What is Warriors All-Stars?
Warriors All-Stars is a hack and slash action game in a similar vein to the Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors/Hyrule Warriors series, in which players take part in large scale battles against huge enemy armies, vying for control of bases on a map. Set in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic dog-people, characters from various different Koei Tecmo properties collide when summoned by a magic spell gone wrong, and get drawn into a civil war over a throne and a magical spring running dry. With several dozen characters to choose from, each representing a wide range of popular franchises, along with multiple endings and stories to play through, it's safe to say Warriors All-Stars is a game with plenty of depth.
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How do you play Warriors All-Stars?
On the surface, Warriors All-Stars is mostly about slicing, blasting and whacking your way through hordes of hundreds of hapless enemies using flashy, button-mashing combos and crazy special moves, each of which can take out dozens of enemies at a time - although you still won't get very far if you're just bashing enemies randomly. Taking place on large scale, maze-like battlefields, this is a game about taking bases, defending your commanders, and attempting to weaken the enemy forces before you make your way to the boss 'commander' that's been leading the charge. Adding a bit of strategy to the simple hack and slash gameplay, you'll need to think carefully about the route you take across the map, as you'll want to build up your power by taking out weaker foes, and taking the weaker bases, before you come face to face with a more powerful enemy.
You'll also find yourself effectively spinning plates on the battlefield, as you'll need to both advance through the enemy forces, whilst also aiding your own troops that come under attack. Quite often, you'll get a message pop up saying that 'Archers Commander' or 'Plachta' (another character) is in trouble, with the enemy army bearing down on them - and generally speaking, unless you backtrack to them and lend a hand, your team will be overwhelmed and you'll lose the battle. As you play, you'll get various other messages and objectives popping up too, and keeping on top of all the changing missions is key to victory.
How easy is Warriors All-Stars to pick up and play?
With a choice of difficulty levels for combat, including two different levels of easy, each of which makes enemies substantially weaker, there's a fair bit of scope to control the challenge for less able players here - especially as the button-mashing combat doesn't ask too much in terms of reactions or skill. However, Warriors All-Stars is still a pretty complex game to get into, as it can be a bit overwhelming at times, as you try to work out which bases to attack when, and how best to make your way through your opponents' forces, only to find a friendly base on the other side of the map has come under attack. Take the "wrong" route through the level, and you may find yourself up against much more powerful enemies you'll struggle to beat, meaning plenty of planning is key.
Paying attention to the map, which shows you where key enemy bases are positioned, as well as identifying some of the aforementioned boss characters, does help, but there's always a lot to stay on top of. With optional extra missions, important information and additional objectives popping up constantly mid-battle, you'll need to keep one eye on the notifications, and one eye on the battle - especially as should you fail to find and help your 'Swordsman Commander' that's in trouble in time, you'll lose.
As with most games of its ilk, Warriors All-Stars is almost entirely Japanese voiced with English subtitles - with the exception of a single English/Irish character, William, who is voiced in English with an Irish accent. Various objectives and mid-mission updates are delivered through text only.
- "Hold on! Hold it! Wh-Where am I? I was just in my atelier!"
- "Lady Tamaki, we have a serious problem. Lord Setsuna's forces have taken the region where a shrine is located. They are surely planning on keeping us away."
- "We are about to reach the forest. They say people vanish among these trees, and hear voices of some monsters… Is it true?"
In terms of mature content, Warriors All-Stars is relatively tame. There's no bad language, no gore and no major sexual content to speak of - although some characters do wear skimpy outfits, while optional bath scenes show characters wearing nothing but a towel. Non-realistic, almost cartoony violence is a frequent fixture, with players sending hundreds of enemies flying (humanoid creatures, blue blobs, flaming heads) in each battle with weapons that range from swords and staffs to magical spells and giant fish, with attacks accompanied by cries of pain, impact sounds and bright flashes of light. No blood is shown.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4