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Warriors All-Stars
Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: KOEI TECMO America Corp.
Developer: Omega Force
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action

Graphics & Sound:
By this point, I am sure you have played one of the Warriors series games, or at least seen them, and Warriors: All-Stars is the newest game in the series. While it is still a Warriors game, there are a few things missing.

First off, there is much less talking. The game is entirely in Japanese with English subtitles, but even if you spoke Japanese, youíd have to read a lot of subtitles. They will say a word or two or even a grunt, and thereís several lines of text below, but I guess that is one way to cut down on voicework. They do sound like they are speaking in full sentences in the cut-scenes though. I did find a few typos in the text, but nothing that you couldnít figure out from context. There are some interesting conversations between the characters, more than some of the previous games, but thereís not a lot of story. Just like in Warriors Orochi, you will miss what is being said during battle because it is hard to fight and read the text at the same time. You can find most of it in the battle log, though.

I was hoping that we would get to see some of the things from the characterís games, like Arniceís demon form. They have incorporated those things where possible. For example, Arniceís special attack is her demon form from Nights of Azure. Because you have characters from so many different games, thereís a lot of variety in the costumes and appearances. There are a lot more female characters than in some of the previous games, and as a general rule, they have more varied, colorful, and interesting costumes.


Gameplay:
Warriors: All-Stars only provides one area of gameplay, Story Mode. You can also choose to go to the Encyclopedia to find information about the characters, the games that the characters come from, and the enemies. The Gallery has pictures, sounds, and movies related to the game, but you will need to unlock the items in the Encyclopedia and the Gallery before you can view them.

Story Mode is where all the action takes place. All-Stars is set in another world and this world is dying. Tamaki summons warriors from all other lands to help her save her world and youíll have 12 characters from 12 different games to choose from when you start Story Mode. I like this change as it gives you more options at the very beginning. I find Sophie from Atelier Sophie an odd choice just because she is from a turn-based RPG and it feels weird to play with her in a hack n' slash, but she does just fine. I havenít played the game Rio before, but a casino dealer also feels odd for a warrior. However, Rio has quickly become one of my favorite characters and her musou amuses me every time. Of course, now youíll spend more time figuring out who you want to play as than in previous games, since you do have more choice. The character you choose will determine which person you support in the game, Setsuna, Shiki, or Tamaki.

When you start Story Mode, youíll meet either Setsuna, Shiki, or Tamaki. They are cat-like humanoids who are part of the royal family in this world. This land needs you to "share your power" with their shrines to revive the world. The shrines are spread out across the land. As to who youíll be fighting, well as is typical, there is a family squabble over the throne. Even though the world is dying, they still have to fight over who is king and who will save the world. Silly, right? Well, since all the summoned heroes were scattered, your fellow warriors from other worlds will be your allies and your opponents.

You can choose your destinations on the World Map. As you are scrolling around the World Map, you will see random battles pop up that have a timer on them. You have a matter of seconds to choose to take them on before they disappear. Theyíre varied in type and what you have to do and what you get from it, but I recommend taking them as you donít lose anything if you are defeated. A place with a yellow crystal is a key battle to restoring the spring and will advance the story. You donít have to go straight to them, though. Youíll also unlock a lot of side battles that you can do in any order. These are great for recruiting new characters, getting experience, materials, gold, and more. You can see which hero you will encounter on the map, so that makes it easy to find someone if youíre looking for a particular person. Also, the order you choose to unlock characters may cause different key battles to appear, which can possibly change the story and the game. If you have the right combination of characters, you will unlock Dramatic Battles. These battles have storylines brand new to this game. Once you choose a battle, you will have various tasks to accomplish to claim victory. These include taking bases, beating enemies, and more. To take a base, youíll need to reduce the base points to 0 and then defeat the base captain who finally shows up. Different bases produce different battlefield effects, so plan strategically.

