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KOEI's Feudal Japan offshoot of its Dynasty Warriors series returns with a revamped combat and leveling system. The action once again takes place from a third-person perspective, set behind one of 26 historically inspired characters. The goal is to travel across a series of battlefields while meting out punishment against rival armies. Players will use their character's distinctive weapon to perform various combo attacks on groups of 10 or more combatants, with guards and mounts available to assist in the war effort. Objectives range from defeating enemy generals to defending the region's headquarters from attack.
After choosing a character, each rated in such areas as life, speed, riding ability, and dexterity, players can delve into a Story Mode, Free Mode, Survival Mode, or a round of "Sugoroku," the latter being a twist on the classic Japanese board game. Story Mode consists of five or six scenarios, depending on the selected character. Free Mode involves building up a character's stats in a choice of unlocked battlefields, while Survival Mode has players completing various quests in a castle with endless floors. Sugoroku is a four-player Monopoly variant with mini-games. Players alternate turns and advance across a 3D board while purchasing properties and competing in action-based challenges.
The combat system primarily relies on tapping two buttons for normal and charge attacks with the equipped weapon. The magic-based Musou attacks have returned, only this time the meter can be filled to one of three levels for more powerful, cinematic strikes. Also new are character-specific special moves, such as summoning fireballs, initiating lightning strikes, throwing enemies, planting mines, and more. Statistics gradually increase with a character's proficiency in battle, and skills are now automatically equipped throughout the course of play. The PlayStation 2 version includes two-player cooperative action, while the Xbox versions offer Xbox Live support for one-on-one versus action. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide