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Video Game / Samurai Warriors

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Enjoy the ultimate battle for supremacy in the Warring States Era!

Samurai Warriors started as a spinoff of Koei's Dynasty Warriors Hack and Slash series, porting the gameplay elements to a new setting: the Sengoku Period of Japanese history.note  Its success has lead to it becoming its own series, with a total of 5 main installments, all with their own offshoots and expansions. The playable scenarios span fifty years of Japanese history, and playable characters include Nobunaga Oda, Ieyasu Tokugawa, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Yukimura Sanada, Mitsunari Ishida, Musashi Miyamoto, Hanzo Hattori, Kotaro Fuma, and many more. It should be worth noting that each version loosely sticks to a certain time frame and focuses on specific moments: case in point, the first game is all over Nobunaga while the second game's primary focus are the events leading to Sekigahara, while the third appears to try to cover just about everything in-between with a loose increased focus in the Pre-Nobunaga Warlordsnote . The Fourth Game abandons the personal story modes and alternate histories, with a a hard focus on Drama and making sure each major clan has it's own story mode. The Chronicles games covers a whole lot, while the Spirit of Sanada Spin-off focuses on the Sanada Clan, from their early days as a Takeda Vassal, to Yukimura Sanada's famed Last Stand in Osaka Castle. The fifth game is a reboot, focusing fully on Nobunaga, but unlike the first game, the focuses on the plot is laser-focused, lacking famous-yet-then-irrelevant characters like Yukimura Sanada and Masamune Date.


Some of the playable battles:

  • September 10, 1561: The Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima: Takeda vs Uesugi
  • January 25, 1573: Battle of Mikatagahara: Oda vs Takeda
  • June 28, 1575: Battle of Nagashino: Oda vs Takeda
  • June 21, 1582: The Incident at Honnoji; Nobunaga Oda vs Mitsuhide Akechi
  • July 4, 1582: The Battle of Yamazaki: Mitsuhide Akechi vs Toyotomi
  • 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 more

Some scenarios are Alternate History tales, 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 series encompasses:

  • Samurai Warriors / Sengoku Musou (PlayStation 2, 2004)
  • Samurai Warriors: Xtreme Legends / Sengoku Musou Moushouden (PS2, 2004)
  • Samurai Warriors: State of War / Geki Sengoku Musou (PlayStation Portable, 2005)
  • Samurai Warriors 2 / Sengoku Musou 2 (PS2, Xbox 360, 2006)
  • Samurai Warriors 2 Empires / Sengoku Musou 2 (PS2, Xbox 360, 2006)
  • Samurai Warriors 2: Xtreme Legends / Sengoku Musou 2 Moushouden (PS2, Xbox 360, 2006)
  • Samurai Warriors Katana / Sengoku Musou Katana (Nintendo Wii, 2008)
  • Samurai Warriors 3 / Sengoku Musou 3 (Wii, 2009 [JPN], 2010 [US/EU]; PlayStation 3, 2011 [JPN], combining the contents of this and 3: Xtreme Legends)
  • Samurai Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends / Sengoku Musou 3 Moushouden (Wii, 2010 [JPN])
  • Samurai Warriors Chronicles / Sengoku Musou Chronicle (Nintendo 3DS, 2011)
  • Sengoku Musou 3 Empires (PS3, 2011)
  • Sengoku Musou Chronicle 2nd (3DS, 2012)
  • Samurai Warriors 4 / Sengoku Musou 4 (PS3, Playstation Vita, PlayStation 4, 2014)
  • Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 / Sengoku Musou Chronicle 3 (3DS, Vita, 2014)
  • Samurai Warriors 4-II / Sengoku Musou 4-II (PS3, Vita, PS4, PC, 2015)
  • Samurai Warriors 4 Empires / Sengoku Musou 4 Empires (PS3, Vita, PS4, 2016)
  • Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada / Sengoku Musou: Sanada-Maru (PS3, Vita, PS4, 2017)
  • Samurai Warriors 5 (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, 2021)

It has an anime adaptation produced by TYO Animations which is adapted from Samurai Warriors 4-II and only focuses on Hideyoshi's later stages of conquest (the 2nd siege of Odawara) until the Siege of Osaka. It was part of the Winter 2015 Anime lineup. Funimation has licensed the series for North American distribution.

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 its gameplay is the basis for Pokémon Conquest.