Outside of battle, youíll find yourself in a peaceful little town, complete with training grounds, shops, and even entertainment, including a bath house. You can pick up requests in the Headquarters in town and these will help you earn other heroes' regard. You can accept more than one request at a time, so thereís really no downside Iíve found from taking them on. You do have a limit of five active requests at once. You should also talk to people as much as you can as it will raise your regard between characters.


Difficulty:
When you start up Warriors: All-Stars, youíll have the choice of Beginner, Easy, Normal, and Hard and you can change the difficulty at any time. The game defaults to Normal and it is very possible to complete it on Normal on a first playthrough. Itís not an easy run, but it is possible. Hard will give you a big challenge! After you beat the game once, you can start a new game from the clear data and youíll keep a lot of your stuff. Youíll unlock Chaos difficulty as well.

You can take five players total into battle (after you have unlocked that many). If youíre having trouble, try changing out your team players. You can also change out the character that you are playing as easily on the Team Organization Menu. The one thing you canít do is swap characters during battle. You will only play as the character that you choose for leader. Try and work on your characterís regard for each other. Regard is the same thing as Bonds in the previous Warriors games. You will want to raise this level as you are able to unlock new interactions and gifts. If you use things like Hero Combos, you can raise the regard even more.

Bravery is a bit different. Basically, as you fight in a battle, you become more and more brave. You can raise your bravery by doing the sub-missions as you go along. You can see your bravery in the top left corner. You want to raise your bravery to at least as high as the enemies you are trying to take on. If you attempt an officer with higher bravery than you, itís going to be difficult to win. Also, you now get your EXP at the end of battle, so donít count on that to heal you to full anymore when you level during battle.

You have Hero Skills (and later more powerful skills based on the bonds) to use as well. Hold (R1) and press the button for that skill to use them. They will have a cooldown after being used, so watch out for that or find an orb at bases to fix it. You will find Hero Cards as you play. These can be used to make your life easier. You can even combine cards for better effects at the shop in town. You donít have weapons in Warriors: All-Stars, so if you want to power up your characters, get used to cards.


Game Mechanics:
The mechanics in Warriors: All-Stars are more or less the same as all the rest of the Warriors series. You'll use (X) to Jump, (Square) for Attack, (Triangle) for Strong Attack, (LS) to move and (L1) to block, and (O) for your Special Attack after the bar is full (same as a Musou Attack). When you are looking at the in-battle map, (!) will show you the main mission and a smaller (!) will be side-missions. Youíll probably want to tackle them both quickly. I would recommend the side-missions first so that you can build up bravery for the main mission.

(R3) will let you do a Musou Rush attack after you have filled up the star. Itís really nice since youíll get help from others and youíll be invincible (basically the same as in Warriors Orochi 3, except it was triggered with (R2) + (L2) there). You can make it last longer with lots of kills and you also can get a lot of stuff for a well-executed rush, so time it right. You will get a star at the beginning of battle and another one for every 1000 enemies killed. You can now lock onto an enemy with (L2). I really like this addition as it makes it easier to target the officers. Another new feature that I really like is the "Retry from Auto CheckPoint." During battle, the system saves at intervals for you. If you happen to fail a battle, like when you do something silly like forget you needed to protect someone, you will now have the option to retry at the last checkpoint. It might be a ways back, but itís better than having to redo the whole thing!

There are things that I really like about Warriors: All-Stars. I enjoy playing as even more characters than before and I really enjoy the auto checkpoint thing. I like the different stories that you can get based on the order that you unlock characters. Unfortunately, I really miss things like weapons, other battle modes, and most importantly, multiplayer. The Warriors series has been one of our favorite multiplayer games for years. Weíve got over 450 hours in Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate and almost all of that is multiplayer. I could see a lot more replay if Warriors: All-Stars was multiplayer.

Personally, I see myself continuing to play Warriors: All-Stars just so I can unlock all the characters, but I donít see as much replay potential as some of the other games. If youíre looking for the next game to play with friends, youíll be a bit disappointed. If youíre looking for a decent hack n' slash with a variety of characters from many games, Warriors: All-Stars is for you.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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