Samurai Warriors 4 DX Review – Pure Samurai Delight

    Samurai Warriors 4 DX, the much anticipated complete version of the beloved fourth entry in the Samurai Warriors franchise, dropped on Steam a couple of weeks ago. This release includes all previously released DLC, packing the entire experience of the first of four (ironically or not) games in the Samurai Warriors 4 line, which includes the original, 4-II, Empires, and Spirits of Sanada. The game blends historical narratives with frenetic, action-packed strategy, appealing to both history nerds and action game enthusiasts. And you don’t even need to play the other Samurai Warriors games!

    This release was slightly overshadowed by two titans on similar themes being discussed recently – the announcement of the Assassin’s Creed Shadows and the PC release of Ghost of Tsushima, which is one of the highest-praised PlayStation first-party exclusives of the last generation of consoles. The Warriors franchise is much more popular in the East – the epicenter of any Samurai-related entertainment content, and this very title is prominent in the series itself. But as this franchise keeps growing ever fiercer and more accessible, a release like this is incredibly important – both to the franchise itself and to the theme of Samurai in gaming – a game made by Japanese people themselves, who are, more than anyone else, authority on the subject. 

    A Modest History Class…

    Samurai Warriors 4 is set during the tumultuous Sengoku (戦国) period in Japan, often translated as “Age of Warring States”. An era known for its near-constant military conflict and political intrigue among the various Japanese “feudal” lords, the daimyo (大名). This period is often characterized by the ambitious warlords who fought to consolidate power and unify Japan. Although fiction, the game presents a considerable commitment to authenticity in depictions of historical figures and events from the given period.

    The Sengoku era (which extended from the mid-15th century to the early 17th century) was characterized by social upheaval, political intrigue, and near-constant military conflict. It began in the wake of the weakening of the central authority of the Ashikaga (足利) Shogunate (Shogunate being the hereditary military dictatorship of Japan controlled by the Shogun [将軍] – a Commander-in-Chief, nominally appointed by the Emperor, but the de facto ruler of the country), leading to the rise of the daimyo, who were private owners who vied for power, land and influence across the country.

    Sengoku Jidai: Japan's Warring States Period

    The Key To Warfare

    The daimyo were powerful lords who controlled vast lands and maintained large armies of samurai. Their ambition to expand their influence and territories led to numerous and constant conflicts and alliances. The role of the Shogun waned significantly, leading to a power vacuum that the daimyos sought to fill. With the decentralization of power marked by the period, with no single authority able to maintain control, the fragmentation led to the rise of many notable figures who attempted to unify Japan under rule, such as the infamous Oda Nobunaga and others like Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. The constant warfare led to advancements in military tactics and the rise of castles of power bases is often reflected in the game’s settings and battle strategies.

    The period eventually ended with the unification of Japan after the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, leading to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ushered in a long period of peace and stability known as the Edo (江戸) era. This period of unification is generally the basis of the climactic finale of Samurai Warriors. 

     Oda Nobunaga in Samurai Warriors 4

    The game is structured around twelve factions (such as Takeda, Uesugi, Oda, Hojo, and more) from the Sengoku period, each with its own campaign storylines that reflect their historical roles and conflicts. This approach allows you to see different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the historical complexities. 

    In story mode, you begin the game with access only to a few of the “Legends” faction stories, each with around 10 to 15 missions. As you advance through each, more are unlocked, with a neat progressive mechanism that adds a sense of collective continuity and achievement, gradually introducing the player to a broader historical narrative. As you complete more and more story arcs, you get closer to the greater conclusion of the Sengoku era, connecting the bits and pieces of the stories.

    The same stories can be accessed through Chronicle Mode, in which you create your own character and advance through the land you choose to be a part of. This mode is more similar to an RPG, as you have a deepened progression system with officers and your own character, but do take the toll time-wise and is more recommended to players who want to immerse themselves even further into the Samurai Warriors experience.

    The Almighty Historical Figures

    In either case, character development through this story and their respective introductions play a crucial role in enriching the historical narrative and enhancing the player’s engagement. New characters are given their deserved attention, while older characters are still just as recognizable for old and new players, although not necessarily introduced with the same attention.

    These characters are built with these stories – each with their own dilemmas, quirks, rivalries, and motivations, which are also demonstrated in their in-game interactions. By choosing duos of playable characters, missions might differ in content and challenge. Some characters behave better with others. Their dialogues give important context to the battles they are in, and give another layer of immersion to the narrative. And each character has their own combat style, which may benefit the player’s strategies on the field.

    Dual Wielding in Samurai Warriors 4 DX

    Delicious Musou Gameplay & Strategic Challenges

    Samurai Warriors 4 DX leverages Koei’s refined hack-and-slash Musou combat system and strategic elements, delivering an addictive and engaging dynamic experience. The core combat is nothing different from any other Warriors game. Combinations of light and heavy attacks execute fluid combos that devastate enemy armies. The game’s responsiveness is adequate for its time and makes engaging with large groups of enemies feel both effective and satisfying. You can feel the empowerment that comes with controlling powerful samurai characters – turning the tides in massive battles, reflecting the heroic feats of these historical figures.

