Way of the Samurai 4 Review: Two Coffins… No, Maybe Three

October 27th, 2015 -

Way of the Samurai has been a series I’ve always enjoyed, despite never really doing well on a critical level. Perhaps it is the fact that I adore Japanese culture, or maybe the fact that it’s more open-world than most other games are despite their claims. All I know is that I played the series by chance in 2002, and have since been happy to find a new one come out, despite such little fanfare – and get localized, no less!

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Let’s just get this out there right now – the game isn’t that good looking. While the game was originally made for the PS3 and released in 2011, even by last generation standards, it’s not a very pretty game. But as a long line of people will tell you: graphics don’t make a game fun. A game can be the most beautiful piece of art ever made, but hold it up against something addictively fun, and see which is picked by the masses and played longer.

That aside, what you’ll find is more of what the previous games offered. You’re a samurai wandering the countryside, and you are offered options of what you’d like to pursue storywise. From the very opening you are given the choice of siding with two factions, or not bothering with either. Shortly after the introduction to fighting, you are given free reign. Speak with the locals; threaten the locals; kill the locals… While you can’t kill EVERYONE like you could in the previous entry, it’s pretty close based on your skill.

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On the topic of fighting, there are eighty plus fighting styles in the game that you can learn. While battles are comprised mainly of light attack, heavy attack, blocking, and countering, that’s a lot of variance depending on what your preferred style is – explore it a bit, . The physics isn’t quite perfect in this game either, so expect to find yourself or others standing on surrounding objects magically, as you would in older games. The camera can also get lost amidst the action, causing some frustration. You can also expect a group of enemies to attack you one at a time because they have manners and know it’s not fair to be ganged up on. That said, the fights can end really quickly (not quite Bushido Blade quick) if you don’t know what you’re doing, and that’s always a great way to end your samurai’s journey.

The game itself doesn’t last too long, depending on the path you choose. While Far Cry 4 was lauded for its “secret ending” at the beginning of the game, Way of the Samurai 4 had something similar years before – you can tell the boatman that brought you to take you away right from the get go. Perhaps not as clever, but it just adds to the point of the game letting you do what you want. The game from start to finish following a faction should only last a few hours. While that may sound ridiculously short, note that there are three factions, the game’s dialogue is reactive, and your progress carries over between completed playthroughs. In a game that requires multiple playthroughs to experience all of the story, it’d be silly not to give incentive on replaying, right? After beating the game you’ll get an assortment of unlocks that can be purchased, which includes changing your sex.

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Truth is, the game capitalizes on being silly. Be it the wardrobe you are presented with, the weapons you fight with, or the broken English you’ll come across (not to mention some of the quests you can do), the game is unlike most things you’ve probably seen or played. And that plays in its favor. Think Saints Row meets Yojimbo. It may not hold all the polish of other games in its genre, but it makes up for it with its uniqueness and charm.

If you’re a fan of the series and haven’t played this yet, now is a great time to pick it up. If you’ve never played a game in the series, but like the idea of choosing your own path in games, definitely give this a go. If you want something that doesn’t take itself seriously, you got it, play this. If you’re more of a graphics snob and like your games to be serious affairs, you should probably steer clear of this.

BUY

Pros

  • Player Freedom
  • Customization
  • Secrets Galore

Cons

  • Graphics
  • Occasional Camera Issues

Way of the Samurai 4 was developed by ACQUIRE Corp. and published/ported by Ghostlight LTD. The game launched on PC September 2nd, 2015 $24.99. The game was provided to us for review. If you’d like to see more of Way of the Samurai 4, check out the official site.

 

Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.

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