Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes Hands-On Impressions

Who says feudal Japan never had feathered hair and red leather jackets?

The nation of Japan is a complex place--a vibrant melting pot of old and new that can be hard for an outsider to fully understand. But in the world of games, one thing is obvious: the Japanese sure do love the hack-and-slash action genre. We've seen it for years with the long-running Dynasty Warriors franchise, a series that may not move quite as many units stateside as it does in Japan, but still has a decent amount of name recognition over here. Less recognizable is Capcom's Sengoku Basara franchise. The first game in the series was released in North America as Devil Kings in 2005, but the myriad sequels--which have been turned into popular anime and manga spin-offs--came out only in Capcom's native Japan. Five years later, North Americans will get their taste of Sengoku Basara's more historically playful and oftentimes humorous take on button-mashing action when Samurai Heroes is released this fall.

The Dynasty Warriors comparison is apt insofar as Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes lets you play as a single character capable of dispatching dozens of enemies at a time. It's a combo-driven combat system where you play with the rhythm of light and heavy attacks to maneuver through castles and fortresses filled with all manner of enemy grunts. The main differences here are the stylized anime aesthetic and the focus on distinct personalities within the game's roster of playable characters. There are four main characters, who represent different warring factions seeking to bring Japan together under their own terms: Ieyasu Tokugawa, Mitsunari Ishida, Masamune Date, and Yukimura Sanada.

Each character has his own distinct look and weaponry. Mitsunari might hold the world record for the most immaculately maintained hair in all of 16th-century feudal Japan with his forward-combed lock of periwinkle bangs, while Yukimura seems to have somehow managed to time travel to the 1980s to obtain the exact red leather jacket Michael Jackson wore in the "Thriller" music video. As for weaponry, Ieyasu fights purely with his hands and is quite fond of shouting "May my fists unite us all!" while Yukimura carries not one, not two, but six katanas at once. Other weapons include options like dual spears and period-specific guns.

We had an opportunity to play through one of the game's stages, an area called Flooding Ueda Castle. In cycling through the faces on the character select screen, we asked but a simple question: Does one of these guys carry more swords than he has limbs to hold them with? Yes? Then we'll play as that guy. And so we went with Yukimura and his ridiculous belt of six swords. (Coincidentally, we asked producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi why he stopped at just six swords. It turns out that that's the most you can reasonably squeeze between the spaces on your fingers in order to swing them about like a maniacal samurai version of Wolverine. Makes sense.)

We're not sure where in the campaign the Flooding Ueda Castle stage is pulled from, but we were able to proceed through it without too much of a hassle. It didn't take much time to get a good grasp of how best to alternate between light and heavy attacks to keep waves of grunts at bay and the best time to use the Basara Art special attack (which is powered by a gauge that fills up as you defeat enemies) in order to take care of the bigger enemies and bosses. Enemy grunts are basic samurai and ninja types, heavy grunts lumber around with massive weapons like sledgehammers and spinning drills, and bosses include the other guys from the playable character screen. There was also an interesting miniboss fight against a guy with a "shadow clone technique" that let him create copies of himself to torment us during the fight.

OK, so maybe no one dressed like this in feudal Japan. But they should have!

All in all, Sengoku Basara doesn't feel remarkably different from other games in this particular genre. It's pretty easy to coast through long stretches of battles with little more than button mashing, though the boss encounters do throw quite a bit of difficulty your way from time to time. The one big thing working in the game's favor, though, is the distinct personalities of those characters, which are all quite eccentric in their own ridiculous ways. If all this sounds like your type of game, expect to see Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes released on the PlayStation 3 and Wii this fall.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

71 comments
McLoven92
McLoven92

wait Yukimura is the dude with the dual spear things? and Date Masamune is the dude with the six swords. My bad just some nerdy corrections to the text

Gaoth
Gaoth

I like a lot the series. Had the chance to play the Sengoku Basara 2 Heroes for PS2 and it is awesome! Sad that this third installment of the main series won't have Frost (Uesugi Kenshin).. ..but at least 'Ishida Mitsunari' seems fast and cool too ^_^ Probably gonna play only on a Wii.. ;~

wahyudil
wahyudil

next sengoku basara , wow .... and it for wiiiii ... yipiiiii

chazy035
chazy035

"Expectations? I'd keep them low if I were you" (hint) gamespot slipped that in there on purpose for you all. so let me say this again from my previous post: is that it? looks like capcom picked up some unemployed KOEI ppls. I like the way the baddies fly up in the air in sychronous and the horses too. (and the voice acting. it's ICHIGO! duh) this game looks like it has full of substance for your parents buck... and. Why does the chinese/japan continue to sell-out to a cool-looking feudal wars over and over again. American history should sell-out too! (generally americans are sell-outs). "The American Revolutionary Saiyan Warriors!" "Super Sioux Soldier wars 1876!" OR "Civil Bayonet Battle Bout War! 15 final" "Dynasty Bigwig battles" (i made that one up) etc..etc.. ...yea...with ichigo's (as Paul Revere) and gokus voice (as General Custer)acting and some colorful characters. ...ya...!

samusownsyou123
samusownsyou123

I agree, the AI doesn't look great, but the levels and characters(especially the latter of which) look very interesting, and if Capcom can clean up the AI, this good be a very good game.

elizabethtroubl
elizabethtroubl

Looks interesting enough. I wonder how much different this would be from the DW games...?

