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CONSOLE: PlayStation 2 DEVELOPER: Capcom PUBLISHER: Capcom
RELEASE DATE (NA): November 29, 2007 GENRE: Beat-'em-up
// review by Matt

History lessons have never been this fun.

Sengoku Basara is Capcom's long-running franchise spanning movies, numerous animated series and video games. It is based very loosely on the Sengoku era of Japanese history, of which plenty of documentation exists and also well-researched guesses and speculation. These famous battles and frankly super-important events in Japan history are expanded upon and made all the more mystical with crazy weapons, absurd techniques and ridiculous looking characters.

Let's address the elephant in the room. I often see the Basara series compared to Dynasty Warriors, but the resemblance is only passing once you get into the game. Slicing through waves of enemies and protecting areas is classic "Musou", but Basara's differences are multiple. For starters, Basara's areas are often linear, focused on a single path, where Dynasty Warriors often has you back and forth between areas. Basara also puts a heavy focus on narrative, with more cutscenes than your typical Warriors game. In many ways then, it shares more with the Samurai Warriors series, but even then I find that it feels a lot different when it comes down to the way everything functions.

There are three full playable character stories in Basara 2 Heroes, five shorter "gaiden" side-stories, and also a handful of other modes which can be played with all 29 available characters. The Conquest Mode features randomised battles which can be fought with up to two players, as you work together to rule all of Japan by taking out the opponent's mini-empires. Heroes seeks to be the biggest Basara package available at the time, with all-new versus mode and an updated tournament mode, both designed with multiplayer in mind.


I'm upset that senGOKU Basara isn't a DBZ game...

Heroes is like a "Greatest Hits" compilation, featuring not only new material but also every playable character introduced into the series up to this point, new and old maps, modes and features. The result is a game I'd easily recommend as a starting point to the series, especially seeing as the HD re-release for PS3 features no region restrictions. Said HD package also includes Sengoku Basara and Sengoku Basara 2, making it the true "everything" package.

The only true barrier is the language, but when the game consists of mauling and maiming countless enemy soldiers with ludicrous attacks I'm not so sure the language of the game is at all relevant. The large amount of backstory and plot can be found online, and it's all explained in depth with the connections to the real-life Sengoku period clearly outlined.

The game serves as a great introduction to the Sengoku period, and has beautiful animated and in-game cutscenes that really show off Heroes' excellent storytelling. Even in another language, it's easy to gauge the mood and theme of each scene, and you can still glean a lot of information out of the excellent voice-direction and animation.

Grab this title if you like killing lots of people and feeling really good doing it. Great bit of catharsis really.


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