There are other gameplay modes available in Samurai Warriors, including a survival mode, where your goal is simply to survive as long as you can against a seemingly never-ending onslaught of opponents; a versus mode, where up to two players can compete to slaughter the most opponents, capture a specific opponent first, or be the first to defeat 1,000 enemies; and a challenge mode, where you can play through each of the individual skills tests from the new officer mode with any of the available characters in the game. All told, these modes are fine to play, and though not all of them are terribly exciting on their own, they still add further depth to the game's overall package.
Visually, Samurai Warriors isn't much different from the Dynasty Warriors games--at least from a technical standpoint. The game is still capable of handling ridiculous numbers of enemies onscreen at one time--with only intermittent frame rate issues when the enemy numbers reach their absolute peak--and the camera is still a little on the twitchy side when it comes too close to environmental objects. Where the game differs from its Dynasty Warriors brethren is in its stylistic point of view. Gone are many of the garish costumes and the flashy scenery of old; they have been replaced by a much darker, more solemn battlefield. But while the majority of the game takes on that darker look, some of the playable characters are actually quite silly looking in some respects. However, others actually look cool, and there are more than enough cool characters to go around.
The addition of several role-playing elements, as well as plenty of branching storylines, gives Samurai Warriors excellent replay value.
Sillier than any of the character designs, however, is Samurai Warriors' English voice acting, which borders on being intolerable at times. Some of it is actually quite competent, but much of the translated dialogue is mostly haphazardly written. When the voice acting is especially bad, the two factors compound into a rather unpleasant experience. However, all fortune is not lost, as the game does feature the original Japanese dialogue, which is significantly better than the other dialogue. The game's soundtrack is a bit more subdued and traditional than the sort of wailing rock-guitar music often found in its predecessors. There are still a few instances of the more head-bang-worthy stuff here and there, but for the most part it's just an afterthought.
Compared to its PlayStation 2 predecessor, the Xbox version of Samurai Warriors is fundamentally the same game but with a couple of upgrades. For starters, the Xbox version actually supports more characters onscreen at once than the PS2 version. The actual numbers increase isn't gigantic (about 10 more total), but when comparing the two side by side, you'll definitely notice a difference. However, this increase in enemy opposition actually doesn't seem to ramp up the difficulty in any noticeable way, so the gameplay is pretty much unaffected by it. This is also really the only notable graphical difference between the two platform offerings, because, aside from a marginally cleaner look, the Xbox version of the game looks practically identical to the PS2 version. The only other change of note is the addition of Dolby Digital 5.1 support for the game, so if you've got some surround speakers and really like to hear the sounds of samurai being hacked to death, then this is a nice inclusion. All told, the Xbox version of the game is essentially the best by default--because of these additions--but if you only own a PS2, you're not missing out on a whole lot by ending up with that particular version of the game.
When all is said and done, Samurai Warriors is a game that sticks pretty closely to its roots, and in that regard, it does a fine job of being what it wants to be. This isn't a game that's going to reel in the longtime Dynasty Warriors naysayer; this is a game that is designed to appeal to an already loyal fan base, and it serves its purpose perfectly. Anyone who has played and enjoyed Koei's earlier offerings will probably enjoy this game. And anyone who's had an interest in the series, but has yet to take the plunge, will find a fine starting point in Samurai Warriors.