This franchise features the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out:
    • The 2015 TV animated adaptation of Samurai Warriors: 4-II included most of the playable characters who are supposed to be in the later stages. However, the Shimazus and the Tachibanas are surprisingly absent in the show. Because of this, Naomasa is shot by Sakon instead of Toyohisa or one of Yoshihiro's men who were covering their lord's escape.
    • Since the fifth game is a Soft Reboot that focuses on Nobunaga's and Mitsuhide's lives, characters who don't have any role with them or were too young at that time period, are cut off such as the Series Mascot, Yukimura Sanada. However, the characters who are active in that time frame or have a connection to Nobunaga and Mitsuhide such as Keiji Maeda, Ranmaru Mori, Naotora Ii, and Gracia Hosokawa are surprisingly absent.
  • 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 Ōichi and Nagamasa Azai? Yep, that one's out of Japanese history, as is her death at Shizugatake, albeit the game has her fighting alongside Katsuie Shibata, who was her husband after Nagamasa, instead of committing seppuku with him.
  • Altar Diplomacy: Nagamasa-Ōichi, Nobunaga-Nō, and Nobuyuki-Ina. Other than them, it's pretty common for the era.
  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: In contrast with Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors uses techno as its soundtrack with a combination of traditional Japanese music.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In Chronicles 3, you can have the protagonist wear another playable character's outfit once you get their friendship high enough.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In the 4 games, the horse tends to run circles around you instead of actually coming directly at you if you hold the Call Horse button, meaning you could get halfway to your destination before actually mounting your steed.
  • Artistic Age:
    • For essentially the same reason as the parent series, most of the characters' designs are meant to be either at their prime or at the earliest age they could potentially appear with only a few being older than that. This leads to cases like Hanbei looking extremely young compared to Kanbei, despite the fact that he's older than him, or Ieyasu looking as if he's the oldest of the Three Unifiers (in reality, he's 6 years younger than Hideyoshi and 9 years younger than Nobunaga).
    • Spirit of Sanada avoids this for the most part because the plot actually follows Yukimura and others from infanthood to the day of his death, but it is nevertheless still present with Kunoichi and Sasuke, both appearing in Ōsaka Castle looking not a day older than when they meet the Sanada brothers as children.
    • The fifth game only ages Nobunaga and Mitsuhide but the rest of the characters, who are alive by the end of the story, still looks the same particularly for Ieyasu and Hideyoshi, who are supposed to be in their middle ages when the story ends. Ieyasu's case is very strange given that his son, Nobuyasu, looks older than him.
  • Artistic License – History: Present in all the games (as with their older sister franchise, Dynasty Warriors), though downplayed in 4 and 4-II.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Samurai Warriors Katana for the Wii which is this but with a Katana (or others).
  • 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.
  • Badass Adorable: Spirit of Sanada allows you to play as eight-year-old Yukimura. He's so cute running around beating grown men into submission with his stick.
  • Badass Boast: Chock full of them, like any Warriors game.
    Tadakatsu Honda: I am a man of peerless might!
  • Bears Are Bad News: Averted in Spirit of Sanada with the bear you can encounter during exploration trips. It never attacks you, and as you encounter it in different areas, it gradually takes a liking to you. Meet it enough times, and you can obtain as a mount.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Japanese castles do look beautiful and awesome. Most notable examples are Odawara, Osaka, Ueda, and Azuchi Castles.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All throughout the series, but 4 in particular highlights it. Since in that iteration there are no "what-if" or "alternate history" scenarios, everyone meets their end accordingly. Playing the Western Army during Sekigahara is arguably the harshest of the moments.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Games that depict Yukimura Sanada taking part in the Siege of Ōsaka tend to end with him making a final headlong charge at Tokugawa's army, ending with Ieyasu saluting him as a Worthy Opponent, 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.
    • Magoichi Saika's special move starting in 2 is to aim in a single direction and rapid fire his musket as long as the special attack button is held down, with a firing rate that most modern semi-automatic rifles would have trouble matching.
  • Bowdlerise: Adaptational Heroism and Villainy aside, some events and things significant during the Sengoku period are noticeably not featured in the series. The two most glaring ones are:
    • Japanese Christian. Historically, Christians were a major population in Japan during the Sengoku period; and many daimyōs, particularly in Kyushu, converted to gain better benefits of trade with the Europeans. Yet, the religion or the Europeans in general didn't get a single mention in the series — although two characters in the game, Kanbei Kuroda and Gracia, were Christian in real life (their "exoticism" is instead symbolized by their mystic and supernatural weapon of choice). Their phasing out also conveniently ignores Hideyoshi's and especially Ieyasu's rather genocidal attempts to completely eradicate Christianity from Japan.