    Musou moves are key to this combat. They are powerful abilities for each character, almost like “ultimate” or “final” moves, capable of devastating enemies in a number of ways, depending on the bearer’s weapons and characteristics. Some are more focused on types of areas, others focused on direct damage. It is up to you to decide how and when to use them strategically between characters to form combos powerful enough to demolish armies in seconds.

    Combat musou attack in Samurai Warriors 4 DX

    The strategic importance is also of note, as you control more than one character at a time and can even play multiplayer, local or online. Maps are really big, with hundreds of thousands of enemies, and doing both crowd control and conquest of specific areas are key to victory. You won’t win by brute force alone but by assertively dominating enemies and areas of the map. When playing alone, you can even command certain units to act in parallel to your main character as you conquer the map through multiple fronts.

    Maps are strategically divided zones and bases that you can capture and defend. These divisions are crucial for controlling the flow of armies, both ally and enemy and can significantly influence the outcomes. Gaining this control can provide tactical advantages and quickly turn the tides of battle.

    Oda Nobunaga opening gate in Samurai Warriors 4 DX

    The main commander figures are pivotal to the in-game strategy and can change the dynamics of battle. Defeating enemy commanders will demoralize their troops and open key points of navigation. Sometimes, you can even convert enemies to your side, but usually, it is done by story-related events. Ally leaders give similar benefits but to your side, stopping enemies from turning over you. These scenarios create unique opportunities for players, and battles will hardly be the same, considering the number of variables in question.

    Winning these matches isn’t that specific either – while some battles require defeating specific enemies, others may be regarding surviving attacks, defending bases, or saving entities. It’s a series of tactical objectives that will appeal to both strategy and action fans.

    A Competent Artistic Experience

    Pre-Attack Cutscene Samurai Warriors 4 DX truly is a full-course meal, even in the visual department. For a ten-year-old game, it holds up pretty well. The artistry of character designs is the richest part of the game. The environments look great, and the graphical flexibility of a PC release allows for smooth 4K 60 frames per second action on a moderately equipped gaming laptop. Some textures do seem odd and show their age on a big 4K screen, but nothing that detriments the visual splendor. 

    Some technical options would benefit a title like this, especially considering higher-end machines. The flexibility of individual parameters for enhancement of visual quality would be truly welcome, not to mention control of the field of view and camera controls. It is a really barebones port that runs decently, but that is it, and a more refined customization for the more thirsty PC Gamers would be interesting, to say the least.

    Sound-wise, it is just as much as the technical port. Combat elements were enough for the PlayStation 4 generation and did a good enough job. The soundtrack truly complements the experience with traditional Japanese music, evoking a proper atmosphere for the moments of tension and drama.

    Mounted character in Samurai Warriors 4 DX

    The biggest factor that makes this title a “DX” is its extra content. The DLCs provide new missions, mounts, and a considerable number of cosmetic customization options. These do not in any way make the game effectively better, but it’s a minimum to what a complete version of a legacy title should have, even though the $50 price tag may raise some eyebrows. The game is indeed full of content that will surely pay for the price, but being a ten-year-old game PORT with cosmetic DLC (though it is plentiful and much appreciated), I personally recommend waiting for a good sale in the case of you not being an avid fan.

    Character customization screen

    Samurai Warriors 4 DX Is Truly Great

    Samurai Warriors 4 DX is a GREAT game with truly iconic characters and an addictive experience. Koei’s trademark and indistinguishable Musou gameplay sets this as an almost must-have action game for your Steam library, with the number of DLCs being the cherry on top. Attracting both strategy and action fans alike, both casual and hardcore, there’s a bit for everyone here, just as long as you can pay the hefty price.

    Key art of Samurai Warriors 4 DX

    Koei Tecmo provided Final Weapon with a Steam copy of Samurai Warriors 4 DX copy for review purposes.


    Ultimately, Samurai Warriors 4 DX is one of the most complete experiences in the franchise and it came with a pretty decent port to Steam. Although not the most customizable graphic experience, it stays true to what made it so great and would be a great acquisition at a discounted price.
    Matheus Nascimento
    Matheus Nascimento
    Matheus Nascimento, also known as Tanjou or the Herald of Caffeine, is a Brazilian Games Industry Analyst and Engineer with years of international experience. Passionate about everything Japanese - Games, Anime, Music, Food and even Kendo. 日本語が話せます!

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    Ultimately, Samurai Warriors 4 DX is one of the most complete experiences in the franchise and it came with a pretty decent port to Steam. Although not the most customizable graphic experience, it stays true to what made it so great and would be a great acquisition at a discounted price.Samurai Warriors 4 DX Review - Pure Samurai Delight