While Katsuie Shibata was technically in Sengoku Basara 3 as an older man, he’s been given a makeover as a brooding pretty-boy with a bowl cut in 4. His double-ended naginata caught my interest at TGS, and he was partnered with Date Masamune, so I had no choice but to choose him for my demo.
When I was dropped into the stage, some of my instincts from Sengoku Basara 3 came back to me. Light attacks were on square, heavy attacks were on triangle, the flashy Basara attacks were on circle (assuming the Basara gauge was filled), and everything was just as fast as it ever was. Shibata tore through his enemies by spinning his weapon and (strangely) creating green boxes around his foes and shattering them.
While at first my combos were relatively short, I eventually discovered that I could use the guard button (L1) after a triangle attack to cancel that attack and spin my way elsewhere (slicing anyone in my way) to continue the combo. This brought my average combo count from about 40 hits to 400 once I got the hang of it. It was madness, enemies flying everywhere, coins bursting from both jars and foes, and people standing on each other’s shoulders before I knocked their human towers down.
I progressed through the level, destroying enemy encampments as I found them and trying to use L2 to guide Masamune towards whatever I wanted him to hit. However, at this difficulty level, the whole partner system seemed a little bit gratuitous, so I just let him do whatever he wanted and continued my rampage. Eventually, I’d leveled up enough to gain another attack that was mapped to R1. It was a slow, but flashy attack that had Shibata’s naginata fly through the air, carve the aforementioned green boxes in everything, and generally ruin anyone in front of me. Not exactly the most practical attack, but I appreciated the extra option when enemies stood stacked on top of each other like a tower of shield-holding cups.
Around this point, I noticed that I’d filled up a new gauge that wasn’t in Sengoku Basara 3. This was the “Hero Gauge,” and triggering it just induced more madness. Everything around me slowed down to a crawl. Incoming attacks were no more threatening than the splinters of enemy shields floating through the air. Naturally, the player’s speed is even more ridiculous than usual, with Shibata having a ghostlike double behind him increasing both his damage and combo count. The entire area was cleared of enemies in a matter of seconds, which allowed me to fight Yukimura Sanada.
The fight was pretty simple, with me smacking him around the battlefield for the majority of the encounter. However, at one point, we clashed weapons and I was prompted to mash square as coins flew everywhere and the two combatants viciously attacked each other. Once I’d proven that I was better at mashing square than the enemy AI, he was knocked away and sheepishly made his retreat.
After continuing towards an area with fire-breathing Takeda Shingen statues and a bunch of merchants chanting to them (who rewarded each strike you gave them with a ton of coins), I noticed that both my and Masamune’s Basara gauges were full. Pressing L2 and circle simultaneously led to a Giga Basara Attack… which was basically just Shibata and Masamune posing for a while as a number of cool ink effects appeared onscreen (somewhat reminiscent of some of the advertisements for Street Fighter X Tekken). Finally they struck a final pose, some kanji I couldn’t read appeared onscreen, and everything was flattened into a sumi-e style painting.
When the normal game resumed, all of the soldiers and merchants who were previously onscreen were devastated alongside the Takeda Shingen statue they were praying to. I suppose poses should never be underestimated…
My onslaught continued until, I reached Takeda Shingen himself. He readied himself for battle and… the Capcom representative tapped me on the shoulder and told me my time was up. Next time, Shingen. Next time.
Food for Thought:
While it doesn’t necessarily mean anything, I thought it was interesting that while Capcom’s Gaist Crusher had no English instructions or notation for the demo, Sengoku Basara 4 had a number of pages translated into English…