Samurai Warriors Chronicles

Game review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Samurai Warriors Chronicles Game Poster Image
Historical hack-and-slash game with moderate violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Messages of war and violence can never be very positive, but it should be noted that in this game players are on the 'good' side and trying to take out an antagonistic force rather than the other way around. Allied characters provide camaraderie and encouraging dialogue.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the important characters in this game are warriors, and, as such, encourage a life of combat and killing. However, they wage war with the intent of honoring and doing what is right for Japan. Players are surrounded by brave, energetic allies.

Ease of Play

This game involves constant and frenetic action that requires focus, strategy, and skill. This is not a game that a novice player would likely be able to pick up and finish easily. Some of the boss enemies can be very difficult to defeat. The controls are fairly easy to grasp right away, but the task of taking on legions of enemies with only a limited amount of breaks or status healers is not one to be taken lightly.

Violence

Players encounter droves of human enemy soldiers at almost every turn in this dash-and-slash game, which involves swords, spears, and other melee weapons. Large groups of enemies can be sent flying backwards from player attacks. They fall to the ground and vanish when defeated. There is no blood.

Sex
Language

Characters occasionally use the words "damn" and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dialogue contains references to drinking sake, but it's in the context of celebration and good cheer rather than glorifying drunkenness.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Samurai Warriors Chronicles is a hack-and-slash adventure game. The main objective is to run around battlefields and take out as many enemies as possible. Players are scored based on how many opposing soldiers they kill. However, it's a very impersonal experience and there are never any close-up or slow-motion effects. It's an adventure based on the historical era of Feudal Japan, in which the entire country was at war. The majority of play consists of violent acts, but with the historical context and mitigating visual presentation it doesn't come off as egregious. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

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What's it about?

SAMURAI WARRIORS CHRONICLES takes place in Japan, hundreds of years ago when the country was faced with endless conflict and war. This sets the backdrop for the game's tone, setting, and violence, but there isn't much historical accuracy. Players may occasionally run into real-life people from Japanese history, but for the most part it's pure fiction. It does, however, provide a reason for all the hacking and slashing that goes on, and helps to make it feel like honorable, purposeful combat as opposed to senseless violence.

Is it any good?

Samurai Warriors Chronicles is the latest in the very long-running Samurai Warriors series. Unfortunately, as the first entry on 3DS, it doesn't satisfy. The graphics are low quality, and the 3D effects are not nearly as eye-popping as some of the other 3DS launch titles. It feels as though the developer may have taken content from DS versions of the series and transferred it over to the 3DS rather than creating something from the ground up. There's a lot to explore and the franchise's challenging gameplay is intact. Unfortunately, it falls short in its presentation.

Online interaction: While players cannot chat with anyone else online, they can enter the 3DS's StreetPass Mode to form a team of characters that are automatically imported from other players' game cards.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the historical significance of this game. Do you know what was going on in Japan during this era? Can you think of examples of wars with and without just causes? What are some of the outcomes of war?

  • Families can also discuss violence in games. How do you determine if a game is too violent for you or members of your family? Do you worry about the effects of viewing violent media?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: KOEI
  • Release date: March 27, 2011
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: T for Violence, Mild Language, Alcohol Reference

For kids who love action

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