While Koei Tecmo"s Musou games have a tried and tested formula, the games do evolve. What are the biggest changes between Samurai Warriors 4 and 5?

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Mitsuki And Mitsuhide from Samurai Warriors 5
Samurai Warriors began way back in 2004. There have been many spinoffs in the series since, but it’s pretty astounding to know that in almost two decades, only five numbered entries exist. The main Dynasty Warriors series is a bit higher with it now being at a Dynasty Warriors 9. That began in 1997.

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This is a series that never seems to end much to the chagrin of some gamers. They feel the franchise is repetitive and that the games always play the same. From the outside looking in, that may seem true for this new PS4 and Switch game from Koei Tecmo. However, longtime fans know there are a lot of changes within Samurai Warriors 5 to make it feel like a new experience. These changes are for the better and for the worse in some cases. 

6 Cel-Shading In An Earlier Era

Nobunaga from Samurai Warriors 5
This is perhaps the most striking change in Samurai Warriors 5, although it isn’t new for the entire series. The anime spinoffs have been using this style for a while now. In cases such as One Piece: Pirate Warriors, it works well since cel-shading helps make the anime property pop out. Most of those One Piece games are pretty good too.

It works well for Samurai Warriors 5 too even if it isn’t an anime. Another change to coincide with the new art style is that the period is set earlier than any game before it. Nobunaga is now a younger man on his journey to unite Japan. Both he and Mitsuhide are now the two focuses of the story. This age change is reflected through other characters as well. 

5 New Characters, Reductions, And Weapon Changes 

Sandayu from Samurai Warriors 5
There are several changes to go through in finer detail with the characters. For one, many of them have new gameplay styles that were seemingly chosen to reflect the new ages. For example, Ieyasu was well known for his giant drill-like spears in the series. He now sports twin katanas.

Even the lead characters are different. Nobunaga went from a Western broadsword to an Odachi. Mitsuhide was a katana user and while he still uses it, it is now secondary to his bow skills. Those are just three examples but there are many others in Samurai Warriors 5. It’s great for when playing co-op.

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The roster overall is smaller than the past game, Samurai Warriors 4, but it still boasts over twenty playable characters. Among the old cast, there are also a lot of newcomers such as Mitsuki, Sena, and Yasuke. Yasuke may look familiar since the character just had an anime series debut in 2021. He joins as one of the very few black characters in this series overall. 

4 No Create A Character 

Hideyoshi from Samurai Warriors 5
One downside to the character roster is that there is no longer a character creator. Samurai Warriors 4 had a mode wherein players could create a male or female warrior and then progress them through their own samurai/ninja game. They could customize their abilities as well as their look and weapon design.

This was referred to as Chronicle Mode. That mode has seemingly been replaced by Citadel Mode, which is more or less like a tower-defense game. It’s not bad but it doesn’t equal the scale of Chronicle Mode. 

3 Not Many Clan Modes

Nobunaga And Mitsuhide from Samurai Warriors 5
Most games in this series have multiple families to follow. This is a Koei Tecmo special. Samurai Warriors 4, for example, had twelve starting points such as The Legend of the Takeda or The Legend of Kanto. This time around, Samurai Warriors 5 primarily focuses on Nobunaga’s rise to power as well as how Mitsuhide aided him. 

There are some other surprises inbound, but those two timelines are the main focus. This is more in line with how most of the anime spinoffs operate. This is not so much a bad thing as the story is interesting. Nevertheless, it"s very different from the other games in the Samurai Warriors franchise, which may be disheartening to hear for longtime fans. 

2 Ultimate Skills

Samurai Warriors 4-II had a similar skill system but Samurai Warriors 5 is different enough to merit noting the changes. Samurai Warriors 4 itself did not have any sort of skill system, while Samurai Warriors 5 has a gameplay feature called Ultimate skills. 

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These are actual attack commands that range from weapon moves to individual character specials. They’re great and add more variety to battle to this hack and slash game. There are also passive skills to activate; for example, Pride temporarily raises attack power. Four of these skills can be equipped on a character at a time and they are unlocked via a skill tree. 

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1 No Unlimited Saves

Saving can be a big issue in video games. Samurai Warriors 5 has five save slots, which is better than the standard three that most games implement. Samurai Warriors 4 relied on PS4 storage. 

This meant that the saves were seemingly endless just as long as the system had enough memory. Going from unlimited saves to five save slots is a shame. This won’t be a problem for a lot of people, but the change is still something worth noting for the few players who do care. 

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