QtrArt
QtrArt

best game of warrior

xFusiionx
xFusiionx

The A.I. looks awful, it's the only thing that gets to me about these kind of games. If they improved it Dynasty Warriors (and this) would be a lot better!

lexluis
lexluis

The enemige A.I. is incredibly dumb in this kind of games, they just stand next to you waiting for you to crush them. Sometimes, if they feel like it, they fight back but all they do is ONE HIT and then they stand there doing nothing again. Yes they are just generic henchmen they are supose to be weak and numerous but take a look on any other game: they attack more ofthen, team up for a better stand and some of them us their emviroment to gain advantage in battle. But in this game the word is flat and everyone is staring at you while you're killing them.

S4s4s
S4s4s

wow, this game is amazing.......i should buy this one

roge666
roge666

Masamune uses 6 swords, not Yukimura

AirWolfe591
AirWolfe591

The only Sengoku Basara game I played was Sengoku Basara X, the 2D fighter. I didn't know much about it just randomly playing it at the arcade, but the characters abilities and such were pretty cool and this looks like it'll be a nice port. Get a different name aside from Dynasty Warriors on the shelves for this play style. Hope it turns out good!

Jaden_Arbiter
Jaden_Arbiter

Oh come on -- it's not coming out until Fall? I played Sengoku Basara 2: Heroes back in 2007 or so and I still have to wait at least another six months now? That sucks. Capcom needs to release it already to dissuade Koei from releasing more of their mediocre to average video games that are a decade behind. Someone needs to teach them how to actually use someone else's IP for once, but knowing Koei, they'll probably never improve.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

Now that looks cool. I never really liked dynasty warrior gameplay; however, this game looks pretty unique and interesting. I would to see how boss battles look.

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

Woah, this sounds like Samurai Warriors......ON CRACK!

lowkey254
lowkey254

I had Devil Kings, I had fun. I won't import this though. It's a good game but not worth the import money.

lowkey254
lowkey254

I had Devil Kings, I had fun. I won't import this though. It's a good game but not worth the import money.

wexorian
wexorian

junk it's dynasty wariors lol

SmartGhost
SmartGhost

Frost dont screw up frost and puff i own this game on ps2 for years this is a great game

oin
oin

Yukimura! Oyakata-sama! Yukimura!! Oyakata-sama!! YUKIMURA!!! OYAKATA-SAMA!!!

hadoooo
hadoooo

sorry but to me the's stubet game

ireland505
ireland505

so basically Devil Kings for next gen

sochio
sochio

i sold my dynasty warior 6 :( this looks great

neoand12
neoand12

Thank you I been a Fan of Dynasty warriors games but this one is more my style and really look better just give it online please! I really hated DW: Strikeforce for such a big let down in that area.

KingAmeboid
KingAmeboid

Looks alright, but I will definately wait for a review, to many WII fighting games have terrible controls.

joeisnub
joeisnub

Hopefully this game will put Dynasty Warriors out of it's misery.

OmegaAxl
OmegaAxl

Are you ready guys? Show Guns Up! Also Date Masamune has six swords, Yukimura has 2 Lances

johny300
johny300

better than dinasty warriors.

elliotben
elliotben

does yukimura hold 6 katanas??not date masamune?? =.=

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

I liked the Original on the PS2, am very interested in this.

freema
freema

Not impressed. Guess it's just not for me.

imperatusignis
imperatusignis

I became interested on this because of the design of the white haired guy but as soon I saw Ieyasu Tokugawa I sayd, this game gonna sucks then I saw it's more Dynasty Warriors, wrote this and close this window

sickorange
sickorange

"Are you ready, gaiz?" LOL where's Masamune's motorhorse? This game is different from Dynasty Warriors in the sense that Sengoku BASARA (yes, it even has the capslock) doesn't take itself seriously and there's a lot of hot-blooded characters with ridiculous weapons/appearances/fighting styles etc. "Let's party!" :D

Lanjin
Lanjin

That dude does a shoryuken ON 15 PEOPLE AT A TIME! Gotta buy this game just for that.

Lord_Daemon
Lord_Daemon

Oh wow great news! I very much enjoyed Devil Kings and so I'm very much looking forward to playing some more Basara games.

Zabimaru1
Zabimaru1

Oh wow, PS3 and Wii. Amazing. I hope that the Wii version will be good too, and not only PS3 version. The wii version will probarly play better with a Gamecube/Classic controller, which I will get depends which the game needs :3 Come on, this is like PS2 era games, the ones we played a while ago without thought, it's gonna be awesome xD

glitchgeeman
glitchgeeman

ARE YOU READ GUYS!? PUT YA GUNS ON! But yeah, small correction. The samurai with 6 swords is Masamune Date. Yukimura is the one with two spears and an undying devotion to Takeda Shingen. Also, don't judge this game based on Dynasty Warriors. DW is content to stagnate, but Sengoku Basara more than makes up in its hack n' slash gameplay with its utterly ridiculous premise. I mean, the 6 swords and dual-wielding spears should've tipped you off. If that doesn't, then knowing that there's a samurai Gundam (you heard me correctly) in the game should.

S0mEGuY12
S0mEGuY12

Please don't tell me that Yukimura is voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch....No matter what, I seem to recognize his voice ANYWHERE whenever he is voicing a character..

siaso
siaso

I GOT BOORED FROM JUST WATCHING THE VID!!

cj7ellis
cj7ellis

This game does not look that good. It reminds me of another dynasty warriors with less characters.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Highly doubt that Japan had this stuff there. They would stand out from everybody though. Very weird