After Capcom's Captivate
event, new information came (finally!) about the localization of the newest entry in the over-the-top hack n' slash series, Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes.
Despite some things I don't like about the voice direction, it looks like it may shape up to be a solid port, and it turns out to be a budget title!
$40 to get into the action. I still have a lurching feeling that it will bomb, as gamers on this side of the Pacific tend to scrutinize games of this nature, but a man can hope...
Here's an epic trailer about the overarching storyline of Sengoku BASARA 3
Anyway, after the slew of news about the English release, I figured I might as well make a blog post about all the news regarding the Japanese release, Sengoku BASARA 3, as A LOT has been revealed over the last few months.
We'll begin with the newest gameplay changes from previous titles:
*please note this is a BIG blog post, and may contain some spoilers for Sengoku BASARA (yes, in all caps) 2, and its expansion, Eiyuu Gaiden (Heroes). If you planned on importing these PS2/Wii games, read at your own risk.
Stages are covered in "zones" belonging to either your army or the opposing army, with each zone being controlled by a base captain, sitting atop a raised platform. Allied base captains can give you items, such as health, increased attack or defence, and I believe that enemy base captains are capable of giving the same to their surrounding troops (though given Basara's track record, this probably won't really make your time more difficult unless you're playing on a higher difficulty).
Taking over bases doesn't really have the same core necessity that it does in Koei's Warriors series, but can help in other ways. Base captains trigger a giant explosion when killed, taking out all the surrounding enemies and driving up your combo by A LOT. Aside from being able to score mad stacks of gold from defeated enemies when your combo is high, you also get a new item box whenever the combo goes from 0 to 500. In addition, a new "Super FEVER!" has been added when your combo gets higher than 1000(?), which nets you x11 gold. Farming will be much less of a chore it seems.
The strength of enemy officers, particularly bosses, are affected by how much territory they control. So if you think you won't be able to beat Tadakatsu, consider taking out some more bases, and you'll see his "star rating" go down, making him weaker overall.
A gauge surrounding the character portrait denotes your slowmo gauge, and when executed it...well, slows the movements of all enemy units (though I think bosses are resistant to this, not sure).
This replaces the Sengoku Drive from Sengoku BASARA 2, which made you move faster and hit harder when activated, with a new drive being added every 100 kills, and at higher levels you would get an upgraded drive if you had one unused in your slot. I personally don't miss the drive, as it made the game much too easy outside of Extreme dificulty, and bosses could be taken out in about 5 seconds by using a Lv. 3 drive with your Ultimate Basara attack (this is playing on HARD).
Speaking of Ultimate Basara, I believe it is activated when Basara is used in conjunction with the slowmo feature, but I could be wrong.
While attacking a boss, your blows will sometimes bounce off each other, maybe just regular attacks and not skills. If this occurs three times consecutively, you will start hacking away at high speed, and be forced to mash square (A on Wii?) until one of you wins.
I don't know if you do an extra special attack when you win, as this hasn't been shown much in any gameplay videos released, and I only know one person who has actually played a demo for the game.
Did you know Basara didn't have any multiplayer modes at all until Sengoku Basara 2: Heroes? Well, thankfully, co-op is returning, and you're still able to revive a player should they fall in battle by standing in their proximity. Great if your buddy sucks...a lot.
I hope we can see a video of the coop mode, because I want to see if it has the same horrendous "ghosting" (popup) that ruins the coop modes of the Musou games.
Also, please Capcom, let us do coop in Free Mode. Being limited to Conquest mode in Heroes wasn't very nice *sadface*
- the PS3 version of the game has online multiplayer, while the Wii version doesn't :\
Now, to the core of the game updates so far, the characters!
We'll start with the newbies.
*after spending lots of time on the KoeiWarriors forum, I'm trying to get used to the traditional Eastern name order (surname > given name). So just flip these around if your used to the Western order (given name > surname)
In real life, Yoshitsugu had leprosy. His health deteriorated to the point that when the Battle of Sekigahara came, he had to be carried to the battle on a palanquin.
