Musou (無双, lit. "Unmatched") is an umbrella term for powerful moves used by playable characters and enemy officers in Warriors games. They are automated, cinematic attack sequences that often provide invincibility to the user for the duration of the sequence. Players can usually activate a Musou attack by pressing (default setting on PlayStation pad) while standing still with a full Musou gauge.
A character's Musou capacity is often indicated by a gauge underneath their health bar; it is filled by hitting foes, taking damage, or consuming Musou-restoring items. Earlier games allow players to slowly recharge it by holding down . If players are in critical condition, the gauge will gradually replenish on its own. Natural non-item restoration is determined by the "Musou Fill" stat.
True Musou, a stronger Musou attack, often adds special properties or hit animations for the sequence. Usually available to critically injured characters, they can be performed regardless of health by equipping special items or skills. If two allied characters are in close proximity to one another, both of them can unleash a Double Musou (激・無双乱舞, Geki: Musou Ranbu, lit. Raging: Unmatched Wild Dance) if they press simultaneously.
If Musou attacks from two opposing units collide, a weapon deadlock may ensue. Other specific effects vary between titles.
The Japanese name for Musou in this series is Musou Ranbu (無双乱舞, lit. "Unmatched Wild Dance"). True Musou is known as Shin Musou Ranbu (真･無双乱舞, lit. "True Unmatched Wild Dance").
In earlier titles of this series, is held to determine the length of the assault. They will end if players release before the gauge is emptied or if their character falls off a platform. True Musou Attacks add fire damage to gradually weaken affected targets, though may overall lead to less damage depending on how the aerial damage penalty affects it; True Musou Attacks are known in older titles to add in certain animations from the characters' normal attack chains before the finisher.
Musou attacks in Dynasty Warriors 2 can be canceled if the user is struck by arrows or counterattacks from an enemy officer, as well as knocking targets away with knockback on every hit. These hindrances are eliminated in the third title, though stage hazards still pose a threat to players performing their Musou. However, a notable buff includes targets being kept in place for the whole Musou Attack chain to connect, with some normal Musou variations inflicting normal grounded hitstun which lead to more damage without the aerial penalty. The fourth title also adds a 'booming' sound effect to nearly all characters' Musou Attack finishing blows.
Both Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends and Dynasty Warriors 4 introduce the ability to use the aforementioned Double Musou with one's playable bodyguard; though in the latter case, the said bodyguard can only pop up after specific conditions have been fulfilled during the battle (and if it's someone the player with a specific character has aided personally many times). Once they appear, they will be signified with a flickering green aura. Curiously enough, Double Musou Attacks can be performed around the said playable bodyguard even if they suffer from other hit effects, such as being knocked down, launched or stunned; as long as the player is still active and ready to use a Musou Attack near them.
In Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends, characters with indirect Musou attacks can apply elemental orbs to their True Musou; the better the orb, the stronger the effects will be. Dynasty Warriors 5 gives each character new and improved finishing moves for their True Musou attacks.
Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce and its sequel requires characters to change into their fury forms before they can perform a Musou attack. The button input to activate the attack sequence is + which also reverts the user back to their normal self; Shin Sangoku Musou Multi Raid 2 averts this consequential side effect.
In Dynasty Warriors 7, Musou attacks require one full stock and automatically flinch surrounding foes during the sequence; characters may hold up to four stocks, but can no longer recharge Musou with . Players can unlock a second Musou which, depending on the individual, must be done in the air or by holding both R1 and simultaneously. Aerial Musou attacks are useful for breaking out of mid-air flinching while their stationary R1 counterparts are more damaging.
Dynasty Warriors 8 gives the playable cast all three Musou attack types and introduces the Rage feature that converts the player's Musou stocks (empty or not) into one full bar when activated. Characters under this condition are able to perform a Rage Attack reminiscent of the animation style used in previous titles. Rage Attacks cause defeated enemies to drop minor experience scrolls and may become more potent if a large number of hits are chained together. However, Musou Attacks no longer extend the duration of the combo count between its startup, ending and mid-Musou Attack.
Dynasty Warriors Next adds a secondary Musou sequence known as Speed Musou (神速乱舞, Shinsoku Ranbu, lit. "Godspeed Wild Dance") which requires the player's active participation of the PS Vita's touch screen in order to complete.
