highly recommend this title for some good old shogun slashing, ninja battling, warlord unifying action on the go.

Positive: Plenty of Sub Generals to Unlock
Negative: Be prepared to play the same mission a bunch of times
Final Score:9 out of 10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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