At first blush, Koei Tecmo’s Touken Ranbu Warriors seems to be one thing of a “My First Dynasty Warriors“, or a “Weight loss program” Musou. It’s primarily based on DMM’s (widespread in Japan) free-to-play browser-based collectable card recreation, focused at Japanese girls — particularly a subculture of otaku often called “katana girls” – women who prefer to pose with historic Japanese swords. Sarcastically, this pattern kind of started with Capcom’s frankly superior Dynasty Warriors clone, Sengoku Basara, which turned wildly widespread and span off into all method of media, turning into one thing of a cultural phenomenon on its house turf. Now Koei Tecmo, by way of developer Omega Power and co-developer Ruby Get together, have carved out a distinct segment of a distinct segment of its personal. So what’s the tip consequence like?
For a recreation primarily based kind of on a method established over 20 years in the past, Touken Ranbu Warriors – when it comes to core gameplay – is nothing new to Musou veterans. It’s an virtually excessively lax variation on the template, although, wherein the precise ‘Simple Mode’ gives virtually no resistance in any respect. It feels much less like wading right into a battlefield teeming with bloodthirsty enemies and extra like sweeping an limitless succession of flooring suffering from trash. For those who let your character – out of a wide range of 15 playable characters – stand round on the battlefield, solely very often will an enemy step as much as poke you earlier than rapidly returning to its authentic place. If it wasn’t for the odd time restrict, there could be virtually no stress to compete in any respect.
Nevertheless it’s nonetheless price a cursory look. On the very least the contemporary solid of characters and Japan-based setting gives some respite from the standard Yellow Turban Insurrection regurgitation that the mainline Dynasty Warriors franchise depends on. Touken Ranbu Warriors additionally places within the work to provide a great deal of fantasy-based lore and character improvement to justify the sport’s ridiculous premise.
The sport’s time-travelling conceits finds Touken Ranbu’s heroes appointed by the ‘Authorities of Time’ to guard historical past in opposition to the sport’s antagonists, the ‘Historical past Retrograde Military,’ whose mission it’s to… effectively, alter historical past, which is an ironic plot gadget given Japan’s personal tendencies to retcon its historical past books to go well with a most well-liked narrative. Actual-world governmental hypocrisy apart, this Authorities of Time awakens the sport’s heroes, the Touken Danshi, to carry again this preposterously-named military and cease them from altering the course of historical past.
The Touken Danshi are organized into 5 groups. The primary crew options three characters, the second options 4, the third and fourth groups each provide three characters, and the fifth crew options two. Every crew chief is the personified illustration of a historic Japanese katana (sword) pulled from numerous factors in Japan’s historical past. This time-travelling fantasy-based framework permits Omega Power/Ruby Get together extra leeway to play with the Musou method than an ordinary Dynasty Warriors recreation might, however sadly, this clean canvas is put to little artistic use.
Whereas we’ve all witnessed the Musou template ruthlessly utilized to franchises as numerous and, often, ill-fitting as Gundam, Fist of the North Star, Berserk, Warriors Orochi, The Legend of Zelda, One Piece, Hearth Emblem, Dragon Quest and Persona, Touken Ranbu Warriors hews intently to the default Warriors-style of gameplay. Whereas the controls differ from Dynasty Warriors – significantly in Simple Mode, which reduces the sport to a easy button-masher – the sport removes issues like ranged assaults in favour of regular, sturdy and dodging strikes.
Clearly, that is designed to make issues easy for extra informal avid gamers who’re right here to proceed their expertise from the browser-based CCG, however this additionally makes Touken Ranbu Warriors a milder entry level for youthful avid gamers as effectively. The true concern right here is that the remainder of us will discover little significant worth in a recreation whose characters we’re not accustomed to (the success of the varied licensed Dynasty Warriors clones depends on the built-in fanbase of every particular person IP) and whose time-travelling conceit yields little engagement on the battlefield.
At the least the enemies within the Dynasty Warriors sequence reap the advantages of being traditionally related, offering actual heroes, differing viewpoints and views wherein to sink your tooth. However Touken Ranbu’s foes are a lot much less distinct than any Yellow Turban Military. Right here you’re handled to limitless waves of mundane, floating insect-like invaders, typically accompanied by surly, inexperienced humanoid enemies. They begin off human-sized, and periodically improve in dimension till you come nose to nose with bigger, hulking variants (nonetheless inexperienced).
There’s hardly ever a lot in the best way of dialogue, leaving you with a reasonably empty expertise. One of the best video games have memorable antagonists with distinct personalities. Touken Ranbu Warriors dumps the participant on the sector to do battle with faceless avatars of little distinction – hardly the best motivator to see the sport by to the end line.
In an age the place vastly superior third-person motion video games of varied flavours like Elden Ring, God of Battle, Satan Could Cry, and Breath of the Wild exist, with current-gen developments in physics, animation, and management strategies, Touken Ranbu Warriors nonetheless looks like a PlayStation 2 recreation in each facet of its presentation. The sport loop finds gamers mowing down lots of of generic enemies, who often telegraph stronger assaults with a shiny purple rectangle indicating the enemy’s vary of assault.
These are simply dodged or interrupted. Bosses are dealt with in virtually precisely the identical method as common foot troopers, the distinction being their bigger well being bars. Probably the most difficult foe within the recreation are the phases with cut-off dates, however even these are particularly forgiving. For informal avid gamers, this will likely very effectively be sufficient, however for these of us with increased expectations and expertise with Warriors video games, that is less-than-compelling. Minor inconveniences, like enemies often tying you up in an online, add somewhat selection however do little to interrupt the sport’s circulate.
Visually, it is a solid-looking title. It gained’t win any awards for innovative graphics, however the time-tested Musou engine is put to good use right here, with loads of sakura flowers on show, and the sport bearing a largely shiny and vibrant type. The sport’s most original visible aspect is every character’s destructible clothes. Endure sufficient harm and also you’ll be proven a short cinematic of your character transferring in slow-motion as their clothes shred. This will attraction to the thirstiest of avid gamers, but it surely in any other case has little influence on the sport.
In its favour, Touken Ranbu Warriors gives a considerable quantity of content material to these within the lore. There’s little to differentiate the time-travelling points of the sport, although, as you’re primarily caught on historic Japanese battlefields, with solely between-level loading screens indicating whenever you’re sooner or later.
Touken Ranbu Warriors is a recreation finest suited to gamers with little expertise with the Dynasty Warriors sequence normally. If that is meant to attraction primarily to followers of the free-to-play video games – with far decrease expectations on the subject of motion video games – as an awesome huge slice of Touken Danshi fan service, this might be an awesome addition to their assortment. For gamers much less versed on the earth of Touken Ranbu, it is a a lot more durable promote, providing a rote, repetitive recreation loop that does little to slake your thirst for a extra significant, evolving recreation expertise. This criticism might arguably apply to all the Warriors video games, however the place the larger license-based video games add to the method, Touken Ranbu Warriors looks like a distillation. In lots of methods and for sure audiences that is completely nice. By this time limit, the Dynasty Warriors machine is a well-oiled, refined and well mannered product; the online game equal of a Honda Civic. However even with a well-loved product as dependable as that, there comes some extent when it is simply time to get with the occasions.