Shiren the Wanderer Review
Shiren the Wanderer box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: ChunSoft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Atlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 9, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Fortunately, if you don't feel like moving your companion individually, you can let the companion follow you (Pokémon Mystery Dungeon-style), and you won't have to worry about giving individual walk commands (you can just hold down the D-pad) and the companion will attack when the AI sees fit. The ability to switch between the AI-controlled companion and the full control mode is very useful as you can quickly speed across areas like towns and sparsely-populated dungeons with your companion following you, and then you can switch to full control to flank opponents and bosses.

Shiren the Wanderer screenshot

As far as technical aspects go, unfortunately, Shiren the Wanderer is a mixed bag. The visuals are pretty good with some impressive pre-rendered cutscenes punctuating the plot. The in-engine graphics are a little less impressive, but everything runs smoothly overall. However, on the negative side, the game's soundtrack is abysmal. There is absolutely no voiceover, the sound effects are minimalist at best, and the background music is incredibly repetitive. Although I understand it can be quite a chore to localize a game with a full or partial voiceover, with two years between the Japanese and US releases, I expected more in the sound department.

Control in the game is very simple, and you'll have a choice between using the Wii-mote vertically with the Nunchuck attachment or horizontally. Using the Wii-mote vertically feels awkward, but the thumbstick offers greater precision when trying to move diagonally. Still, the horizontal style is easier to use, and feels more natural. Both control schemes offer shortcut buttons for common actions (like throwing a rock or performing an about-face) but these shortcut button combinations are awkwardly placed and most times it is easier to just go through the menus rather than use the shortcuts.

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Shiren the Wanderer is definitely a niche title and won't be for everyone. Much like last year's Demon's Souls, this title will mostly appeal to the hardcore sect. However, I think the development team has done a great job opening up the format. Even though the dungeon-crawling scheme is a little bit antiquated, if you like other dungeon-crawlers, Shiren the Wanderer is a must-buy. If you want to check out a dungeon-crawler for the first time, Shiren the Wanderer is a great jumping-off point. Just make sure you select the Easy difficulty!

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.9
Graphics
In-game graphics look polished despite some seaming and texture issues, and pre-rendered cutscenes are highly detailed.
4.1
Control
Using the Wii-mote sideways feels very comfortable, but awkward button shortcuts aren't as accessible as they could be.
2.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music is repetitive. The lack of a voiceover is keenly felt.
4.1

Play Value
If you aren't a dungeon-crawling fan, you'll likely play this one only once, but if you are a genre aficionado, you'll want to come back for the added difficulty.

3.9
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Epic adventure in feudal Japan - As the wandering samurai Shiren, you will explore a vision of historic Japan that is beautiful and vibrant. An epic story that begins 1000 years prior takes you through villages and dungeons and places you alongside figures straight out of Japanese mythology.
  • Variable challenge - A brand new easy mode lets even newcomers to the genre find a foothold while experienced players will find a more rigorous challenge in Normal mode. Post-game activities will test the most advanced gamer with additional quests, super dungeons, a tournament, and the "ultimate challenge"-the Millennium Dungeon, a pain-staking 1,000 floor dungeon-crawl.
  • Challenging depth and strategy - Control your time in the dungeons down to the details. Choose direct control over your party members or take advantage of the excellent AI that lets you specify attitude and tendency. Power up equipment through the new Dragon Orb system, and imbue them with special abilities via more than 100 Seals. New Spells allow targeted casting of effects on enemies.


  • Screenshots / Images
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