And thats the best way to describe how his design came about. He looks like Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin
(instant awesome), and he's voiced by the same guy who voiced Gendo in Neon Genesis Evangelion
(INSTANT LEGEND). He fights using floating orbs, and can "mark" enemies for his skills to target them. He's very different from the other characters shown, and it looks like he'll offer a good variety to gameplay.
This is quite a shock for anyone who has played Samurai Warriors, where, as in most depictions, Magoichi is a MAN. However, Saika Magoichi was merely a title, not a true name, and thus it is technically possible that a woman led the group at some point, though not likely.
She is meant to be a "replacement" for Nouhime, the previous gunslinger of the series. To be honest, I think Magoichi blows "Lady Butterfly" out of the water. Her skills take advantage of 3 different weapons: dual magnums, a shotgun, and a machine gun. Using different skills changes the weapon she has equipped, thus granting her a new S-string (standard attacks). I'm very excited to play as her.
She's gotten some flak for being gruff (people clearly aren't used to strong female characters...) and some people claim she has a man face...wtf...
Watch the video to see her in action.
Hmm...very peculiar character, this Kanbei. For a long time I kept confusing him with Takenaka Hanbei (in his gameplay video he even mentions Hanbei, who is confirmed dead). His design is a bit...bland, compared to the rest of the cast, but the more subdued approach to his character is an alright choice. Not every character can be like, say, Yukimura, yelling every single line.
Fights using a ball and chain, handcuffed to himself (I believe he was in prison, IIRC), and looks to be the slow & powerful type.
No Wikipedia article? Dang...anyway, Tsuruhime, historically, is the oldest character in the game (older than Motonari!!!), and she commited suicide in battle in her early twenties. She was an archer in real life, as well. She's supposed to have a rivalry with Chosokabe Motochika, who now has THREE people on his sh*tlist >_>
She is portrayed as a spry teenager, with a priestess outfit that looks like a sailor fuku [insert your own Lucky Star joke here]. Being a teenager, she also doesn't have an earsplittingly high-pitched voice. Definitely a plus. You can also occasionally see her bloomers when she runs. You pervs, you.
Compared to Mori Ranmaru (also dead), she seems much more "archer-like", and I like her moveset so far.
Well, so far, those are the PLAYABLE new characters...but more on that later. Its time to get to the returning veterans!
The party boy returns, bringing along his ludricrously oversized nodachi that would make Cloud Strife cringe in jealousy, and his faithful pet monkey Yumekichi.
Still the ever on-the-run vagabond of the Maeda clan, Keiji pals around with the Uesugi for SB3. Apparently he falls in love with Magoichi at first sight, a feeling which isn't returned *dun dun duuun*
Not very much has been shown of his new skills. I know of one where Yumekichi runs off and brings back a random item (health and such), but theres a chance he'll bring back a bomb, the sneaky bastard.
*name was changed to "Iron OX" in Devil Kings
He's called "Hondam" by fans for a reason. His story in SB2 revolved around rescuing Ieyasu from various kidnappers, but since lil' Takechiyo is all grown up now, who knows where his new storyline will take him?
A few new skills have been seen, such as being able to fly in the air AND drop bombs on foes below, as well as one where his drill spear gets attached to one arm, and is used like a lance, finishing off with an explosion. This is good, as his S-sting is very unwieldy and moves all over the place, making focusing on a single enemy quite difficult.
*name was changed to "Arslan" in Devil Kings
The pirate is making a comeback! With his trusty anchor/spear (which he surfs with ON LAND) he leads his pirate gang in search of fortune and fame! *insert 4kids One Piece theme*
Aniki (his pirates call him this, it means "boss" or "big brother") has some trouble this time around. Not only must he deal with his rival, Mori Motonari, and a new pest, Tsuruhime, but his friend from SB2Heroes, Ieyasu, has invaded his lands.
He looks VERY much improved from SB2, his skills appear much more effective. Plus he's a pirate. This game has pirates, ninjas, AND robots. We need a character that can combine the three o_0
*name was changed to "Zahn" in Devil Kings
Yoshihiro was one of my least used characters in SB2. Aside from the fact that I tend to shy away from the uber slow, uber powerful types, I hated his S-string. If the first hit doesn't connect, his sword gets stuck in the ground, and you're forced to wait a second while he pulls it out. This means that boss fights rely mainly on spamming his skills over and over.
