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Warriors All-Stars Review

Warriors All-Stars remains true to its core concepts, but the unique hero variety brings much needed change to the somewhat stagnant formula.

September 15, 2017

/ by Tin Salamunic

In 2014, Koei Tecmo’s crossover project with Nintendo initiated a new path for the veteran brawler aficionados. The idea of combining Zelda with Warriors-style gameplay got everybody in the gaming industry talking. This unusual marriage of ideas turned out to be one of Koei Tecmo’s most commendable moves. Hyrule Warriors’ instant success has resulted in a handful of unexpected collaborations between Koei Tecmo and popular Anime creators of franchises like Dragon Quest, Attack on Titan, Arslan, Berserk and soon, even Gundam. For a company that focused on almost nothing but sequels for their Dynasty Warriors brand and its spinoffs for years, the introduction of other prominent series has transformed their familiar formula into something a little less predictable.

Within this avalanche of new, quirky Warriors titles, we’re introduced to Koei Tecmo’s latest experiment, Warriors All-Stars—a culmination of the company's most popular heroes coming together for the ultimate face off. As someone who has enjoyed the series since the PS2 generation, I couldn’t be happier with how this absurd concept mashes together. While it’s not going to meet everyone’s expectations of what a definitive Warriors “Greatest Hits” title is meant to encompass, most fans will hopefully agree that the end result is a charming homage to the developer’s long history with these characters.


"As someone who has enjoyed the series since the PS2 generation, I couldn’t be happier with how this absurd concept mashes together."

What’s even more impressive is how well the PC release compares to its console counterpart. Warriors All-Stars is a genuine PC release with a plethora of graphics/gameplay settings and solid optimization. PC gamers no longer have to feel like they’re stuck with the lesser version. Warriors All-Stars on the PC is, in fact, the definitive version thanks to superior performance and improved visual fidelity.

Higher resolutions can have a notable performance impact on older cards due to high NPC numbers filling the screen, but newer generation GPUs should have no problem running Warriors All-Stars at 60fps with higher resolutions and settings. With a 970, I was able to max out the game at 1080p, and at 1440p, I was still able to keep the quality at Medium to High (mostly high) while maintaining a steady 60fps. There is still plenty of room for improvement, but this port is a substantial step up from Koei Tecmo’s past PC releases.


"Warriors All-Stars on the PC is, in fact, the definitive version thanks to superior performance and improved visual fidelity."

Warriors All-Stars makes an unusual first impression. I’m used to Koei Tecmo’s ridiculous writing and bizarre characters, but Warriors All-Stars is something else. The plot is messy, chaotic, nonsensical, and yet, it’s equally alluring. The story takes place in a magical kingdom whose king recently passed, and the spring which gives the inhabitants life has begun to wither. In hopes of restoring the spring, a handful of royals attempt to summon heroes from far away universes to aid them in their quest, but things don't go as planned. The heroes are scattered across the land where the starting point for the player is introduced. Your starting location is determined by the character you choose. It’s a rather uninspired way of bringing these fun characters together, but thankfully the sublime action makes up for the lack of interesting storytelling.

I chose Kasumi from the Dead or Alive series because I wanted to see how well her combat technique translates from the fighting games to a more open-world brawler. Kasumi’s fast fists complement the game’s button-mashing nature beautifully, and I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for classics like Streets of Rage and Final Fight. The Warriors games have always been my go-to series for reliving childhood memories of playing beat ‘em ups on retro consoles and arcades, and Warriors All-Stars reminds me once again why I never tire of old school button mashers. I’ve said this many times in my other Warriors reviews before, but if you’re looking for stress relief, these games are remarkably therapeutic.

Gameplay remains identical to what is expected from the series. Warriors All-Stars is a button masher that doesn’t require much skill or strategy, but provides countless hours of brainless fun. I’ve always considered the Warriors releases like a snack between the heartier AAA meals.


"Koei Tecmo has made the right move in pursuing quirkier ideas for their brawler projects, and I hope they extend their experimentation towards more unique gameplay changes."

The best part of this release is the ability mix and match your favorite Koei Tecmo heroes into a personalized team. Prior to each battle, you select your main hero and four supporting heroes that are assigned to each direction on the D-pad. You can call up a single hero to aid your main avatar, or you can select all supporting brawlers to form a long chain of characters, letting you to control everyone at the same time. Depending on the active hero, a special attack can be initiated specific to that hero, or you can press the R3 button to call in a cheer that boosts your stats temporarily. During this “cheerleading” mode, you basically turn into an indestructible force that lets you rack up insane combos while the timer counts down.

Seeing your favorite Koei Tecmo characters perform their signature moves in this Warriors-style setting is really fun if you’re someone who has familiarity with the source material. For example, if you pick Millennia from Deception, she fights using viscous traps straight from the Deception series. These fan service tidbits aren’t going to excite everyone, but this release is very clearly designed for us niche fans who find enjoyment in these quirky mashups.

Conclusion: Warriors All-Stars remains true to Koei Tecmo's Warriors DNA, but the unique hero variety brings much needed change to what is slowly becoming a stagnant formula. Koei Tecmo has made the right move in pursuing quirkier ideas for their brawler projects, and I hope they extend their experimentation towards more unique gameplay changes. I had an absolute blast playing through this release, and I can easily recommend it to any fan of the genre, but if you were hoping that this release would be more receptive towards newcomers, you may have to wait for something else. But despite its lack of innovation, Warriors All-Stars is a game I’ve been waiting for since the PS2 era, and I’m personally content with what Koei Tecmo has come up with.

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