October 21, 1600: The Battle of Sekigahara: East (Tokugawa) vs West (Ishida)
Winter 1614 - Summer 1615: Siege of Osaka Castle: Tokugawa vs Toyotomi
and many, many moreSome scenarios are "What if's," such as Nobunaga surviving Honnoji and uniting Japan, or Hideyoshi faking his death in 1598 and appearing at Sekigahara (both examples are their respective hidden "Dream Stage" battle). In other cases, some of the "Dream Stages" are just for fun, like Tadakatsu taking on all worthy warriors in a champion's tournament or Nohime and Oichi's beauty contest battle (made even funnier if played with the SW2: Xtreme Legends expansion).The voice acting is goofy at times (witness Hideyoshi declare, "Let's make our enemies beg us for peace!" and Bad Ass Honda Tadakatsu's borderline lisp), and the difficulty encompasses downright stupid allied NPC's and enemy officers who love to gang up on you, but you'll learn something about Japanese history; just remember that Tokugawa Ieyasu did not actually fight the Battle of Sekigahara with a spear that shot cannon balls.The series encompasses:
See also Sengoku Basara - which is what many say these games would be like on drugs, and Pokémon Conquest which uses the character designs from Samurai Warriors 3. See also Nobunaga's Ambition, which uses the character designs from the series often and it's gameplay is the basis for Pokémon Conquest.
This franchise features the following tropes:
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Western neophyte players in particular might just be surprised at how much of what's presented in these games is based closely on historical fact.
For example, the "star-crossed lovers" arc for Oichi and Azai Nagamasa? Yep, that one's out of Japanese history, as is her death at Shizugatake, albeit the game has her fighting alongside Shibata Katsuie, who was her husband after Nagamasa, instead of committing seppuku with him.
Awesome but Impractical: Less Awesome but more fun, In SW2, Nene has a skill in which she can transform into any nearby character...even enemy ones. Yes, even those countless mooks you'll probably spend a lot of your time mercilessly butchering.
In SW2: Empires, custom characters using the sword, spear, naginata or Nene's moveset can use this skill too.
Bolivian Army Ending: Games that depict Yukimura Sanada taking part in the Siege of Osaka tend to end with him making a final headlong charge at Tokugawa's army, as he did according to legend.
Bottomless Magazines: All of the gun-type weapons have unlimited ammunition and don't need to be reloaded manually by the player (but there is a token effort at animating reloads during combos). Generic NPC riflemen reload between shots, though.
It's worse with Masamune Date, because he can rapidfire his pistol, spraying waves with his Musou.
Camera Abuse: In pre-rendered cutscenes, specially the first one of Oda or Noh, you can see blood splatter on the camera.
In the fourth game, Mitsuhide and Magoichi's True Musou attacks involves them slashing/shooting at the screen, shattering it.
Cast Full of Pretty Boys: While it's understandable that a game that revolves around battles fought in feudal times would have an overwhelmingly male cast, there's no reason for so many of them to be so damn pretty.
Catch Phrase: The characters' personal variations of "Enemy Officer Defeated".
Counter Attack: The simplest way to trigger a Mighty Strike in 4 is to block the officer's attacks with perfect timing.
Cross Over: PokemonConquest, in the sense that the character designs for the Warlord cast — Nobunaga, Oichi, Mitsuhide, Shingen, Kenshin, etc. — are all lifted directly from Samurai Warriors 3.
Critical Annoyance: Whenever an officer is just knocked down but barely took a scratch damage.
Hideyoshi Toyotomi: Gah! Where are my reinforcements!
Ginchyo Tachibana: Don't waver! The Tachibana will not be beaten!
Critical Existence Failure: Every CPU-controlled officer is this. It's even worse if your side's morale is too low or if they are generic officers.
Dark Reprise: The final stage of Chronicles, the Osaka Summer Campaign, features a melancholy remix of the main theme, fittingly titled "Grief".
Defeat Means Friendship: Chronicles depicts Kanetsugu joining Date Masamune as this, following the Battle of Hasedo. Expecting to be executed, Kanetsugu is instead surprised by an offer to join his enemy, who recognizes his great skill and potential.
''Beeeehold the castle, that is built in just one day! What genius could have done this, you say? It's Hideyoshi, Hideyoshi we praise! Who built the castle in just one day, wheee! It's Hideyoshi, Hideyoshi we praise! He built a castle in just one day!!