      • 5 ends up mildly averting this, as Yasuke’s introduction includes Nobunaga mentioning he arrived with missionaries, though the missionaries themselves are unseen, and the fact that they originally intended to sell Yasuke as a slave is not mentioned.
    • The invasion of Joseon during Hideyoshi's reign is completely avoided, though this decision is probably better to stay, since it would lead to some unfortunate implications (and most likely a bunch of protests and boycotts), not to mention the work to make Korean stages, characters, music, etc. The less controversial conquest of the Ryūkyū Kingdom is also not featured.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The DLC weapons in 4 are more powerful than the ultimate weapons and while those are difficult and often confusing to obtain all you have to do for the DLC ones is navigate a menu. The mounts, while not quite as strong as Matsukaze, also have better stats than the majority available otherwise.
  • Broad Strokes: Most of the installments in the series cover the same story, i.e scope of the Sengoku Period in chronological years, so most of the major events, particularly the three unifiers of Japan will happen in some fashion. What is different is the battles and particular characters emphasized within each title: The first game focuses on Nobunaga with only vague allusions to the later era. 2 focuses on Sekigahara while 3 gives some extra focus to Kanto and earlier events in the timeline. 4 aims to give every clan and region an equal representation in the series, but there's no hypotheticals or individual character storylines this time around. The fifth game returns the focus to Nobunaga's timeline like the first game but takes it a step further as the Toyotomi and Tokugawa eras will not be represented for now since it's a Soft Reboot.
  • Bullet Time: Samurai Warriors 4's Rage Mode causes the movement of the regular "cannon fodder" soldiers around you to slow to such a crawl that it looks like you've stopped time. The named generals, however, are able to run around and attack as normal.
  • 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.
  • Camera Centering: As per Warriors standard, blocking will immediately set the camera behind the player's back.
  • 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. The first had a few pretty boys, but by the fourth game, it's taken to an extreme. On the other hand, unlike Dynasty Warriors characters, this might be justified with the fact that, some Samurai Warriors characters historically did gain fame when they're still considerably young, and this is sometimes stated in the game's story.
  • Casting Gag: According to interviews for 5, the reason why Mitsuhide had Hikaru Midorikawa as his voice actor from the beginning was due to the fact that the first kanji of Mitsuhide's given name (光, "Mitsu") can also be read as "Hikaru", so they were going for a pun. Likewise, the casting of Nobunaga Shimazaki as the new voice of Nobunaga was a deliberate choice of invoking The Danza.
  • Catchphrase: The characters' personal variations of "Enemy Officer Defeated".
  • Cherry Tapping: Various characters' weapons, from Shingen Takeda's dansen uchiwa (from that one part of that one battle) to Ōichi's kendama. However, the caketaker is Yoshimoto Imagawa's kickball of death.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Starting from 2, scenarios about Nobunaga's conflict against the Ikkō-Ikki sect in Ise Nagashima is removed altogether to tone down Nobunaga's former Evil Overlord looks. As a result, Kennyō Honganji is never mentioned or even be featured as an NPC again in future SW games. Not only that, the battle of Kizugawa, which was set during the Ikko-Ikki conflict, has its focus shifted from them, to be more of a "Oda versus Mori and the Saika, with some peasants", starting with the third game.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Generally, across games, armies can be identified by colors: the Oda have Purple, the Toyotomi have Yellow (also shared with the Imagawa), the Tokugawa are Blue. Others include Red for Takeda/Sanada, White for Uesugi, Green for Date, Black for the Hojo, Silver for the Shimazu, and Cyan for Azai/Asakura/Chōsokabe.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Mostly played straight: Fire is red/orange, Thunder is yellow, Ice is blue, Dark/Demon are black, Wind is green and Earth is golden/brown.
  • Continuity Reboot: While every game usually retells the Sengoku Period in a different manner, they usually use the similar design and personalities of the cast. 5, however, is closer to this; the cast was trimmed down and majorly de-aged, they're given new weapons and fighting styles and most likely different personalities, the starting point of the era is the younger days of Nobunaga instead of Okehazama, and will only cover the lifetime of Nobunaga until he died at Honnoji.
  • Counter-Attack:
    • The special move of several characters has them briefly enter a defensive stance from which they will automatically dodge and retaliate if hit.
