Samurai Warriors 2 Xtreme Legends
- Developer: Koei
- Publisher: Koei
There comes a time in every reviewer's career when they have to bite the bullet and review one of Koei's infinite number of historical melee-fighting strategic battlefield mash-ups. It's a fairly thankless task, since you can pretty much guarantee that 98 percent of the people who have bothered to read past the title have no intention of playing the game in question - because it's all the same innit? Meanwhile, the final 2 percent is made up of a scarily devoted fanbase which has memorised every minor variation across the multiple interlocking and overlapping series and will scream bloody murder if you dare suggest that its all the same, innit?
For the first group, congratulations on reading this far. And you're wrong. Sort of. Like its numerous peers, this isn't a brainless button-masher. It just looks a lot like one and, to be fair, can easily play like one if you can't be arsed making the effort. For the second group, this is simply the latest in the rather dubious spin-off series, which takes existing Warriors games, jiggers about with them slightly and then pretends that the end result warrants the horribly dated use of the word "xtreme".
New characters is the main draw here, with such historical Japanese figures as 16th Century general Maeda Toshiie and Hosokawa Gracia, Japan's first Christian saint, joining the fray. Imagawa Yoshimoto is back from the previous Samurai Xtreme Legends effort, sporting a new look, while Shibata Katsuie and Sasaki Kojiro from Samurai Warriors 2 Empires are included, along with new weapons. There are also a couple of new historical battles included to go along with the updated character roster. A fifth tier of weaponry has been added, although the base attack stats are the same as fourth tier weapons, making them of little tactical value.
Finally, you also get Mercenary Mode in which you keep fighting to earn cash which keeps your health bar from running out. It's a survival mode, basically, and not much different from the Xtreme Mode seen in previous titles.
If you've already got Samurai Warriors 2, then I can't really see this slightly remixed version being worth the GBP 20 (EUR 25) asking price. You can use your saved game from the existing version, but the additional content is just about what you'd expect from a cheap DLC package on the 360 or PS3. With that in mind, it can't help but feel like PS2 owners are being penalised for being faithful to the last console generation.