The Japanese name for Musou in this series is Musou Ougi (無双奥義, lit. "Unmatched Secret Skill"). True Musou is regarded as Musou Hiougi (無双秘奥義, lit. "Unmatched Hidden Secret Skill"). Throughout the series, a character's associated kanji will flash on the screen once their Musou is activated; the first kanji appears during normal Musou attacks while the second is shown when using a True Musou.
Samurai Warriors follows a format similar to most Dynasty Warriors installments but with more emphasis on mobility. When initiated, however, the battlefield slows to a bullet-time like sequence and automatically stuns nearby foes upon startup. If is held, the character will perform their base Musou Attack animation until the gauge is depleted, leaving them to end the assault with a powerful shockwave. Players have the option of controlling their character to perform other attacks if they should desire. But as a trade-off, Musou Attacks cannot be interrupted at will and will forcibly drain the whole gauge. Mounted Musou speeds the horse's sprint and provides an automated sequence from the rider. Two players will also share the same Musou gauge.
The sequel allows characters to stock up to three levels for their Musou gauge. These levels are earned by leveling each character individually, with the first level giving off a blue shockwave finisher and the second giving off an orange shockwave finisher. On the third level, a secondary effect is added to the character's attacks, which may include a shadow effect, faster attack execution, support fire, and so on. Unlike the first game, two players are given their own separate Musou gauges. Mounted Musou attacks now have the horse stampede through enemy lines, and the ending no longer interrupts the horse's sprint. Only one stock of the Musou Gauge can be manually charged up while the rest must be replenished by other means.
Samurai Warriors 3 retains the idea of three Musou stocks but limits the Musou to using one level, making it last for a set duration but no longer forcibly draining the whole gauge. Characters can also use their Spirit gauge to unleash an Ultimate Musou (無双奥義・皆伝, Musou Ougi Kaiden, lit. "Unmatched Secret Skill: Full Transmit"). This unique finisher covers a wider range of attack and inflicts more damage than a regular Musou.
The fourth title eliminates free action during Musou attacks and replaces previous finishers with unique animations; tapping during an attack sequence will cause it to end sooner (but will not have the kanji flash up). True Musou attacks now increase the repetition of attacks done by a slight amount. Ultimate Musou has been kept, though players can only use them while performing a Rage Attack (無双極意, Musou Gokui, lit. "Unmatched Essential Point"), an invincible powerup state that can only be accessed by pressing R3 (Playstation consoles controls default) when the Spirit Gauge is full, which activates a small cinematic (using the same startup pose for a normal Musou Attack) and causes the character to enter a state of full invincibility and to have all their attacks powered up by a specific element throughout depending on the character. The Rage Attack in this instance is a spiritual reprisal of the original free-action mechanic of the prior Musou Attacks in the series, though the duration is tied to the Spirit Gauge; characters all perform a unique animation to indicate the end of the Rage Attack state, and for returning characters they all use their original shockwave finisher animations.
Characters controlled by the CPU still use the original style from previous games, but are no longer completely invulnerable to damage and instead grant hyper armor to them for the duration (save for the shockwave finisher which instead grants them full invincibility frames). Weapon deadlocks caused by conflicting Musou attacks have been removed, and by this proxy two Musou Attacks that clash will cause both the player and enemy general units to slide back from each other, especially if the initial shockwaves clash properly.
In the Warriors Orochi series, characters no longer regain Musou by attacking units or taking hits. Instead, they must switch with another teammate in order to recover. The distinct Musou styles of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors casts have been left intact albeit with some minor tweaks. Secondary Musou effects from Samurai Warriors 2 are omitted in the first two games while the third installment limits Dynasty Warriors characters to only one non-aerial Musou. With the exception of Musashi, Kojirō, and Goemon, all Samurai Warriors characters/historical figures in Warriors Orochi 3 now use their Ultimate Musou as finishers during True Musou attacks.
