TGS 2008: Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin Hands-On

We report for duty in the second Warriors Orochi game to come to the PSP.

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It's no secret that developer Koei has found a specific niche with its many Warriors games, and Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin is no exception. When Warriors Orochi first came to the PSP earlier this year, it brought with it the familiar one-against-many combat scenarios and a rich character roster. We hunted down the sequel at Tokyo Game Show 2008, grabbed our halberd/sword/staff, and waded into the fray.

Like its predecessor, Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin is all about combat. You choose a team of three characters from the quasi-historical roster and do battle in samurai keeps, open plains, mountainous passes, and a variety of other environments. Though you represent a team of three warriors, you use only one of them at a time, magically switching between them with the press of a button. Each warrior has a handful of attacks, varying in strength and range, and you'll find yourself employing them all during the course of a battle. In addition to the legions of cannon-fodder enemies, we also encountered stronger foes whose attacks were more varied and powerful. As we cut our way through the demo levels, we found that making use of our full range of attacks was the best way to slaughter hundreds of hapless foes, and was downright necessary when facing stronger opponents.

The battles you engage in are spread across a variety of game modes, ranging from the relatively forgiving Story Mode to the brutally difficult Dramatic Mode. The latter mode grants you but one life, and succumbing to the swords of your enemies will end your game straight away. There is also a Survival Mode that lets you take your favorite characters into one-on-one combat, and a versus and two-player matching mode for online play.

As you might expect, Warriors Orochi's second outing feels a lot like the first. We got a glimpse of a wide variety of game modes, but each seemed to play to the series' strengths: giving players control of a powerful warrior and setting them loose in a densely populated battlefield. Koei isn't reinventing the wheel, but the company seems to have dialed in on what Warriors fans want, and is continuing to deliver with Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin. Keep an eye on GameSpot in the coming months for word on a possible North American release, as well as updated impressions of this hack-and-slash-apalooza.

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