The 10 best games of the Warriors series, ranking

Koei’s Warriors game series, often referred to as the Musou series, is a surprisingly large and varied franchise. There are several dozen games in the broader franchise, with settings ranging from the Three Kingdoms period of China to feudal Japan and Hyrule’s darkest hour. It would be a near-impossible order to play through each and every one of them, but you can choose which ones you want to try. Here are our picks for the best games in the Warriors series.

The best Warriors games – our top ten

The good thing about the Warriors franchise is that you don’t need to have played any other titles in it to follow the story. They are largely independent games unless directly tied to another franchise, where they often serve as a direct sequel in a new format. The hallmark of a Musou game is its all-vs-one format, which sees you wade through armies of villains until you find the inevitable boss fight at the end. Here are our picks for the games that perform best in this format.

10) Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends

Image via Koei Tecmo

Among many fans, this is the quintessential Musou experience. While it doesn’t significantly change the gameplay compared to previous titles, it refines things and gave a much-needed graphical upgrade as this was the first game in the series to be developed exclusively for the PS3. Characters look sharp and vibrant, and battlefields are larger and more chaotic than previous hardware would have allowed.

9) Legends of the Hyrule Warriors

Image via Nintendo

This entry into the Warriors series is a love letter to the Legend of Zelda franchise. It offers players the opportunity to travel through Hyrule and fight against monsters and enemies from the game’s long history. The story takes place in three periods of the Zelda timeline – Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, with players controlling and assisting characters from these three games. It’s a lot of fun, even if the plot is a bit thin. The Switch port, Hyrule Warriors Legends includes an additional story arc and is easier to get, making it the best version to track down.

8) Persona 5 Striker

Persona 5 Striker Ryuji
Image via Atlus/Sega

This Warriors game serves as a direct sequel to Persona 5, giving players a chance to delve into the Metaverse once again. Set several months after the events of Persona 5, Strikers sees the Phantom Thieves on a road trip across Japan while uncovering a new mystery along the way. The game incorporates attempts to blend Persona JRPG tropes with Warriors’ mass combat mechanics, and is largely successful, although combat tends to be smaller than in other Musou games. The emphasis is on strategy and exploration, more than just wading through seas of enemies, but the boss fights are a lot of fun. If you’re looking to spend more time with the Persona 5 crew, this is a solid sequel.

7) Samurai warrior 4

Image via PlayStation

While most of the Dynasty Warriors franchise focuses on the Three Kingdoms period in China, the Samurai Warriors series showcases the feudal Japan era, complete with the historical characters that make that period so fascinating. The cast in the Samurai Warriors side of the franchise is usually much smaller than in Dynasty games, but that often works to their advantage. Samurai Warriors 4 is the biggest of the samurai games, with a larger cast even than its later sequel. It’s much closer to the experience of a Dynasty Warrior game than any other game in the series.

6) Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Image via Nintendo

Although the title says Fire Emblem, this is a Musou game at heart. Gone is the tactical RPG combat, replaced by the chaotic frenzy of all-vs-one combat that the Warriors series is known for. This isn’t the first time the Fire Emblem series has received the Warriors treatment, but it feels like the most complete and entertaining. The story ties directly into the world of Three Houses and brings our favorite characters back for more action. Both the gameplay and character development are deeper than most Warriors games, making this one of the best Warriors games of all time.

5) Hyrule Warriors: Age of Disaster

Image via Nintendo

Another Warriors game set in the Zelda universe and focusing on the events 100 years before Breath of the Wild. Calamity Ganon has awakened and will unleash his power to destroy Hyrule. The game has a smaller roster than most Warriors games, but the storyline is surprisingly good. Watching the characters fight against fate, knowing that they will ultimately fail, is a lot of fun and heartwarming in just the right way.

4) Warrior Orochi 4

Image via Koei Tecmo

If you like the huge rosters of Dynasty Warriors games and the sharper refinement of Samurai Warriors games, then Warriors Orochi series is the best of both worlds. This spin-off series, which serves as a crossover for both franchises, has received four titles of its own. In the latest Warriors Orochi 4, the cast of both series battle literal gods from the Norse and Greek pantheons. None of the plot makes much sense, but it’s still a lot of fun along the way, so it doesn’t bother us too much. The massive battles and outrageous combos are all from the Warriors games you know and love, only on a much larger scale.

3) One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4

Image via Bandai Namco

One Piece is one of the most popular anime franchises of all time, with characters that are emotional and powerful at the same time. Pirate Warriors 4 is surely a warriors game with the swarms of enemies that each character has to fight against. It doesn’t stray far from that formula, but the addition of the Straw Hat Pirates and some of their most iconic allies and enemies makes it a joy to play through. Some of the series’ most emotional moments are faithfully recreated here for fans, balancing the hilarious, over-the-top combat with some real life scenes.

2) Samurai warrior 5

Image via Koei

While Samurai Warriors 4 was the biggest game in its series, its sequel is far more focused and streamlined. The cast has been shortened and the action focuses on a very small period during the Warring States period. Although the roster has been trimmed for Samurai Warriors 5, the game hasn’t cut any of the action. Rather than having a bloated cast, each plays differently and has a unique element of fun. This is probably the best game on the Samurai Warriors side of the franchise, although it might disappoint those expecting the full Musou experience.

1) Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends

Image via Nintendo

While Dynasty Warriors 7 stayed true to the series’ roots for the most part, this installment was willing to try new things. Combat will be familiar to Warriors fans, but there are new game modes and over 70 playable characters. The list is slightly bloated and several characters play similarly, but you have to admire the sheer ambition that went into this game. It stays true to the series’ past while expanding new horizons. The 10 best games of the Warriors series, ranking

Curtis Crabtree

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