    • The simplest way to trigger a Mighty Strike in 4 is to block the officer's attacks with perfect timing.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: If the game scenario calls for somebody to die in a cutscene, they will die, even a player-controlled, max-level badass.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: On the other hand, whatever was left of the laws of reality also tend to get kicked to the curb when somebody gets to do something awesome.
  • Critical Annoyance: Whenever an officer is just knocked down but barely took a scratch damage.
    Hideyoshi Toyotomi: Gah! What happened to my reinforcements!
    Ginchiyo 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 Ōsaka Summer Campaign, features a melancholy remix of the main theme, fittingly titled "Grief".
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The first game of the series is a far more serious affair than previous Warriors games before it. Depicting Nobunaga's rise to power, almost all stages are set in the nighttime (the most cheerful ones like Okuni's set in the afternoon at best). Castles are filled with traps and blades as if they are made to viciously kill anyone dare infiltrate. Also, certain characters' lower paths (like Hideyoshi) depict their hopeless situations in the war-torn Japan left by the Demon King himself.
    • 4 lacks any of the hypothetical routes present in earlier games, and characters will eventually die as they did historically. While 4-II does have its share of hypothetical scenarios, Spirit of Sanada is basically 4, but with a much greater focus on the life and death of Yukimura Sanada.
    • Zigzagged with 5, which is a retelling of 1. While 4 took itself seriously, it still had some levity with how they portrayed their characters. In 5, Shingen and Kenshin's rivalry is less amicable, Magoichi is no longer the 'champion of the commonfolk' and a flirt, Yoshimoto is more consistent in his competence (instead of being a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass) and became more callous and yet also more powerful, and the Mōri are far more arrogant than previous incarnations. The Siege of Mount Hiei, the battle that made Nobunaga infamous due to him burning down the Buddhist temples there, is also portrayed for the first time in the series. At the same time, 5 also brings back the hypothetical scenarios, and has its own moments of reprieve.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Chronicles depicts Kanetsugu joining Masamune Date 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.
  • Demoted to Extra: Ranmaru Mori suffered by this hard as the games went on. In the Oda-focused first game, he had a story mode, and plenty of screen time on other character's story modes. In the second and third games, Ranmaru lacked a story mode at all, being "just" an unlockable character, while in the fourth game, he was playable in the story mode, but his screen time overall was very small. It's clear that after the first game happened, the writers had no idea what to do with the poor kid in the following sequels, and with the reboot in 5, they did away with him altogether.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Hideyoshi's 'One-day Castle' song back in the first game (in Siege of Inabayama) is this:
    ''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: In most games, the health bar changes colors depending on how much health is left, with red being the lowest and an indication the player will die soon if further damage is sustained. When a character's health bar reaches the "danger zone", they can use a "True Musou Attack", which is more powerful than a normal one 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.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The 'II' in Samurai Warriors 4-II both refers to it being the second iteration of Samurai Warriors 4, and to Naomasa Ii (spelled with an upper case and lower case 'i'), the sole new character for the game.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • 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 although it's available in Challenge Mode for some later games.
    • The first game also gave all characters a ranged attack with unlimited ammunition. Most characters used bows while Goemon used his Backpack Cannon and Magoichi used his musket. Fulfilling certain conditions in the Edit Officer Training Mode granted Edit Officers the ability to use a musket too, but only for ranged attacks. This was completely dropped starting in Samurai Warriors 2 and replaced by the special stances.
    • 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.
    • In the first game, if you stayed on a certain stage for a while, you could see the stage gradually change from day to night. One good example of this is Okuni's stage Dance Of Ise.
    • The first game so far is the only to have the "Dark" element, which works as Life Drain.
  • Elaborate Equals Effective: Played straight with the various weapons. Downplayed in later games where there are less weapon models.
  • Elemental Powers: The game has elements which are randomly applied to weapons (with the ultimate weapon always having the same element). In order of introduction, the game had: Fire (Guren, lit. Crimson Lotus, inflicts extra damage over time), Ice (Touga/Freezing Fang, freezes an enemy solid for a while), Thunder (Senko/Lightflash, stuns and wounds nearby enemies), Dark (Kyuusei/Absorbption, drain a little life from victims), Demon (Shura/Carnage, instakill mooks and deals grievous damage to officers, later changed in percent damage), Wind (Shippu/Gale, deals chip damage through defense) and finally Earth (Kongo/Adamant, stuns and deals extra damage).
  • 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 Honnōji 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.
