To breathe new life into their tried and true Musou formula, Koei Tecmo has created a team up including all their games in one place, including new features to help you make your dream team. This is our Warriors All-Stars review.
Warriors All-Stars’ concept is nothing new for the series, with previous installments in the Orochi games combining characters from some of Koei Tecmo’s more recent IPs. All-Stars, on the other hand, re-introduces characters from many of their older games to create the ultimate Musou mash-up.
Like other Warriors games, All-Stars has just enough story to give you a reason to start slaughtering throngs of enemy combatants. The king of a magical kingdom has died, and his queen, Sayo, has informed both of her children and her nephew that the magical spring is dying as well, which will bring the end of the kingdom. Her daughter Tamaki summons the heroes for help, which depletes the power of the spring in the process. The summoning spell does not work correctly, and the heroes are flung to all ends of the world after the summoning. Tamaki, her brother Shiki, and cousin Setsuna then set off in their own ways to recruit heroes to fight for the throne. Each of them claim to be doing it for their family, but you find out early on that there is an evil monster sealed away in the spring which may be controlling one of the three, and is also absorbing power from the spring. While this isn’t Tolkien-level writing, it is enough to set up a new conflict between 3 factions and allow characters to decide that they want to help this world they were forced into.
Gameplay progression occurs from an overworld map, in which multiple fight nodes will pop up with different rewards. There are key nodes that must be completed to advance the story, while others will reward the player with gold, loot, or characters. Some nodes will also randomly appear for a few seconds with a higher than average reward, just to keep you on your toes while deciding what to do next. Players are also able to go to a main city hub, where they speak with citizens of the world to learn more about the lore and backstory of the game, accept side quests, train heroes to level them up with gold, and improve your friendship levels with other characters.
Before each mission, you are given an opportunity to select a main character and up to 4 other party members. The main character is the one you will roam the battlefield with, while the others act as NPC allies for you during battle. You can call on each ally to perform a special attack near you as you gain kills, which differs depending on the characters selected. You are also eventually able to build up to an ”Alliance Strike”, which drops your team into a 5-man firing squad that you control, allowing you to turn into a walking wall of death.
One of the new features of All-Stars is a Musou Rush, which manages to throw even more poor soldiers at you for you to cut down as fast as possible. Rushes will build up as the player defeats enemies, and triggering one will start a timer while spawning mass amounts of enemies who all run to attack you. The more enemies you kill, the more time you get. You get a large amount of loot from this, and as well as get cheered on by your teammates who will jump to your side when finish.
Core gameplay is the same as always, dropping you into a battlefield and requiring you to either take over a base or defeat an enemy boss. Bases can have different buffs they can apply to adjacent bases, giving you some incentive to capture connecting bases rather than rush to the point. Side quests can also appear randomly during the battle, offering extra rewards if completed but are not required.
While this review is for the PC version of Warriors All-Stars, it is incredibly obvious from the start that Koei Tecmo had no intention for you to play this game with a keyboard and mouse. While there are keyboard and mouse controls, the default key mapping is set for two hands on the keyboard, or one in the traditional WASD position on the keyboard and an awkward grip on your mouse. The tutorial section of the game and all menus also do not change to the corresponding keyboard buttons if a controller is not being used, so you will be left guessing as to which keyboard key to push to perform an action.
Due to the crossover nature of the game, there are multiple art styles being used in the gameplay. The game takes both characters and locations from multiple series’, and while this is an awesome thing to have in a team-up game, the differing styles cause the game to look like it was created by fans with exported art assets rather than the parent company. Parts of the games will be made to look realistic while others will look to capture an anime look, causing characters to look out of place at times.
Warriors All-Stars adds a few fun new additions to the series, but ultimately falls short at making itself stand out for any reason other than the cast. It allows many of Koei Tecmo’s stars from multiple games to meet up and cause massive amounts of mayhem in the name of good, but adds no interesting mechanics or hooks outside of continuing to provide a great Musou experience.