Though some people might look at Basara and turn up their noses, claiming it's a "bad rip off" of Koei's more popular Samurai Warriors, Sengoku Basara has a flashy, eccentric appeal that gives it a flair that makes it stand out from the Hack N' Slash genre. Yes, Basara is set in the war torn, 16th century Japan, yes, its roster does include well known figures such as Yukimura Sanada and Masamune Date, but Basara takes that, but peppers in some ridiculous flair and cranks it up to eleven. Masamune wielding six swords, Yukimura having spears akimbo whilst causing explosions of enemy troops? Only in Sengoku Basara.
Though the game play is your basic tear through the crowd beat-em-up, the move sets, the absurd but awesome "Basara Artes" and the ridiculously long combo strings make the game play enjoyable. Each, if not all of the stages have different requirements to fulfill and secrets to unlock, and depending on the character you've chosen to play as, the entire situation can change entirely. And not only does Basara have a fairly engaging one-player mode, teaming up with a friend for the two-player co-cop mode just adds to the gameplay.
Unlike Samurai Warriors, which follows a very true-to-life formula of the Warring States period, Capcom takes quite a bit of artistic liberty (as if they hadn't already) in their rendition. Instead of focusing on historical accuracies, Capcom gives us more of a character based and driven series. All the characters have a base story line, that, once completed, gives way for new, history altering ones (Yes, bend history with the wiimote in your hand!), and gives Basara a fair amount of replay value, along with "bonuses" like alternate costumes, and new weapons to collect along the way.
As far as graphics and other aesthetics go, for the Wii, the visuals are still pretty astounding. Lush environments, unique character designs, and a fairly constant style of animation. The cutscenes are certainly very well animated- though with an astounding lack of anime cutscenes that were found in the first installment (Devil Kings). The music is enjoyable as well, switching to state themes and character themes as the battle progresses. The voice acting is very well done with some pretty famous choices - Johnny Yong Bosch, Laura Bailey, Liam O'Brien, just to name a few.
However, Sengoku Basara does have a few rough patches. Often the fighting can get a tad repetitive if you've fought the same campaign more than a few times, and can become boringly easy. Capcom has also seemed to have missed some typographical/grammar errors throughout the game- they aren't glaring, as some of the text stays on screen for little more than a few seconds, but it is noticeable. (Like spelling "enemies" "enemys"). Another unfortunate aspect is the failure to explain what precisely is going on in the series, as this is the first port to the West that Basara has gotten, but respectively, is the 3rd title in the series. The main battle the game focuses on, Sekigahara, occurs in the third stage of the Sengoku period, and no reference is given to who exactly Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi were and why they were important, or even smaller details as to, for example, why Masamune and Yukimura are even rivals in the first place. Though players who have heard of or have known about the Sengoku Basara series (or, for that matter, their Japanese history) may be familiar with the subjects and characters, new players will most likely be more than a little confused.
All in all, however, I have found Sengoku Basara to be a highly enjoyable game, and personally, am pretty sad this may be the last and only installment we'll be seeing stateside. For anyone who enjoyed this game, I'd suggest watching the anime adaptation, or the first Westernized game, "Devil Kings" for extra Sengoku ridiculousness. I wish anyone and everyone who picks up a copy good luck in your conquest of Japan, and hope you enjoy this game as much as I have.
yes: I recommend this product