  • Family Theme Naming: Many famous clans named their members with certain theme naming. 'Yuki' for Sanada (Masayuki, Yukimura, Nobuyuki), 'Tada' for Honda (Tadakatsu, Tadatomo), 'Hide' for Toyotomi (Hideyoshi, Hideyori), 'Nobu' for Oda (Nobunaga, Nobutada), 'Chika' for Chōsokabe (Motochika, Morichika, Nobuchika, Chikayasu), 'Moto' for Mouri (Motonari, Takamoto, Terumoto, Hidemoto), 'Kage' for Uesugi (Kagetoranote , Kagekatsu), 'Uji' for Hōjō (Ujiyasu, Ujimasa, Ujinao), 'Mune' for Date (Masamune, Terumune, Hidemune), and the list goes on!
  • Fanservice: Since the second game, almost every female character is attractive and many of them have revealing outfits.
  • Gaiden Game: Following up with Sengoku Basara giving a Gaiden Game for Yukimura Sanada, Koei Tecmo did the same with Spirit of Sanada, even adding in Yukimura's father, Masayuki Sanada.
  • 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 Ranmaru Mori alongside Ranmaru Mori .
  • 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.
    • To note, this was no doubt carried over from its sister series Dynasty Warriors via its fourth installment, where it wasn't that refined (though it was revolutionary but soon removed). The second installment of Samurai Warriors managed to bring this mechanic back and improved upon it massively for the whole Musou Warriors franchise onwards.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: Mitsunari's last scene in 4.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: A lot of the time. While some forces stand for loftier virtues than others, few, if any of them can be said to be squarely good or evil. The Oda vs Akechi incident is one of best ever-present examples; while Mitsuhide is presented as the more moral party, he commits his coup on the eve of unification and has to fight and slay his friends and comrades, including sympathetic characters such as Ranmaru and Ōichi, in his quest to kill his lord. Particularly emphasized in the first game where Mitsuhide found himself having to suppress recalcitrant peasants by force - the same sort of behaviour he rebelled against Nobunaga for.
  • 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.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Happens a couple of times in the series. Tadakatsu Honda is a mighty warriors weilding a big spear, while his daughter Ina uses a bow to fight. In the updated designs of Samurai Warriors 5, young Nobunaga uses a sword, while his wife Lady No uses a bow, when in previous installments she fought with a claw.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Like in Dynasty Warriors, you get better weapon/item drops in all of the games and increased stat gain in the first game.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Most of the cast. Granted, some of those ancient warriors were actually pretty badass on their own....
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: A rather surprising treatment of Nobunaga Oda from the second game on (for certain values of hero, anyway).
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Kotaro Fuma 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 Munenori Yagyu. He's been a victim of the trope so many times (especially Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams), 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. The fourth game, on the other hand, zig-zag this. Munenori is first seen hanging around with Hisahide Matsunaga, but only does so because he's bound by his code of honor to repay those who helped him, and apparently Hisahide did, so he became his Noble Top Enforcer. Once Hisahide bit the dust, eventually Munenori ended up in the services of Tokugawa and remains a helpful person to his fellow retainers. But considering Koei's tendencies to put the Tokugawa as the antagonists for their poster boy Yukimura, Munenori would eventually play an antagonistic role, but thankfully, right now he's at worst a Type IV Anti-Villain.
  • 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.
  • Hope Spot: Hideyoshi's brief unification of Japan. In the eight years after Kanto is conquered, Japan is finally at peace; everyone can interact without having to carry weapons and there's no apparent conflict in the horizon. Then Hideyoshi dies and everything goes straight to hell again. It's vividly shown in 4, where a CGI cutscene after the Battle of Odawara stage shows all major daimyo of Japan still living at that time gathering for a jolly celebration with Hideyoshi at a park, a stark contrast to all other CGI cutscenes in the game.
  • Hourglass Hottie: Like Dynasty Warriors, every female character is this.
  • 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. Ōichi uses a kendama (child's puzzle toy) in her first appearances, but from the third game on, she switches to a bunch of barbed chakrams. Shingen Takeda uses a fan. That one did actually occur historically, although only once, in a single incident.
    • Ōichi'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 flail...or a yo-yo.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Surprisingly, few characters actually use a katana, 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.
    • On a smaller scale, the defeat of an officer or captain prompts most of enemies around them to flee unless the difficulty is set on Chaos.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In 4, since the story mode is now faction-specific rather than character-specific, they give more focus to the development of the clan while Character Development only occasionally appears. Except for the Sanada story. Notably, it's the only story mode that gives more focus to the relationship between the Sanada brothers and a few other characters like Ina, Keiji, Kanetsugu, and Mitsunari. The development of the Sanada clan in the story is only vaguely referenced in the narrative.
