Played on: Playstation 2
Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends is an expansion pack to accompany Samurai Warriors and it is best treated as such instead of a standalone game. There are four new characters here to play so it can be a standalone game, but there are so many other bonuses and new features that will work best only when the data from Samurai Warriors is imported into this game.
For example, there are now sixth weapons which, unlike the fifth weapons, are almost nearly always the best weapons in the whole game. Ranmaru’s fifth weapon, for example, is useless because the only worthwhile bonus stat it confers is the life bonus while the sixth weapon has all the goodies and a great attack bonus to make life easy for Ranmaru. The killer here is that sixth weapons can only be obtained in chaos difficulty. However, the game also has a new system where points are obtained while playing the game and these points can be collected and used for all kinds of things, like lowering the requirements so that fifth weapons can be obtained in normal difficulty while sixth weapons can be obtained in hard difficulty. That means, the longer you play the game, you’ll earn enough points to make it such that you can obtain sixth weapons in hard difficulty. Even so, the requirements to obtain these weapons are fiendishly difficult, most of them requiring all your allies to be alive and that’s something that is very difficult to meet as it’s a matter of luck most of the time whether your allies die or live. There are also new items to be found although most of them aren’t going to be used since there are always more important items to be given priorities to.
Some castle stages, like Kunoichi’s Rescue at Ueda Castle mission, are drastically revamped. Gone are many of those annoying ninjas that drop from the roof to “surprise” everybody. However, Rescue at Ueda Castle is no longer the easy “fish for great weapons at Chaos difficulty mode” playground: now, Hanzo Hattori has to be defeated (Yukimura will die and you will lose the stage if you don’t) and there are now musketeers and archers all over the place to ensure that any weak characters will die horribly.
There are four new characters in this game, two of them from the Tokugawa clan. Tadakatsu Honda with his tonbo-giri spear is even more powerful than Keiji Maeda and he’s the ultimate cheap character in this game. His daughter Ina uses a bow although like Magoichi and his musket, she treats the bow more like a melee weapon than an actual bow. Unlike her father, Ina has merely average crowd control. Her musou will be a superb general killer if it causes more damage because it can be comboed and juggled into. Tadakatsu is a pretty dull character with not much personality but Ina struggles to ensure that she is never taken over by the thrill of the kill and her lower path storyline is especially poignant. Magoichi seems to have a thing for her and his unrequited affections add another layer to poor Magoichi’s tormented psyche. Hideyoshi Hashiba, the future uniter of Japan, starts out as the buffoon in the Oda clan but he will rise to greatness as he struggles to find a way to create an equal society where the non-samurais (of which he is one) can live with the samurais in peace. Hideyoshi uses a foldable staff and he has really good range and superb crowd control combos. He is also a very fast character and therefore he’s a good character to use. Finally, the buffoon Yoshimoto Imagawa is here and his story is pretty much a comedy as he bungles his way while kicking people in the head with his weapons, a kemari ball and a short sword. Believe it or not, he looks like a clown and his moves are eccentric but dang, his crowd control is excellent as is his one-on-one combos. His two endings are also a riot.
There are some adjustments to the gameplay, with the two-player mode now having the option of ensuring that each player has his or her own musou gauge and skill points still being obtainable after the character has reached the maximum level of twenty (no need to keep resetting the characters now, hurrah). There is also a gold rush mode that allows people to upgrade their weapons.
All in all, this expansion pack makes Samurai Warriors a more enjoyable game. The question here is whether it’s worth the money to purchase this game. I’ll leave that to you.