Characters/figures of Chinese or Western origin utilize Musou Ranbu (styled akin to Dynasty Warriors 5 with unique True Musou finishers) whereas Japanese characters/figures make use of Musou Ougi (Level 1 and 2 versions only); in the third installment the startup effect for such original characters plus Musashi, Kojirō and Goemon is changed into a "Mystic-Musou" effect where a brief portrait of them is shown with runes surrounding them.
The first two games allow players to perform a Musou Chain (無双バースト, Musou Burst, lit. Unmatched Burst) by following up one Musou attack with another via switching. The next sequence results in a True Musou imbued with a particular attribute depending on the number of character types within the player's team.
The second game introduces Triple Musou Attacks (合体技, Gattai Waza, lit. Union Arts) that involve all three characters performing individual attacks before ganging up on their target all at once; using certain characters together will result in unique combination attacks. Warriors Orochi 3 reworks it into a joint True Triple Attack (真・合体技, Shin Gattai Waza, lit. True Union Art) which has the player fight freely in bullet-time while supported by AI-controlled teammates and causing every hit landed to be a free critical hit (even from simple contact through movement). When the gauge for this function is depleted, the team will release a huge blast to devastate affected enemies. Damage output and special effects vary depending on the team's bond levels.
Warriors Orochi 3 also in particular changes a majority of characters' Musou Attacks; characters who use Musou Ranbu can no longer hold down to increase the duration as they mostly are formed akin to the style used as of Dynasty Warriors 7; those who use Musou Ougi still function the same as in previous games, though more unique "shockwave finishers" may be used, with newer characters having their own "Ultimate Musou" as their True Musou. Most of the said Musou Ranbu users exclusive to the series (first-to-second installment) also use their original Dynasty Warriors 5-styled True Musou finisher animations by default, regardless of HP level.
Added in the Ultimate expansion is the True Musou Burst (真・無双バースト, Shin Musou Burst, lit. True Unmatched Burst), a two-team combination of six characters formed by two players. It is similar to a Double Musou and can be done on Gauntlet Mode with four other party members.
Dynasty Warriors: GundamEdit
Musou in this series are known as SP Attacks or Special Attacks. Hyper SP Attacks and Combination SP Attacks serve as the series equivalent of True Musou and Double Musou respectively.
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam lets players stockpile a maximum of three levels for a Mobile Suit. Each SP attack level initiates a unique attack which is linked to another level. To see the entire sequence, players will need to fill the gauge to its maximum level. The Mobile Suit's varied SP Attacks may alter present strategies in battle.
On the other hand, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 omits the need for strategy by assigning automated SP Attacks. Mobile Suits which require licenses to use have three unique SP Attacks available to them: on ground, in the air, or with a friendly ally. These suits will also use the entire SP gauge while secondary ones will only use a single stock upon activating their SP Attack. Secondary Mobile Suits are limited to one SP Attack. Combination SP Attacks cannot change their form of assault.
Select Mobile Suits yield different buffs or effects when executing SP Attacks at different levels of the SP gauge. Certain suits like Burning Gundam and Gundam F91 have a temporary special effect unlocked after performing their SP Attacks.
Fist of the North Star: Ken's RageEdit
Musou in these games are called Signature Moves while the Musou gauge is known as the Spirit Reserve.
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage allows characters to equip a maximum of four different Signature Moves per battle. Signature Moves are learned by leveling up a character. Players can choose which technique to use by pressing the directional pad and the button. Multiple stocks may be filled for repeated use against a powerful opponent.
A filled Spirit Reserve gauge can be sacrificed to activate Spirit Aura, a condition that strengthens a character's attack. This also enables them to perform their Hyper Signature Move which, depending on the character, can either be an instant kill move or a deadly quick-time event sequence.
One Piece: Pirate WarriorsEdit
Musou Attacks in this series are referred to as Special Attacks (必殺技, Hissatsu Waza, lit. "Sure-Killing Art"). When is pressed, a white flash occurs that inflicts non-damaging hitstun in an area around the character before the attack is unleashed (the sole odd exception to this however is Ace). Holding down allows the player to remain invincible until they can unleash the attack.
Special Attacks are divided into Level 1 and 2 variations. Level 1 attacks consume one full gauge and function similarly to traditional Musou attacks. Level 2 attacks, on the other hand, provide prolonged invincibility and bullet-time speed akin to Musou Ougi from Samurai Warriors. Characters have a maximum capacity of four Special Attack gauges when fully upgraded.
