Xbox One, PS4, PC
September 1, 2017
When you think of prominent Hack ‘n’ Slash games, most tend to think that the Warriors series is, hands down, the best there is out there. They’ve made it their business to provide an unforgettable experience with each game release and Warriors All-Stars is no exception to this rule. Being a fan of several spin-off Warrior series, including Gundam, One Piece and Hyrule Warriors I was keen to get my hands on this newest addition to the ever expanding Warriors universe. Within the first few minutes of gameplay I knew I was in for a treat, and what came after was a game that I simply couldn’t put down, no matter how hard I tried.
The story of Warriors All-Stars is a simple enough one to follow; a once vibrant kingdom is slowly falling into ruin due the waning power of a magical spring, which brought prosperity to all who lived within its reach. As a last resort option the widowed queen, and priestess of the spring, attempts to summon otherworldly warriors to help restore the spring and bring balance once more to their world. Unfortunately, the summoning goes wrong and the warriors summoned are spread across the world. At the same time three members of the royal line all attempt to vie for the position of ruler and take arms up against one another, each of them in the process recruiting several of the summoned warriors to their side.
With the story laid out it’s time to get going, and after picking your character, and subsequent faction, you are thrown straight into battle. Thankfully, being the Warriors buff I am, this wasn’t too jarring an experience. After the short tutorial you are then provided a slew of battles to take on and progress through the game with. There are several types of missions to go on including material gathering, character obtaining, monster hunting, and story progressing to name few. Each has their own unique set of prerequisites for success and you’ll need to vigilant as to what they are, as it becomes crucial to success and you’ll be severely punished if you dilly-dally. The best part of these missions is that there are so many to choose from; you’ll easily find yourself saying “just one more, just one more”.
At the beginning of Warriors your selection of playable characters is limited to three per faction, but swiftly expands as you progress. Playable characters from many different gaming franchises appear, including Nioh, Dead or Alive, and Toukiden – I was literally spoilt for choice. As you build your team, with a maximum of five at any given time, you’ll find that utilising them on the battlefield reaps several rewards. First off you’ll have the option of summoning them to use a Hero Skill, which provides your main warrior with support in the form of an ability that is classed as healing, defensive, or supportive. This makes planning out your team for each different mission that much more important, as they can make or break your odds of success – something I learnt very fast.
As you battle through a stage your teammates will follow you and act as support, but if you wish you may actually call upon them to fight in your place. By doing this you’ll create a line-up in which both you and your chosen support character will perform attack combos in perfect sync. I found this absolutely vital when I wanted to decimate a large group of enemies in a short period of time. Finally, a player can activate a mode called Musou Fever, which starts off a festival like sequence in which you are given a set time to defeat as many enemies as possible. This short period of roughly 20 seconds can be extended by your comrades who will cheer you on as you reach a given number of enemies defeated. At the end of the “fever” those who cheered you on will appear for one last final attack and all spoils from this sequence will automatically be consumed by your main warrior.
“…the level of trust you gain through shared battles will grant your team with new abilities and scenarios to unlock.”
Teamwork both in and out of battle is very important in Warriors All-Stars, as you’ll find that the level of trust you gain through shared battles will grant your team with new abilities and scenarios to unlock. character customisation is dependent on how you work with your comrades, since the closer you become to a certain character can unlock new ‘friendship skills’. These skills can then be applied to character cards, a new mechanic which replaces weapons as your main method of strengthening your character.
It’s important to note that certain relationships between characters can lead to different story paths and alternate endings, at which you’ll be required to start from scratch. This was certainly fascinating for me from a completionist standpoint, but it did mean I had to be weary as to how I paired characters. Ending a game prematurely before the true ending wasn’t something I wanted, since in effect I lost all my hard work and had to start all over again. This is the beauty of Warriors All-Stars however; it’s so darn addictive I started all over again anyway and went down a different path, choosing a different faction and ending the game in a completely different way. Literally I’m spoilt for choice, which makes the replayability of this game simply astounding.
Warriors All-Stars isn’t without its faults and they are the same issues found within past games in the Warriors series. Characters, with the rare exception of William Adams, speak in Japanese making dialogue during battle very hard to follow. I had to consciously make the choice to either let my performance in battle suffer so I could read the dialogue, or just power on through and miss out on most of the banter between characters, which is actually quite entertaining. The stages found within Warriors All-Stars drew inspiration from many different series but still felt slightly hard to navigate when in the heat of a battle, and could cost you the game if not deciphered correctly, something that frustrated me to no end.
- Over 25 playable characters to choose from
- Addictive battle scenarios and character customisation
- Multiple endings and great replayability
- Dialogue and gameplay hard to split attention between
- Maps can be unnecessarily complicated
- Favours gamers who've played a 'Warriors' game prior
Warriors All-Stars is certainly an addictive game to get into; it has the makings of a classic Warriors instalment and with so much going for it, any fan of the series should consider it a must play. The best thing about this game for me is that it has introduced me to several other gaming franchises that I now want to try my hand at, including Nioh, and Knights of Azure. That being the case, All Stars isn’t trying to stand out as a revolutionary game, which everyone must grab now. It instead brings together the best of its past releases and combines it with other gaming universes to create a unique and rather entertaining Hack ‘n’ Slash game that any fan of the genre would enjoy.