Warriors titles have enjoyed a good run on Sony's underappreciated handheld, with ports of recent releases proving to be decent alternatives to their home console counterparts. At times, portable play suits the hack and slashers better, as you can jump in and out of battle at a moment's notice. The only consistent problem is that due to a decreased draw distance, battlefields never feel quite as packed as they should – especially if you've been enjoying the PlayStation 4 versions and their absolutely bustling maps.
It's an obvious hardware limitation that unfortunately applies to Samurai Warriors 4 as well. You'll notice quite a bit of pop-in when it comes to both scenery and approaching enemies, but it's thankfully never enough to sour the overall experience. Unlike the Vita version of Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Omega Force's latest manages to put enough action on screen to avoid disappointment, and all in all, it's probably the most technically sound Warriors game on the system, despite its aforementioned shortcomings.
Samurai Warriors 4 is easily one of the fastest paced titles of its kind, thanks to the fresh inclusion of hyper attacks. Allowing you to sweep across the battlefield like a violent wind, the new combos rack up kills like nothing else, which would be a problem if the game couldn't keep up, but fortunately, there's never a shortage of grunts to slaughter. In that sense, packing so much action into the handheld release is an impressive feat.
It all looks quite pretty, too. Combining an attractive art style with an eye catching colour palette, the visuals pop rather nicely on the Vita's smaller screen. It's perhaps a bit of a shame that the menus and in-game display haven't been rescaled for the portable, but given that your health bar and musou gauge are colour coded, you should never have to squint too much. Overall, it's a flashy looking title that's at least comparable to the PS4 edition – even if it does throw up a few horribly blurry textures now and again.
Moving away from graphical capability, everything that's present in the home console release can be found here, from the sprawling story mode to the downright addictive chronicle mode. What's more, the title supports cross-save functionality, so you can transfer your progress from one system to the other, which is a handy feature for a game that boasts this much content, optional or otherwise.
We won't go into too much detail regarding gameplay in this review, but it's worth pointing out that the abovementioned chronicle mode proves to be a great fit on the Vita. Comprising of smaller scale battles that focus on one main objective while plopping optional tasks onto the map at certain points, the component is well suited to portable play; you can dive into a few quick brawls, level up your custom character, nab some loot, and raise your affinity with other roaming warriors all within a short amount of time.
And that's all there really is to say about Samurai Warriors 4's handheld outing. If you're looking for a more detailed analysis on gameplay mechanics, be sure to check out our PS4 review, but by and large, this is the exact same game. Its smooth, satisfying blend of hack and slash gameplay hasn't been compromised for the weaker hardware, making it relatively easy to flip from one version to the other, preferably carrying over your save data in the process. In that regard, it complements its PS4 brother incredibly well, but even if you're dedicated solely to Sony's diminutive device, this is still one of the very best action games on the market.
Samurai Warriors 4 is a great, action packed addition to the Vita's library, and a fine example of a successful handheld port. Although it can look a bit muddy at times, very little else has been cut down to fit this musou monster onto Sony's portable device. Boasting two fantastic modes and more shogun slashing carnage than you can shake a shamisen at, it's the pick of the bunch when it comes to your portable Warriors fix.