Desperation Attack: When a character's health bar is red, they can use a True Musou Attack, which is more powerful than normal and has the fire element attached. The Musou Gauge also charges gradually while HP is low.
Double Jump: The ninja characters have this ability. Since SW is hardly a platforming-oriented series, its main use is to allow the player access to certain "ninja paths" that are too high up for most characters, which can significantly aid mobility in a few missions.
The first game had castle stages where you play your character alone without allies. Depending on your perspective, this might not be a bad thing, and actually offer a fresh challenge, but as it proved divisive it was cut from subsequent entries.
The first game also gave all characters a ranged attack with limited ammunition (more could be found on the battlefield). Most characters used bows while Goemon used his Backpack Cannon and Magoichi used his musket. This was completely dropped starting in Samurai Warriors 2.
The first Empires expansion, Samurai Warriors 2: Empires, is a meta example: while there's nothing especially strange within the game itself, it was released before 2's Xtreme Legends, which is the opposite of how it's usually been done.
Escort Mission: Hampered by bad AI, par for the course with any others.
Particularly noticeable in the first game if playing on the Oda side at Honnouji as anyone except Nobunaga, as when he's a NPC he absolutely insists on killing any and all enemy peons in the way instead of high-tailing it to the escape point.
Chronicles gives the player options for making these significantly easier or harder; when you can play as the character you're supposed to be escorting, you can avoid all enemies and run to the objective. The same applies when the objective is for the character to escape the battlefield, but this has the downside of giving you one less playable character for the rest of the mission.
Flanderization: Par for the course with Koei and expanding character rosters.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Playable characters can be unlocked for use as subofficers, albeit only useable one at a time. This makes it very possible to be say, fighting against Mori Ranmaru alongside Mori Ranmaru.
Guide Dang It: Getting your ultimate weapons. All of them involve doing very difficult things at very specific points in the battle on Hard or greater difficulty. And there's no hint whatsoever in the game itself about what you're supposed to do.
3 is a bit better about this: you just have to complete every (usually optional) tactical advantage objective in a certain battle on Hard or above. Which battle is still guesswork, however.
In Chronicles the fourth weapon will be granted after completion of a mission with a gold background. It will almost always be in a mission of particular significance to the character, such as "Chaos in Iga" for Hanzo and the Conquest of Odawara for Hideyoshi. If a character is only playable (prior to being unlocked) in a single mission, such as Okehazama for Oichi, that's probably where the weapon is. Sometimes the hidden requirements for the gold mission are obvious - if a mission pop up says "Don't let any allied officers die!" that's a helpful clue. Others - such as claiming all strongholds - are not.
Grapple Move: some characters have grab moves in their movesets. like Nene's unblockable Spinning Pile Driver grab move (though it's pretty weak). The Grabs' main advantage is that they are unblockable, with the obvious disadvantage of being rather hard to aim due to the combat being done in three dimensions.
Historical Villain Upgrade: Fuuma Kotaro may not have been a nice man, but he certainly wasn't a chaos-worshiping Troll in real life. It's averted, on the other hand, with Chronicle 2nd newcomer Yagyu Munenori. He's been a victim of the trope so many times (especiallyOnimusha), but for his debut, he's a willing supporter of the Tokugawa clan's efforts to end the war, and is all around a just, virtuous, badass swordsman.
Hit Stop: The action slows significantly for dramatic reasons whenever an objective officer is defeated.
Holler Button: The ability to summon a horse. If you don't have one, a generic one will appear. This was originally exclusive to Keiji, Yukimura and Toshiie, but the third installment made it universal. In Chronicles, this ability is exclusive to the Green character, which is always the Player Character by default.
Improbable Weapon User: Yoshimoto Imagawa kicks a Kemari (ancient oriental soccer ball) in almost all of his moves. His main weapon is a simple cutlass/sabre though. Oichi uses a Kendama (child's puzzle toy) in her first appearances, but from the third game on, she switches to a bunch of barbed chakra. Shingen Takeda uses a fan. That one did actually occur historically, although only once, in a single incident.
Oichi's case is explained in the interlude, where it clearly states she took ahold of the first thing she could find to use as a weapon. And her weapon behaves like a MACE.
Katanas Are Just Better: Surprisingly few characters use a katana, actually, but those who do wield them to great effect.
Key Stone Army: Scripted twists (such as body doubles and dramatic entrances) aside, as soon as the commander of the opposing force retreats clutching his side/keels over dramatically, the rest of his army beats it regardless of numbers.