However, as of the second game, Level 2 attacks are instead a different attack than the Level 1, and are usually a stronger attack. Level 2 attacks consume two full gauges to perform, and require holding down the Special Attack button for a longer duration than the Level 1 attack. Characters can have different Special Attacks depending on which version of the character is being used, which is influenced by what costume is chosen by the player when choosing the character. For example, the pre-timeskip Straw Hat crew members' Special Attacks differ from their post-timeskip, older counterparts.
The third installment includes Special Kizuna Attacks (絆/キズナ必殺技, Kizuna Hissatsu Waza, lit. "Bond Sure-Killing Arts") that can only be used by characters under the effects of a Kizuna Rush. Combining the specific attacks of two characters, they usually have varying areas of effect and damage output.
CPU-controlled major units and/or playable characters (both allied and enemy) can use the Special Attack-delaying state as a form of guard counter, where they appear to be charging up for a special attack the same way a player does, only they will instead perform a deflection animation after the duration in order to stagger away any opposing units (including the player themselves) for a free incoming attack. The only way to stop said units from guard-countering is to time a proper dash cancel into them to break through their guard (and possibly increase their stun gauge).
Musou attacks in this series are coined Special Attacks and consume one special gauge to perform.
Characters are given three gauges that comprise the Special Attack gauge, in order to perform their Special Attacks. The Special Attack gauge can be filled by defeating enemies or consuming Triforce fragments. Characters start with only one gauge at the beginning of the game, but may permanently obtain more, up to a maximum of 3, by upgrading the character. Once a single gauge is full, players can trigger the attack sequence by pressing A.
Focus Spirit finishers serve as the title's variant of Ultimate Musou attacks. Unleashed by tapping A during Focus Spirit, they inflict heavy damage and leave affected enemies' weak points wide open. Unlike Special Attacks, these finishers don't consume any of the Special Attack gauge and only consume Magic Points.
Arslan: The Warriors of LegendEdit
Musou attacks in this game are called Special Attacks. Characters start with a capacity of one Special Attack gauge in the beginning of the game, but can be permanently increased to a max of three gauges through leveling up the character.
When the character has at least one gauge full, the player can press to perform the Special Attack. Some characters have different variations of their Special Attack, depending on which version of the character is being used, usually influenced by what costume the player selects. For example, the character Arslan has two possible Special Attacks, depending on whether or not he has Azrael accompanying him.
Berserk and the Band of the HawkEdit
Musou attacks in this game are referred to as the Death Blow. The Death Blow gauge is displayed next to the character's portrait, and it can only be filled by collecting Lost Souls, which are only dropped during Frenzy Mode. As such, Death Blow attacks can only be performed during Frenzy Mode.
Musou are referred to as Kessen Attack in Kessen III.
Once an allied officer has initiated the Rampage skill, press to unleash their Kessen Attack. Doing so automatically stops the timer for the Rampage screen. The attacks are reliant on the officer's equiped weapon; only Nobunaga, Mitsuhide, and Kicho have unique Kessen Attack sequences. Light Orbs can restore the Kessen Attack slots and are often dropped by defeated officers. Alternatively, the player can hold to restore it.
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' WarEdit
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War uses a similar mechanic called Zeal. When the morale gauge reaches its peak, the player along with his or her troops will undergo a state of Zeal (otherwise known as Bladestorm Mode). Units under this condition are granted full invincibility and doubled stats (including damage output, mobility, and skill recovery time) for thirty seconds before the gauge exhausts itself completely. One way to increase morale is to defeat opposing units in succession. Other methods of raising it include picking up wine and chalices dropped by enemies or touching wild deer found throughout the battlefield.
In a pinch, Zeal can easily turn the tide of battle to the player's favor if used correctly. By entering this state, allied troops are immune to damage and receive a variety of stat enhancements. Even buff skills like Mighty Arm and Dead Shot become twice as deadly when employed during Zeal. At times, it may be wise to maximize morale when confronting troops the player's unit is currently weak against.
While catching wild deer, players are recommended to chase them down as quickly as possible by using the Sprint skill, riding on horseback, or both.