  • 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 Hideaki Kobayakawa on your side, you STILL end up doing most of the fighting.
    • The fourth game limits Leeroy action by having, in certain stages, enemy-controlled areas where even the lowliest mooks receive an impressive power up, forcing the player to actually complete certain objectives to remove the Home Field Advantage.
  • Limit Break: In 4, using a Musou Attack while Rage is active results in the devastating Musou Frenzy.
  • Long-Lived: Given the state of the era, some characters rather extraordinarily manage to hold themselves together for the entire Sengoku period, either because they historically did so or because they're made as one. Probably the most remarkable is Tokugawa Ieyasu, who has been present since the Imagawa's disastrous defeat at the hands of Nobunaga at Okehazama (1560) all the way to the Osaka Castle siege, 55 years later. Remarkable because Ieyasu is depicted as a middle-aged man since Okehazama, when he's only 17 at that time. Same with Munenori and Koshosho, who are both introduced as Nobunaga's adversaries during his conquest of the capital in the 1560s and are still going strong by time of the Osaka Castle campaign, but that's because Munenori is combined with his father Muneyoshi, while Koshosho is mostly a fictional figure to represent the entire Miyoshi clan.
  • Love Across Battlelines: Ōichi and Nagamasa in some scenarios.
  • Marrying the Mark: Noh's Arranged Marriage to Oda Nobunaga is specifically so she can kill him. She has a complicated dynamic, where she is In Love with the Mark, but still wishes to kill him, and is quite possessive of her role. In the first game's Honnoji stages, when approached by Nobunaga in his move to escape, she may agree to escape with him, or suddenly defect, so she can kill him before any of Mitsuhide's forces can.
    Noh: You came for me, my love. I can’t bear the thought of your life being taken by another.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: Two immediate cutscenes post-Odawara in 4. The first cutscene has Lady Hayakawa and Kai mourning Ujiyasu's death. The second cutscene has... Hideyoshi celebrating his achievement in uniting Japan by throwing a lavish picnic, complete with silly dancing.
  • Mook Chivalry: Besides stat boosts to enemies: the intensity of this factor is what differentiates the various difficulty levels the most: on Easy groups of enemy soldiers will barely attack you for scratch damage and flee if you so much as look at them. in Chaos mode, not only do all of them rush you, but they can stagger you even when outside of the Power Zone.
  • 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.
  • Moving the Goalposts:
    • Tachibana (of all people) pulls this on you in the third-to-last normal mission in katana. Never mind that the part up to it is a bit of a Guide Dang It! as to how you're supposed to strafe, no, she wants you to defeat 30-ish enemies without any attack successfully landing on you. The enemies do include Kunai-throwing ninjas. Fortunately, she doesn't make you fight her without taking damage, saving it from becoming That One Level.
    • 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.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Justified as it's (mostly) based on historical events in 1500s Japan. Compared to Dynasty Warriors however, SW is more progressive regarding its treatment of women; even if they appear because of their connections to men, they still have individual goals to follow on and aren't overly clingy to their spouses. Then again, no matter the place, the values of the 16th century are very different from the 3rd century.
  • Ninja:
    • Kunoichi, Hanzō, Kotarō, and Nene — all but Kotarō not having historically been ninjas.
    • The elite ninja mooks include Assault/Strike Ninjas (essentially Sumoka), Fire Ninjas (attack using bombs and by planting mines), Wind Ninjas (komuso-wearing warriors who can perform spinning attacks with their flutes)and Sky Ninjas (fast bur fragile warriors who use drill-like gauntlets to move undeground and attack from beneath).
    • There are also ninja mooks. As of 4, there are officers with the "Ninja Master", who usually from the Sanada or the Hōjō.
    • In Spirit of Sanada, the Sanada Clan has three officer ninjas who also have distinct deisgns.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The "Sky Ninjas" are short tattooed guys with drill-like blades on their arms who attack by diving into the ground and hitting from beneath with a powerful thrust. Essentially, they have a earth-based moveset.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • As of 4, there are many generics with unique design, usually they are daimyo or important characters in history. Even Hideyori, who has exactly one appearance (Osaka Campaign) also got unique character design.
    • In Spirit of Sanada, 'plenty' of generics under the Sanada, Takeda, and Toyotomi have unique designs. There are also some unique characters outside these three clans.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: After defeating the bandits in the second scenario, Musashi admits that he's no different from them, as he used his sword to cut down people weaker than himself.
