Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes Hands-On

Fight through swarms of enemy soldiers in the latest installment in the hack-and-slash series.

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Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes
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We had a chance to get a brief taste of the latest game in the Sengoku Basara series (initially known as Devil Kings in North America), and it's just as heavy on the action as its predecessors. Of course, the big difference between Samurai Heroes and those games is that Samurai Heroes features a mode called Hero's Story. This mode essentially makes the overall battle a little bit more dynamic, because the choices you make affect how the battle pans out as well as your relationships with enemy battlefield commanders. Additionally, natural resources also play a big role in the game. If you capture an area with these items and resources, you can then use them to upgrade your weapons and other equipment.

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As for the action, the controls are incredibly responsive and the action is fluid. In the level we played (which took place along the coast of Japan), we had no problems immediately jumping in and clearing out dozens upon dozens of enemies within a matter of minutes as we made our way to the final target. Naturally, we encountered more than just foot soldiers--we were also met with groups of shielded warriors, archers, and big brutes that pack a serious punch. As we progressed through the level and cleared out these enemies, we stumbled upon an area where you have to take out an object called the solar nexus. This object projects a beam of light down onto the battlefield that can actually hurt you, so in addition to fighting all of the enemies in the area, you have to remain mindful of the horrible death ray. If you want, you can avoid killing some of the enemies in the area and go right for the warrior guarding the solar nexus, but in the process of doing so, you lose the opportunity to build up energy in a meter that lets you execute special attack combinations.

You already have quite a few combos at your disposal no matter which of the numerous characters you choose to play as, but--as we found out--these special combos are invaluable in certain situations. Or to be more specific, we made extensive use of a special combo during the boss battle for this particular level. The bosses in Samurai Heroes are far stronger than any of the normal enemies in the game, and they definitely put your skills to the test--mashing buttons and hoping for the best won't necessarily produce the best results. In fact, we found ourselves relying heavily on the special combo, to the extent that we would use it and then kill some of the weaker enemies to charge the meter back up before engaging the boss again. After several minutes, we were victorious, and our demo ended.

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Needless to say, if you're a fan of the previous games in the series, you'll probably dig Samurai Heroes. There's plenty of action, and there seems to be just the right amount of extra content to keep battles interesting. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes is scheduled for release on the PlayStation 3 and Wii on October 1.

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