Of course, with how many of them you were likely cutting down before defeating the commander, it's amazing they wait that long to get out of your sight.
Limit Break: In 4, using a Musou Attack while Rage is active results in the devastating Musou Frenzy.
Leeroy Jenkins: If you're not the one Leeroy-ing into the crowd, expect one or more of the AI-controlled officers to charge recklessly and then necessitate you bailing them out. There are even a few stages that penalize you for getting ahead of yourself. Chronicles has several missions that are only accessible through doing this, such as the mission to kill Asakura at the start of Kanegasaki (once he starts marching, killing him is the only requirement to complete the scenario, not any specific objective).
And a very unusual case of the game forcing you into one: at the end of Yukimura's story mode, he decides the final battle a lost cause, the game invalidates the defeat conditions and declares everyone but you expendable, a path straight to the enemy camp (but swimming in enemy soldiers) opens up, and in SW3 your items are disabled. Why push you down the road of a totally reckless charge? Because historically, he actually did that.
Nagamasa Azai, Battle of Anegawa. Even if he is exhausted, he will continue pressing the attack until he is forced to retreat or he forces nobunaga Oda to retreat.
Nagamasa Azai: "This is it. This will be my final attack!"
Nene's Dream, Melee at Sekigahara. even with Okuni and Kobayakawa on your side, you STILL end up doing most of the fighting.
Morale Mechanic: The series eats and breathes morale. Morale determines who wins the battles when you're not in the area, and can make enemies harder to fight if they have a lot of it. You can reduce overall enemy morale and raise your own by killing troops, defeating enemies, and activating (or preventing) certain events. To take it even farther, individual troops have their own morale. Killing a troops leader causes him to run off. Defeating an officer has the potential of making everyone run.
Mook Maker: Strongholds serve this function, providing reinforcement troops to whoever holds them. They change hands whenever the other side kills the Guard Captain unit defending them.
More generally, this will sometimes happen in the main games, where you defeat the enemy commander only for reinforcements to arrive at that very moment and the stage's goal change to defeating their leader.
Multishot: Several characters have this capacity, such as Motonari Mori with his wrist-mounted crossbow.
Name Order Confusion: For some reason, the localized versions use Western name order. This is particularly jarring in the entries that aren't dubbed, as the way the name is presented in the dialogue box contradicts the voice track.
Redshirt Army: Pretty much who you fight save for the occasional officers, most of which end up as merely Elite Mooks at best.
Sarashi: SW3 provides this in the form of the female Create a Warrior model who can have half a kimono top and a sarashi.
Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Many battles will have this occur when it turns against one side and the commander decides it's time to retreat. In 4, once you beat the enemy commander all remaining generic characters on that side will immediately panic and run for the nearest spawn area, as well.
Straight for the Commander: Frequently a viable means of finishing a scenario immediately. In Chronicles it's the only practical means of getting all friendship events due to the sheer number of them available.
Stock Ninja Weaponry: Hanzo wields a Kusarigama in battle. Other ninjas include Kunoichi and Nene (daggers) and Kotaro Fuuma (clawed gauntlets).
Super Mode: Rage mode in 4 gives the user a huge power boost and makes them completely invincible for the duration of the effect, at the cost of the entire Spirit Gauge.
Super Move Portrait Attack: 3 features cut-in portraits for characters using True Musou attacks. 4 features more traditional zoom-ins for Musou and True Musou attacks while reserving the cut-in portraits for activating Rage Mode.
Sword and Gun: After 1, Date Masamune uses a pair of flintlock pistols in conjunction with a cutlass. In addition, the male player character in the Chronicles games uses a large katana in conjunction with a rifle. This moveset was carried over into 4 as one of the default weapons for custom characters.
Variable Mix: The background music grows quiet when there are no enemies to beat up nearby.
Very Loosely Based on a True Story: This fluctuates with each game, but it keeps certain points very much intact - namely the deaths of Nobunaga, Mitsuhide, and Hideyoshi are always kept at when they're supposed to be, unless you're playing as them.
Virtual Paper Doll: Most games in the series allow the player to make their own custom Edit Characters. The options for them are rather restricted until SW4, which uses a similar character creation system to Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, allowing players great control over the appearance of their characters and choice of whichever weapon they want (except for Kotaro's gauntlets).
What If?: Chronicle 3's story will branch into hypothetical scenarios if certain conditions are met, such as "What if Yoshimoto survived the Battle of Okehazama?", or "What if Shingen didn't die on the way to the capital?"