Samurai Warriors 4 DX – A series favourite returns

samurai warriors 4 dx review

It’s been almost a decade since the initial launch of Samurai Warriors 4, which was quickly followed up by 3 spin-offs: Samurai Warriors 4-II, Empires, and Spirit of Sanada. With the franchise’s latest numbered instalment still in recent memory, Koei Tecmo has decided to take a trip down memory lane with the newly-released Samurai Warriors 4 DX on PC via Steam.

It’s unclear why the Japanese publisher chose now to do this, possibly fuelled by the recent surge in popularity surrounding samurai media, and a need to plug a hole in its release calendar. After all, it’s been a while since we last had an update on what’s happening with Koei’s long-running Warriors series. It didn’t seem all that long ago that hack n’ slash fans could reliably look forward to a new Dynasty Warriors game every few years, with Samurai Warriors instalments comfortably sandwiched in between.

Regardless of its motives, Samurai Warriors 4 DX allows Koei Tecmo to showcase one of the series’ most popular offerings to a new audience of PC gamers. If this is somehow your first dalliance with these games, they follow a similar template that honestly hasn’t changed too much since Dynasty Warriors 2 (known in Japan as Shin Sangoku Musou) first tore up the genre on PS2 back in 2000. Taking on the role of famed warriors from Japan’s Warring States period, you’ll blitz through entire battlefields, annihilating enemies by the screenful as you bash out button combinations in an almost zen-like state.

samurai warriors 4 dx review

Samurai Warriors 4 is fondly remembered for a number of reasons. Firstly, the game offered a playable roster of 55 characters each with their own unique movesets, and customisable weapons. It also offered a wider selection of story-driven missions, allowing you to watch events unfold from the perspective of certain clans and characters, including Nobunaga Oda and posterboy Yukimura Sanada.

In terms of gameplay, original developer Omega Force also made some welcome improvements starting with Hyper Attacks. These enabled players to seamlessly weave from one group of enemies into the next without breaking their combo chain, complemented by other mechanics such as the Spirit Gauge. Being able to switch between characters on the fly would also help manage the battlefield, with an option to assign command to your inactive partner. The game also felt more fleshed out than previous entries, bundling in the addictive Chronicles mode where you could create your own character and skirmish your way across Sengoku era Japan.

samurai warriors 4 dx review

Samurai Warriors 4 DX presents itself as the definitive way to experience all of this, bolstered by an extensive catalogue of over 150 DLC packs. Granted, most of these are purely cosmetic and superfluous, though DX has another trump card: allowing for handheld play via the Steam Deck. The laid back, low-commitment style of gameplay these titles ascribe to goes hand-in-hand with portable gaming, unless you’re dialling up the difficulty to its most extreme.

If you’re at all curious about the Warriors franchise, this is perhaps the best gateway. However, with this re-release brandishing a £39.99 launch price, you might rather hunt down a cheaper copy of the newer Samurai Warriors 5, or wait for a cheeky discount.

Written by
Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.