Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada (JP) is a spin-off of the Samurai Warriors series as a collaboration with the NHK TV taiga drama, Sanada Maru. In Japan, the game released in early November alongside two other Warriors ports, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate and Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires.
The game plays like most of the other Warriors games with hack and slash combat through areas in the battlefield to control areas and eventually kill the enemy commanders. Most levels have side goals to raise allies' morale or get special rewards. The game is based on the engine established in Samurai Warriors 4.
One of the new features are long-term battles which consist of multiple skirmishes in a row over a day and night cycle. There is also a new mechanic called Stratagems where players can call on a gimmick to help in battle. The Stratagems are acquired through side objectives throughout the game or in Castle Town.
Castle Town is a hub center that replaces the game menu. The player accesses the game modes by interacting with the environment. The castle town also is home to other activities like purchasing horses, fighting enemies in the outskirts and bonding with other officers.
The game uses a Full 3D Map of the Warring States period of Japan for situational explanations. By moving the camera across the map, players are able to view the lands where battles have been held from various angles.
Like the other Samurai Warriors games, the game focuses on the Warring States period of Japan and the various conflicts between clans. While the main games offer various viewpoints, this game focuses on the Sanada clan, led by Masayuki and his sons, Nobuyuki and Yukimura. The game takes place over a 54 year period with the game's protagonists aged as time passes.