Monday, July 27, 2015

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate vs. Samurai Warriors 4

Darby makes all my games fight to the death.

For the past few months I've been on quite a kick of gaming due largely in part to my still fresh ownership of a PS4. One of the big questions I had when getting games for the beast was which Warriors game to get? I've been a fan of the series for a long time whether it be in Dynasty, Samurai, Orochi, or one of the many other varieties. When I bought the PS4 there was no doubt that either Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate or Samurai Warriors 4 would come home with me. Problem was, I couldn't find any articles comparing the two titles for someone like me with somewhat limited funds. Clearly the only answer was to get both. Now I'd say it's time to remedy the failings of the internet and answer the question for all you fine folks out there, especially since I thoroughly believe you should own at least one of these games as well. Let's attack this issue in categories.
Orochi 3 Ultimate

Gameplay and Difficulty
If you've never played a warriors title before, the general flow of gameplay involves running around a battlefield, slaughtering minions by the hundreds (if not thousands) while ensuring sub-missions and events are successfully completed in order to win the battle. This involves a lot of button mashing but by god is it ever satisfying to wipe out an entire battalion of troops to turn the tide of battle in your favor.
Both games have their own version of the fighting system. Orochi 3 offers the fullest variety of old-school warriors fighting wherein you use light attacks to set up combos with power attacks serving as different finishers. Also there are character specific special moves that drain your musou bar, and the musou attack itself which is a screen clearing monstrosity.
The Samurai style is similar except power attacks have been changed to hyper moves that are great at clearing crowds of grunts but terrible against stronger generals. This offers two main lines of potential combos to work with. Not to mention special moves no longer drain your power and there are two levels of musou along with deeper features to break an enemies guard.
Another difference between the games is the usage of teams. Orochi allows the use of a three-person team that stays together while you switch between them for best results. Samurai lowers it down to only two characters who can act independently of each other on the map.
There's also separate systems for weapon upgrades, item usage, and the sub-missions that effect battles. Samurai is infinitely better at alerting you to changes in the fight by actually pausing the action and showing you what's going on and how best to deal with it. Orochi doesn't offer that kind of hand holding which is part of the reason for its higher difficulty. Consider it more a master class for the franchise with some stages that have a good chance of beating your ass. Chances are, you'll lose a stage or two in Samurai as well, just nowhere near as often. That one also provides you with prizes from a lost fight, rather than spitting you back onto the main menu.
Samurai Warriors 4

Story and Content
Storytelling has never been a hallmark of this franchise but both these games take strides towards remedying that situation with more cut scenes and dialog to help flesh out the characters.
A large part of which story is better depends on what kind of tales you enjoy. Orochi is a big chunk of fan-fiction where folks from different eras and game series all join together in order to defeat a world-ending hydra followed by a fox demon.
Samurai showcases a more realistic historical tale of the warring states period. There's still plenty of dramatization and silliness but you get a pretty fair outline of how this point in history played out.
Naturally the story influences the amount of game you're getting. Thankfully both games provide plentiful amounts of playtime. Orochi almost gives you too much bang for you buck. Either way, you won't get cheated on content.
Orochi 3 Ultimate

Visuals and Music
Samurai almost completely steals the show in the looks and sound department thanks in part to it's new game engine. It's not something you'd use to show off your new system but it's still a looker. The music is a mix of techno and classic Japanese tunes though there aren't quite enough tracks, so get ready for some repeats.
Orochi 3 has a bit more music though it's more of a techno/rock mixture that can go a little overboard. Visuals are weaker but that should be expected as it's an updated port of a PS3 title. Still; there have been some improvements to things like lighting and draw distance to help it out.
Samurai Warriors 4

Extra Modes
Both games offer multiplayer along with free mode which allows you to use any character you like in any stage, regardless of their affiliation.
Orochi 3 has two unique modes on tap. Duel turns the game into a of sort tag team arena fighter with a side of card combat. It's an ok diversion but nothing Earth-shattering. Gauntlet mode has much more to offer by giving you a team of five people with customizable battle formations fighting through randomized areas. Think of it as a dungeon crawl along the lines of Diablo. A lot of players have raved about this mode. Personally, I don't quite get it. Chalk that up to personal preference.
Samurai 4 doesn't have as many extra modes available but it makes up for that with the inclusion of conquest mode. This could be an entire game in itself. You create your own character and travel across Japan, fighting small battles and befriending the warriors of the age. Along the way you develop proficiencies with different weapons, collect pieces of armor, change your life goals, etc. It reminds me a little of the master mode from SoulCalibur only without the constant frustration.

and the winner is.....

The real winner of this contest comes down to what kind of gamer you are. If you're a complete novice to this series or just someone with very little experience, go with Samurai Warriors 4. It's easier to learn and play, offers plenty of content, and looks very nice on your shiny system.
If you're more of a warriors veteran, I'd dare say you'd be safe picking up both titles. There's enough difference between them and both are great fun. However; if you've played a previous version of Orochi 3 then the choice of upgrading depends on whether the new modes, graphical upgrades, and four new chapters of storyline are worth the cost of admission.

Of course all of this could be tossed out the window in a few months as three more warriors titles are coming our way such as One Piece Pirate Warriors 3, Dragon Quest Heroes, and the upgraded Samurai Warriors 4-II. There's also a new Nobunaga's Ambition coming our way if you feel the need for a completely strategic gaming experience. Who woulda thought buying a PS4 would result in giving all my money to Koei?

Keep a close eye on the site this week everyone. There should be a really special article coming up, maybe more if the mail yields something good. See you soon.

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