If you have never played koei's warriors series of games, they are a 3D beat 'em up / hack and slash fighting game where you play through historical battles as an officer of army but because most of the time you army just stands around, you have to do most of the work
Samurai Warriors 2 is set during the "Warring States" period of Japan's history, so all the missions are loosely based on real battles from that period and all the characters are based on real historical figures.
When you first start you have 6 characters available. Each has their own story with five or six levels plus and extra dream level which is a "what if" level. Each of the level normally consist of working your way through hundreds of enemy soldiers with the odd fight with other officers like yourself. Each level has their own conditions for winning or losing the battle so you do need a strategy sometimes. All the characters have their own unique abilities and weapons making them very different to play as.
As you play your character will slowly level up just like in a RPG. This mean your character stats will get higher the more you play . You can also go to a shop to spend the gold you collect on the battlefield on new skills, horses, guards and upgrade weapons. The levelling and skills system works well but the upgrading of weapons is random and you never know what you are going to get.
there's something very satisfying about fighting your way through close to a thousand soldiers with ease but the game can get a bit repetitive and unfortunately you will see the same levels often with different objectives or with you on the other side of the battle. This can get boring when you realise you've seen it already but luckily the story can keep levels interesting and it makes them feel different.
There is a lot of things to unlock in this game to keep it interesting. In total there are 20 different character to unlock, each has their own story to play through and unique style of gameplay . There are also weapons, guards, levels and horses that you can unlock/buy. If your the kind of person that likes to unlock everything in a game you could easily play through this game for months.
If your bored and want to do something other than the story levels there's is the free mode, which allows you to play any character you have unlocked on any level you have unlocked. Or there's the survival mode where you go through a never ending castle doing random missions. Both these modes can keep you entertained or if you are stuck they can help you level up your character or gain some gold to spend.
There is also the option of a hard difficulty if you are looking for more of a challenge or you might want to switch to is because your character has leveled up too much.
By default the controls are awkward, rather than use the standard keyboard and mouse system that's been used for PC games for years, the makers of the game decided to use only the keyboard. This means that you need three hands to play the game properly, one hand to move your character, one hand to turn the camera and one hand to attack, jump, etc. Not only is it awkward to use just the keyboard but it is also means that moving your character is not as fluid as it could have been if you could have used a mouse. Every time I attempted to use just the keyboard my character would die about four minutes after I started playing. To make things worse theres no support for a mouse so you can't even set it up for yourself. I don't even want to get started on how awkward it would be to play split screen co-op with both players sharing the keyboard.
Luckily there is support for gamepads if you have one. I personal used a XBox 360 pad as they have windows drivers, and it worked much better than keyboard. The only real problem I had when using the game pad was that the game only detected the first four analog axis, this meant that the left/right axis on the second analog stick was not detected.
The game includes two player offline co-op (split screen) but without game pads you have to share the keyboard with the second player. Disapointingly theres no online or even LAN co-op which is a shame because the co-op has always been one of the best things about these games.
Theres also the Sugoroku mode which is a board game for up to four players with little minigames that use the Samurai Warriors engine. To be honest even though this mode adds something new and different it not really something you will play much and it would be hard to convince others to play with you. But if you like this mode you can always play against up to 3 computers.
Because this game has been ported over from the PS2 the graphics are not as good as other PC games being released today. That being said it doesn't look bad but it looks like it should have came out 2 or 3 years ago but this means it will run on older computers a lot easier than Crysis though. If you do have a newer PC there are a lot of graphical options to make the game look better
All the cut scenes look wonderful and were at times beautifully directed by Shinsuke Sato. They all had a resolution of 1280x720 which looked nice but it means if your computer is just capable of running the game you probably wont be able to watch the cuts scenes and without the cut scenes its impossible to follow the story. Luckily if you are tech savvy you can use a program like FFDShow to lower the resolution of the videos while you watch them.
Overall it's a great game and it's fun gameplay makes up for a lot of its flaws. Even if you have an older computer this game could be perfect for you because of its lower system requirements. If you don't have a gamepad I would recommend waiting until you have one before picking up a copy.