Thankfully, since SB3 allows you to equip 3 skills at once, theres a better variety for this, and maybe I'll just use him more frequently than before.
Also, since this game in centered around Sekigahara, his rivalry with Tadakatsu now at least kindof makes sense.
I don't really know anything about his story in SB3. Yoshihiro is the head of the Shimazu clan of Kyushu, who frequently clashed with the Otomo (Tachibana) clan.
*here's hoping for a Tachibana to be a playable character...
Get ready, this next one brought on quite the fangasm when I first heard of....
Honestly, I nearly fell out of my chair when a Famitsu leak revealed her return. She is my favourite character in all of Sengoku BASARA, especially from a story standpoint. She had THE BEST storyline in the entire franchise (bold, yes, but most fans would agree with me on that one), representing a touching tragedy that was completely out of the ordinary for the series.
Her story is a "loose" continuation from SB2H, in that Nagamasa, Nouhime, Ranmaru, and Nobunaga are still dead, and she has amnesia (better she doesn't remember what she went through).
She has ditched her naginata in favor of a moveset that uses only her "Hades hands".
Her skills, like Motochika's, have been greatly improved. I very seldom used her black hand moves in Heroes, but now they have more practical use, not to mention range.
Taciturn and total badass ninja Kotaro is once again hired by Hojo Ujimasa to do the one thing the old geezer can't: kick some ass. He looks just as fun to play as he was in Heroes. He gains a counter attack skill, similar to what Kasuga and Sasuke had in previous games, and I believe he has some mid-air versions of his older skills as well (such as the fuuma shuriken throw).
It appears his story this time around isn't just assassination after assassination. A screenshot (which was posted by Jim Sterling not that long ago) showed Kotaro with Tsuruhime, and some people have heard something about Kotaro saving her from danger, if by accident. I hope Capcom doesn't completely dial back his badass factor.
Now that all the AWESOME news is done, we get to the unfortunate news. Possibly due to the hardship of getting on a whole new development platform (the PS3 being difficult to develop for), there are LOTS of non-playable characters in this game. Like, 10 have been revealed so far, and I pray there are no more. Not just new characters, but ones that have been playable since the very first game in the series on the PS2. F***, even characters that were playable in Devil Kings! Some were NPCs back then, and are NPCs once more after being playable in SB2/H.
*sigh* Well, behold the people you will fight, but for the moment, cannot fight AS.
*name was changed to "Orwik" in Devil Kings
The crazy old man whose castle, Odawara, is probably more well known than he is. Aside from the fact that his clan's crest (IN REAL LIFE TOO) is the TRIFORCE, he also has Fuuma Kotaro in his hire.
He has a tendency to ask his "honourable ancestors" for aid in battle, to no avail. He also can place a "moxa" (some east-Asian therapuetic burning thing?) on his head, making him move and attack faster.
His name was changed to Orwik in Devil Kings, and for some reason all the enemies on his stage were Egyptian themed. WHY???
This makes me sad. Kojuuro was a badass, Yakuza style swordsman, with awesome skills, and a wicked mode called "Moonless Slaughter" where he drags his sword along the ground and punches his enemies before making two massive one-handed swings.
But, he's an NPC now...
Anywho, Kojuuro is Masamune's attendant, and frequently advises him of decsions he should make, Masamune being as reckless as he is. He is known as "The Dragon's Right Eye" (Masamune having lost his right eye due to smallpox).
He was first introduced in SB2 as an NPC, but was made playable in the Heroes expansion.
*name was changed to "Venus" in Devil Kings
One of only 2 fictional characters in the series, Kasuga is a kunoichi (female ninja) who serves Uesugi Kenshin. She is obviously meant to be fanservice to the male demographic, being the most scantily clad female in the series. She is most known for being extremely affectionate towards her Lord Kenshin, having [implied] orgasms when they appear together, and this was taken to the extreme in the anime.
She was playable in the original game, where she shared the same moveset with Sarutobi Sasuke.
Despite being an NPC, she retains her newer moveset from SB2, using a set of kunai (throwing knives) attached to pink glowing threads.