  • Off-Model: A custom warrior using a moveset with a unique mounting animation can result in very obvious clipping into a horse's back if the models are of different size.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you start playing Samurai Warriors 2 on the Playstation 2 and have save data from the first game, it'll let you choose to start with Hanzō and Kenshin Uesugi unlocked. The same goes for Tadakatsu Honda with save data from Xtreme Legends.
  • Old Soldier: Shingen Takeda, Yoshihiro Shimazu, Ujiyasu Hōjō, Motonari Mōri (in 4, at least), and eventually Ieyasu Tokugawa himself at the end of Spirit of Sanada. There's even an "elderly"-type generic officer.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: The most expensive mount in Spirit of Sanada is a Panda.
  • The Power of Friendship: Kanetsugu Naoe goes on at length about it. Several characters tell him to shut up.
  • Power Up Motif: In 4, when you use Ultimate Musou (a musou attack you use while you're in "Musou Gokui" or "Rage Attack" state), there's an audio motif that very briefly overrides the current stage's theme music for several seconds.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • In 2, Honganji rioters no longer have Buddhism motifs like they did in the first game and are mostly represented by peasants backed up by Saika Renegades and Mouri clan, though "monk" unit still occassionally appear, including as bodyguard. As of 3, they're almost entirely represented by Saika Renegades and Mouri clan with "Honganji" name is only alluded to if mentioned at all. This is likely to avoid unfortunate implication of depicting players slaughtering Buddhist monks.
    • Hideyoshi's death is usually portrayed as some sort of Diabolus ex Machina, since his death causes power struggle and Succession Crisis and they refuse to depict the infamous Korean Campaign, during which Hideyoshi fell ill and died, in any possible way. At least until Spirit of Sanada, where it's shown that Hideyoshi fell ill and die partially by depression due to feeling guilty for ordering Toshiie to Leave No Survivors during Battle of Hachioji castle. On related note, Toshiie also fell ill due to depression after Battle of Hachioji Castle.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: As standard for a Warriors game, used for full effect during True Musou attacks.
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of the clothing options (at least for original characters) include a cape and hat trimmed with white fur.
  • Punny Name: A non-comedic meta example. "Sengoku Musou" is a pun on "Sangoku Musou", the Japanese name for Dynasty Warriors.
  • The Purge: To put it bluntly, and regardless of whatever the games' narration attempts to justify it, Siege of Osaka is effectively this to the Toyotomi (and, historically, to the Chousokabe remnants as well). In the scenarios where Tokugawa win (as they did in history), the narration always makes sure to let you know that the Toyotomi ended with the siege.
    • To the Azai, it's the Siege of Odani. Incident at Honnouji would've been this to the Oda, but only Nobunaga and one of his sons Nobutada died.
    • The Honganji-Ishiyama campaign against the Ikko Ikki sect dating back in 1 also counts, as it showcased Nobunaga's foremost brutality. They never touched the event again afterward.
  • Redshirt Army: Pretty much who you fight to save for the occasional officers, most of which end up as merely Elite Mooks at best.
  • Regional Bonus: In the Japanese release of SW3, there was a set of three DLCs that each cost 100 Wii Points, giving the player a portion of the Historical Mode, which acted as a story for custom characters. The international releases had the entire Historical Mode available out of the box.
  • Relationship Values: In the Chronicles games and Chronicle Mode of 4, you grow closer to the various characters as you fight alongside them and view their relationship events.
  • Sarashi: SW3 provides this in the form of the female Create a Warrior model who can have half a kimono top and a sarashi.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: This happens a couple of times. Naomasa Ii, who was introduced in Samurai Warriors 4-II, is notable in that, while his helmet has rather tall and impractical vertical spires, are rather tame in comparison to most depictions of his helmet.
  • 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. Once you beat the enemy commander, all remaining generic characters on that side will immediately panic and run for the nearest spawn area.
  • Shout-Out: In the first game, Mitsuhide is ambushed in his first path's penultimate level, Yamazaki, by a raid of peasant warriors seeking to avenge Nobunaga's murder; killing them fulfills an objective. The real-life Mitsuhide's generally accepted cause of death was being slain by a peasant warrior in the same battle.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Meta-wise, this seems to be an occasional problem with story-telling in Samurai Warriors games. Unlike Dynasty Warriors that has Romance of the Three Kingdoms and more historically accurate Records of the Three Kingdoms as material sources, Samurai Warriors is a bit more barren in that regard. On the flip side, there's a bit more leeway in depicting the period, since, without any authoritative accounts to keep track of, fewer criticisms can be thrown from purists regarding significant changes (not to say that there aren't, however).
