Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sengoku Basara or I Really Just Like Destroying Armies
On the night before I go pick up Dynasty Warriors: Xtreme Legends 7 I find myself playing Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes for my PS3 which is, for the unfamiliar, Capcom's take on the Sengoku Era ala Samurai Warriors. (Not sure which came first as both series have been going on for a while, so I'll just state that they're similar and move on) Now, Samurai/Dynasty Warriors games aren't well known for being "Historically Accurate", but they've got the broad strokes down at least, whereas Sengoku Basara gleefully goes way over the top to the point where Honda Tadakatsu, famous for surviving his part of the war without sustaining a single major injury and being one of the best Officers under Tokugawa Ieyasu (The man who would end up winning the war and unifying Japan), is depicted as a giant robot.
Basara spits in the face of common sense with its story, plot and characters, and it's awesome because while it takes very, very numerous liberties with the era, it still follows the era at least semi-faithfully. The first person I went through the story with was actually Tokugawa Ieyasu (depicted as a spry, young-ish pugilist which is....I guess on par with his older, more realistic Samurai Warriors version since that version wields a Cannonspear) whose story roughly spans the time between the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and ends with the Battle of Sekigahara which was, basically, the battle to end all battles. And while it's a very different game from the Warriors series, it's fun enough in its own right in that it does, roughly, what they do.
Sengoku Basara is a much heavier game; not plot-heavy or anything, just every action has more weight to it, which unfortunately leads to a little bit of a slower pace for me at least. Eventually when I have awesome weapons and super accessories and such, I'm sure it'll be better but for the time being, I was wondering who got their action game in my beat-em-up since that was kind of the difference in speed. I felt like I was playing Devil May Cry or Darksiders in terms of weight, of every hit having an impact, rather than cutting a swash through the air that felled five people at once, if that makes any sense. Still, a lot of the fun lies in the fact that you're still beating up dudes in the multiples of 50-100 and a lot of the extra lies in the actual story itself, or at least the presentation.
You see, the games are based on a manga series very closely from what I can tell, so all that Over-the-topness comes directly from that and has actually been developed, rather than KOEI's approach at taking history, running their spin on it and generating dialogue as thus. So the story is quite a different take from what you might've seen elsewhere (including history). For any example, in the starting cinematic, it shows Tokugawa Ieyasu standing face-to-face (chest, really, Hideyoshi is really tall in this) during a battle then cuts to Ishida Mitsunari who senses danger and returns to Hideyoshi to find him dead with Tokugawa flying off on Honda Tadakatsu's back. (Giant robot, remember? What good giant robot doesn't have flight capabilities?) So throughout the whole story, it seems more of a motive that Mitsunari wants to get revenge for Hideyoshi's death and chooses to raise an army to do that, whereas Ieyasu harbors Hideyoshi's dream for unification.
Every character has their own quirks and the like (a necessity from coming from a manga) and while some work, others don't and that's unfortunate, but I think at this point the ones that count matter more. For every Hojo Ujimasa, there's an Otani Yoshitsugu and for every Kobayakawa Hideaki, there's a Date Masamune and it evens out quite well. Whether or not I'll hold firm to that belief when I have to play the 'lesser' characters is something that remains to be seen, but regardless I'll be interested in seeing what goes on when I do play them. It's a strange feeling, knowing the era, yet not knowing where they go with it, story-wise. I know at times I should be getting history snobby, but all I can do is be interested in what they've decided to do or where they've decided to go with something.
Next up when I play will be Date Masamune, so I've gotta be ready to put my guns on. I will be ready, though. Oh how I will.