*name was changed to "Frost" in Devil Kings
Very effeminate in appearance (there is an old story IRL of Naoe Kanetsugu referring to him as "mother"), the elegant ruler of Echigo. Like Kasuga and Sasuke, he was playable since the very first game, so its rather disappointing he's been made an NPC now.
He is an ice user, and has both close and long range skills, which come out very fast.
*name was changed to "Talon" in Devil Kings
Legendary ninja Sasuke (no, not THAT Sasuke) was also playable in the original game, but has been moved to NPC status. He fights using a pair of very large shuriken, uses a variety of ninjutsu, and can make bunshin (clones) of himself.
He serves and advises Sanada Yukimura, who is now the leader of the Takeda army since Shingen has fallen ill.
Maeda Toshiie & Matsu
*names were changed in Devil Kings to "Lark" and "Bramble", respectively
Wait, BOTH of the Maedas are NPCs?! WTF...
Well, what story signifiance they have hasn't been told in much detail yet, as both of them had rather silly, fun storylines in previous titles (Toshiie chasing after Keiji, Matsu gathering ingredients for a feast, etc.).
Toshiie can spew fire, and Matsu summons animal familiars, including a swarm of hawks, boars, and even a bear.
Toshiie was playable in the original game, while Matsu then was a clone of Kenshin, and was given her own, playable moveset in SB2.
*technically, name was changed to "Reaper" in Devil Kings
In case you notice something familiar about "Tenkai", then you've probably noticed he looks a little...A LOT like Akechi Mitsuhide. Well...he is. In some very crappy, yet cool looking disguise he is apparently able to fool the rest of the cast(?). This is based off of an old story that Mitsuhide might have survived the Battle of Yamazaki, and started a new life as the famous Buddhist monk Tenkai.
Mitsuhide was playable in the original Sengoku BASARA, but an NPC in Devil Kings. He uses twin scythes as weapons, and has a slow, shambling walk. His skills so far seem no different from his moveset in SB2.
Mitsuhide's depiction in BASARA is known for being a very different approach from the norm, as in most depictions he is a noble man of honour, such as in Samurai Warriors or Onimusha.
Well, this...is...interesting...As in most appearances in pop culture, Hideaki is depicted as a pathetic turd, who is incapable of doing the simplest tasks. Here he is shown as a chef(?), and has a wok strapped to his back that he uses as a shield as well. Others have noted that his helmet makes him look like 'Heracross' (see: Pokemon).
He is known historically for betraying the Western army during the Battle of Sekigahara, which was a major factor in the Eastern army's victory. His betrayal also caused Otani Yoshitsugu to ask one of his attendants to cut off his head (he was too weak from disease to commit seppuku [ritualistic suicide]).
He also has the girliest man voice I think I have ever heard in my life. No, really, go to the official SB3 site and listen to it.
I wonder if Spike Spencer will voice him in Samurai Heroes...it would be an interesting thing to talk about at Anime Evolution 2010 in Vancouver, which I have a VIP pass to ^_^
AND WHICH SPIKE IS A GUEST AT!!!!! o_0 ZOMG
The Fox of Dewa is an elegant man indeed. With a rapier in one hand, and a piping hot cup of tea in the other, his moustache and striped pants will lead him to glory.
Just don't make him angry...
Lastly, here is a video showcasing a variety of each playable character's skills and unique attributes.
Skills appear to be more "chainable", and midair combos are now possible (note from Mitsunari's and Kotaro's segments). Also, if you look at Keiji's segment, take note of the enemies. Then, note the flag that clearly has the face of Zabii (Q-Ball in Devil Kings). I think we know who the next character is >_>
All in all, despite the character cuts, it looks like the gameplay has been given an overhaul, and looks to be even more fun than the previous titles. A playable demo is being made available at Japanese retail stores this week, but there is no word when (if ever) it will come to the Playstation Network.
Sengoku BASARA 3 releases for the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii on July 29th this year in Japan, while Sengoku BASARA: Samurai Heroes will be released on those same consoles in North America (and Europe?) some time this Fall.
*I left out Mori Motonari on purpose, as Capcom is releasing a video of him this coming Wednesday. read