  • Soft Reboot: While technically every entry is one, 5 follows a very different direction, complete with a different art style, character design philosophy and even some voice actor changes.
  • Spin Attack: Wind Ninjas can attack by spinning (which break defense and/or allow them to attack from behind): they both extend their flutes and dash forward with an horizontal spin or roll around before delivering a Ground Pound.
  • Stat Grinding: In addition to the standard experience-based leveling system, 4 gives each character proficiency ranks in normal attacks, power attacks, hyper attacks, and special skills that rise as the character performs the actions in question and increase their effectiveness.
  • Stealth Pun: While present since the series started, one of the loading screens for Spirit of Sanada points out that defeated enemy ninjas will sometimes drop scrolls.
  • 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: Hanzō wields a Kusarigama in battle. Other ninjas include Kunoichi and Nene (daggers) and Kotarō Fūma (clawed gauntlets).
  • Sumo Wrestling: "Assault Ninjas"/Sumo/Miscreants. They are bigger than any mooks and most playable characters, have plenty of health and their attacks (especially their dreaded palm strike barrage) can easily break through guards and deal some damage to players.
  • 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, Masamune Date 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.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • Tadakatsu, following in Lu Bu's tradition.
    • That specific example aside, it's also common throughout the series for a Triumphant Reprise to kick in when victory is near.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Some requests in Survival Mode contain stealth missions. Also, Sugoroku.
    • Magoichi occasionally has sniping missions.
    • Cannoneering sub-missions in the third game.
  • Variable Mix: Several stages in 4 have music that seamlessly fades from a low-key version to the full song and vice-versa. The game also features filters that are used according to the status of the player (Ex.: A low-pass at low health).
  • 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. However, a case can be said that this game takes a lot of cues from the Eiji Yoshikawa novel Taiko which gives a fair amount of good portrayals for the Three Unifiers (Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu) and why Hideyoshi continued to receive a good dose of Historical Hero Upgrade, like making him way more optimistic and not showcasing his later megalomania, not to mention the Korean Campaign.
  • 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).
  • Weaponized Ball: Ōichi had her Epic Flail kendama, Kanbei's Energy Balls, and Yoshimoto's kemari ball.
  • War Is Hell: As the series has continued, various cutscenes have started to portray the realities of the Sengoku era and the suffering endured by everyone from peasant to daimyo.
  • Weapon of Choice: As with Dynasty Warriors, each character has his own specific weapons, with Katana, Spears and Naginata reserved for NPCs. While the characters from the former have undergone some changes across the games (with the latest ones even enabling you to give the characters any weapon you wish), characters from Samurai Warriors have always stuck to their weapons, with the exceptions of Date Masamune (from dual wooden swords to sword and guns) and Oichi (from kendama to bladed rings).
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Even though the loss condition in many stages is stated to be the defeat of another allied commander than yours, you also lose the battle if your own player character loses all their health. Justified for most of the series, since emptying your health bar is a standard for defeat and you make the most impact in a battle. However, this is played somewhat straight in 4 and 4-II, as you can use two playable characters instead of just one and lose automatically when only one of them loses all of their health, even if defeated units generally retreat rather than die.
  • What If?:
    • Most of the characters in the first game had a path like this, with a few having pretty much their entire scenario going this way, especially characters who weren't historically significant warriors like Ishikawa Goemon or Okuni.
    • Chronicles 3's story branches 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?"
  • World of Badass: Par for the course for a Koei game.
  • Xenafication: Like the parent series, female figures who generally stayed in the background in history are made Action Girls. However, it's slightly excused in this series since the women, while not active officers, were documented to have received self-defense skills befitting of noble ladies, mostly so they could save themselves should enemies capture them. It's also averted in the case of Ginchiyo Tachibana and Naotora Ii, who actually did become military leaders of their respective clans, even if they did not participate in any significant battles. Ginchiyo and Kai are also fabled to participate in several of their respective clans' battles, though there are few historical sources to prove this claim.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: There are hundreds of generic NPC officers with nothing but names to differentiate them. Thanks to the way animations are handled in-game, many of them also move in perfectly synchronized squads.
  • Younger and Hipper: Sort of with 5. 5 features younger versions of several characters, with Nobunaga and Mitsuhide being the forefront of that in order to chronicle Nobunaga's days as 'The Fool of Owari' (something Koei has done in another series before).