Samurai Warriors 2

Risible and random time as another

There are some items you only need to buy once in a lifetime: tin openers, corkscrews and copies of Dynasty/Samurai Warriors.

No matter how disposable our lives are, how ephemeral technology becomes and how many lubra-strips our razor has, they remain as unchanging as the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands.

We shouldn't be surprised that this game is almost exactly identical to the 1997 PSone original. We shouldn't be, but we are. And it isn't because we're Gandalf-bearded hippies who live in a fluffy fantasy world of constant innovation, more because it's hard to believe that developers Koei could once again churn out the same monotonous slurry on 360 as they have done for the past ten (long) years.


Well, they have. And once again this isn't the progress the next gen promised, it's the six-fingered village idiot. It's a throwback. It belongs in the past. And it belongs in landfill.

The action could be called 'hack-and-slash', except that implies too much variety. Instead you use 26 virtually identical characters to stab away relentlessly at one-button combos as unchanging and unblocking foes - whose AI only seems to exist to ensure that they stand ready to die in combo-boosting range - get in your way. This isn't fun in any way; it's mechanically-recovered gameplay substitute.

It looks like a port too. Higher resolution textures just about prevent it from looking as blocky in HD as Ceefax, but the landscapes are so brown, blasted and empty they appear post-apocalyptic. And just to complete this all-out assault against your delicate senses, the bellowed drivel that passes for dialogue also repeats more often than barbecued donkey. Worse, even its one solitary hope of redemption is spunked onto stony grounds with an online mode that only lets you play in parallel, not head to head. So instead of directly taking on fleshy foes, your only option is to compare times or carnage, not trade rhesus negative. As for the other innovation, known as Suguroku, this is a mini-game version of Monopoly... but it fails even to live up to that truly terrible billing.

As a game for Xbox 1 this would be basic. At the launch of the Xbox 360, it would be risible. Now, a year into the life of the white superconsole, it's just cruel.

The verdict

Looks poor, plays boring, and offers little, if any, real advancement on the 10-year-old formula. Avoid.

  • As predictable as an E4 schedule
  • Painfully retrograde
  • A tear on the cheek of the world
Xbox 360