Out Score: 8/10
Touken Ranbu Warriors is an action game that is a collaboration between the “spirits of blades” simulation game “Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-” presented by DMM GAMES and NITRO PLUS, and the thrilling “1 vs. 1,000” WARRIORS series of KOEI TECMO GAMES.
Re-write Re-written History
Famous swords take on the shape of warriors known as Touken Danshi (swordsmen) in Touken Ranbu Warriors. Fifteen Touken Danshi have been floating through time with no Saniwa (master) to lead them. When the frightening History Retrograde Army (HRA) attacks them. Following the outbreak of conflict, the Touken Danshi are approached by the Government of the Time. And are dispatched on a mission into the war-torn Sengoku Era. Where the rewrite of Japanese history is already under progress.
Essentially, you control a group of extremely charming, very gorgeous men who are actually magical swords. As they journey through time-fighting demons that wish to tamper with history. Throughout it all, you’ll be accompanied by Konnosuke, a cute little fox-like creature. Who has also enhanced the Touken Danshi’s combat powers to aid you in your goal to kick some butt.
It’s fun and entertaining, and it allows for some unusual wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff in which you whizz across different eras. Ensuring that the history you’ve learned is preserved. While not entirely unique, this wonderfully strange premise allows you to get to know the large cast of Touken Danshi. And I truly grew to care for this charismatic crew during my time sweeping my swords across massive 1vs1,000 battlefields and bemusedly sitting through cutscenes.
The Heart of the Fight
Touken Ranbu Warriors’ gameplay is much simplified when compared to prior Warriors games. And although it may not present a challenge to those of us who are familiar with the musou genre, that was definitely not the goal. It aims for a new audience. And as such, it’s a wonderful place to start for anyone who’s never played before. It gives you two options at the start: easy and normal.
To be honest, I chose normal mode. And even on this difficulty, I wouldn’t say you required any prior knowledge with action games. There are easy combinations to learn, special attacks that are dependent on the combo you utilised, and a charge metre that, when full, lets you to unleash a strong, flashy skill. While the sort of special attack you unleash is determined by the combination you performed before, you can also press the right shoulder button to reveal a radial menu and manually select which one you want to utilise.
In addition to standard combat, most maps have a buddy system. In which pressing a button summons the AI-controlled companion you choose at the start of the encounter to fight with you. This is a wonderful addition that gives the Danshi more screen time than the one you’ve chosen. And it contributes to the overall sense of togetherness between the teams.
Touken Ranbu Warriors is a piece of beauty in terms of graphics. Every component, including the load screens, menus, and user interface, has a beautiful and consistent look. The cutscenes are gorgeously produced, with each character bathed in light and standing among a whirling shower of sakura blossoms — a theme known to every otome fan – and even the menus and UI show a keen eye for detail.
Character models include distinctive colour schemes, haircuts, and intricately designed clothing that all help to convey their personalities. Even with the limitations of the Switch, the settings are beautiful and varied. The maps were a delight to explore. Whether you were meandering through tranquil, sunny countryside roads filled with brilliant flowers or slicing your way through murky, plundered villages simmering against brooding, purple landscapes.
Then there are the designs of the enemy. Touken Ranbu Warriors puts you against the History Retrograde Army, as opposed to the grounded opposition found in prior Warriors games, where you battle through human troops and historical characters. lizard-like skeletons with swords in their teeth, mysterious ninjas, ugly goblins, huge bugs, and enormous, monstrous ogres populate the battlefields. While these bizarre, fantasy-themed villains may not appeal to everyone, and they might lose their punch after a while, I like their designs. The contrast between these shadow-cloaked beasties and the flawless-skinned, tastefully clothed Touken Danshi only added to the flair of our fighters.
Touken Ranbu Warriors is a great mixing of two different series’ and is perfect for newcomers to the style of games. It’s especially great for fans of the Otome genre which the game is never shy about.