|Animated Blood, Violence
| The Good
Lots of choice and variety
Battle system easy to pick up
Unlockable Battle Mode
| The Bad
Weak NPC AI
Way too short
Music/sound effects are repetitive.
19th Century Japan. The Koruo and Akadama clans are in the
middle of a turf war in the Rokkotsu Pass. As the ronin (masterless
samurai) Kenji, you wander into the pass and become another
piece of the story. During the next two days, you can either
join one clan or the other, or neither. You can choose to
fight everyone in the pass or no one at all. That's what makes
Way of the Samurai so unique.
Gameplay: Once you take control of your samurai, you
can walk around locations looking for people to talk, and
then possibly fight, with. Cutscenes and conversations often
allow you multiple responses, which will affect how NPC characters
act towards you. Once you begin a fight, you can choose between
blocking, light or hard attacks. But, just knowing how to
attack is not enough. You also need to learn how to parry
or sidestep attacks or make your enemies unbalanced. When
you defeat an enemy, you can take their swords, even though
you can only carry three and most are fairly plain. Each sword
has different button combos you can learn and even have different
attack styles. And then there's the durability gauge to take
into consideration. When you make attacks that get blocked,
your blade takes wear on the gauge. When the gauge fills,
the blade loses a notch in the gauge and when the gauge runs
out, the sword breaks. To prevent this, you need to cease
attacking until the gauge empties. You can also upgrade your
blades at the local swordsmith. When you finish the game,
you gain points and a grade for your efforts. Get enough points
and you unlock Battle Mode, a fighting game when you can play
as a one player or two player, which on it's own can be quite
fun and challenging.
Graphics: As a whole, the game looks pretty good.
The environments and visual effects add a nice touch that
makes the locales draw you into the game. The whole time you're
playing through the game, you really get a visual sense that
this is a real location recreated for a videogame. While character
models may look blocky in structure, the texture maps and
facial features give them enough detail to look good. One
of the weakest spots in the game is the water, which looks
almost nonexistent unless you splash into it, and then it
looks like it was made for the Playstation a few years ago.
Audio: Way of the Samurai starts off fairly well,
with nice sound effects and fairly good music, but it tends
to grow old quick. About an hour into the game, you've basically
heard all of the sound effects and music there is in the game.
The battle theme will grow tiresome after about the third
or fourth battle.
The Bad: While the in-game camera can be moved around
in most areas, it tends to be static in some areas, making
combat more difficult in those locales than it needs to be.
The NPC AI in battles is somewhat weak: if you tend to get
into a fight with multiple enemies and allies, you need to
steer clear of your own ally, unless you like to get hit.
And, if you manage to get into a fight with two other forces
and manage to kill people from both sides, whoever wins up
and leaves, no matter how many of them you killed.
And, then there's the shortness. Way of the Samurai
manages to last around 2-3 hours. But, considering that there
are multiple endings and multiple ways to play through, you'll
most likely play this one multiple times through before you're
done. Think of Way of the Samurai as the Japanese samurai
flick you can make all your own.