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REVIEW: Samurai Warriors 5 – Stylish Battles Await



Published by: Koei Tecmo
Developed by: Omega Force
Platform(s): PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One
Genre(s): Hack-And-Slash
90/ 100

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Stylish aesthetic, hearty content, and new mechanics to keep players going.


Main campaign is shorter than previous entries.

Bottom Line

The Sengoku era never looked this stylish.

Posted July 28, 2021 by


We gotta admit: The Musou formula popularized by Omega Force through the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors titles still manages to produce exhilarating battles up to this very day. While the one-versus-one-hundred hack-and-slash mechanic tends to get repetitive at times, each SW entry debuted something unique and refreshing for players to enjoy.

This is where Samurai Warriors 5 comes in. Taking storyline beats from Spirit of Sanada and artistic cues from Age of Calamity, the latest addition to the Musou franchise brings a vivid and visual refresh to the long-running series.

The Flames of War Spark Anew


Based on the Sengoku (Warring States) era of Japanese history, Samurai Warriors 5 follows the rise and fall of “Demon King” Nobunaga Oda, a fierce warlord and the first “great unifier” of Japan. The main campaign diverges into two paths, as the game chronicles the events that led into the infamous Battle of Honnoji through the eyes of Nobunaga and his vassal-turned-rival, Mitsuhide Akechi.

Unlike previous SW titles, Samurai Warriors 5 takes a different approach by limiting the game’s roster to personalities involved in the story and adding new characters and storylines to build further depth to Nobunaga’s tale. While it covers more obscure historical ground, the tunnel-vision focus on Nobunaga and Mitsuhide’s respective stories cuts off the main campaign’s overall playtime. Fortunately, it does not prove detrimental to the game’s experience.


The game boasts a huge chunk of content to make up for the shortened span of the main campaign. Completing the main campaign will unlock more missions and stories, and those are on top of Mitsuhide’s and assorted side missions not required to reach the end credits. While mission variety and challenge felt lacking, there are reasons to replay stages to complete every objective and shoot for S rankings, which are actually tied to opening up some of the post-game content.

SW5 features a roster of 38 characters, each with different abilities, weapons, and attributes. Some characters have synergy with one another, while some prove more effective against certain types of enemies and conditions. For example, Hideyoshi Toyotomi is useful as an aerial battler, mowing down troops with his polearm with relative ease. On the other hand, Tokugawa Ieyasu is a speedy character capable of stringing long combos via his dual blades. Opportunities to play as one of the other 37 characters pop up from time to time, but most levels require spending time as the main heroes on the first playthrough.


Omega Force also took it further and redesigned all of the major characters included in the game. Ieyasu was given a youthful look to fit his actual age during the story, while Nobunaga and Mitsuhide received shonen-trope designs to highlight the contrast of their personalities. The cel-shaded aesthetic also looked great, as each color popped out really well along with the game’s woodblock print-style art. It is truly the visual refresh every Musou fan needed. You may want to play the game in docked mode to maximize the experience though, as some assets aren’t detailed when shown in handheld mode.

New Battles, New Mechanics


Samurai Warriors 5 makes smart enhancements to the tried-and-tested Musou playstyle. Aside from the usual array of light and heavy attacks, special combos, and Hyper Attacks, players may now assign a set of four Ultimate Skills on every character. The skills are weapon-specific, and provide characters with various effects such as stat buffs, healing, or powered attacks. On lower difficulties, the attack boosts and Musou gauge refills can make levels even easier than expected, but the extra moves do keep fights interesting. It also lets you save the flashy Musou attacks for boss battles, which just feels right.


Interestingly, the manner Omega Force promotes the usage of these new moves can slow down the combat experience. To be specific, certain grunts can easily knock back normal attacks and will only fall to Ultimate Skill attacks. It’s a small roadblock because such grunts can break up your momentum, but in a way, they also present a good chunk of challenges for players to overcome.

The game also showcases a new mechanic called Citadel Mode. It is a small-scale defense mode that allows players to deploy a party of two warriors to defend a base from sieging troops. Pairing certain characters during the said mode will also produce support conversations similar to the vein of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Missions under Citadel Mode will reward players with resources to enhance their characters and weaponry.


Omega Force also added new options to strengthen and grind characters through the Dojo. Players may manage each character’s skill tree the way they see fit. They can also change the character’s equipment and enhance his/her weapon mastery. The Blacksmith mode, on the other hand, allows players to upgrade or dismantle weapons for extra resources and money.


Building up your Dojo and Blacksmith allows you to further customize characters, weapons, and even your trusty steed. The usefulness of all these upgrades vary, but you’ll definitely want to at least spend points as you accrue them after each fight. Later upgrades, including the ability to charge up multiple Musou attacks, are ideal if you wish to survive through the campaign’s endgame stages.

A Stylish Addition to the Musou Franchise

In conclusion, Samurai Warriors 5 is the stylish Musou title every fan of the franchise has hoped for. The game won’t shock anyone who’s played one of Omega Force’s Warriors games before, but it does present a great new aesthetic, hearty content, and enough over-the-top action to keep you coming back.

Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.