Game developer, Acquire, released Way of the Samurai back in 2002 for the Playstation 2. The sequels were then released in various platforms, including the PSP and Xbox 360. Now, its latest installment, Way of the Samurai 4, is available exclusively for the Playstation 3. How much changes and improvements can one expect out of this ambitious game? Put down your swords and let’s find out!
Way of the Samurai 4 takes place in feudal Japan, specifically in Amihama in 1855. Europe wishes to develop an open trade relationship with Japan. However, this does not sit well with the local rebel bandits. This is where you come in. You’ll need to decide which side to take: either work with the government’s efforts and protect their cause or join the bandits in an effort to kick these foreigners out. There are 10 possible endings you can see which induces you to play this game over several times.
The combat system is pretty involved and deep when you take into account the various ways to evade attacks, including guards and parries. There is also a huge list of special moves you can perform for the offensive. The square and triangle buttons are used to execute strong and weak attacks. And pressing the left shoulder button will reverse your sword for the non-lethal attack, thereby switching your fighting style in effect. If you make enough kills, you’ll fully charge your soul meter which can allow you to perform a huge number of slashes on your victims. In time, this combat system can wear out a player’s interest, which can lead to a button-mashing affair.
Playing as a samurai, your activity and decisions will actually affect the state of your village, including the climate. If you choose to help the government, you can be doing such things as opening a foreign language school. By doing this, certain dialogue becomes readable to you. You could also take on quests in order to earn money to spend on health and upgrades.
There’s a great degree of freedom with this game as you can go fishing and gambling. Furthermore, you can even get your samurai to go seducing the ladies. With the large number of mini-games you can engage in, there’s a lot to do in Way of Samurai 4. But there’s a double-edged sword here. Although they can be a lot of fun, some can go pretty old quickly.
You can perform combat upgrades and various customizations to your character. In addition, you can combine items you have collected during your journey to produce your own sword. The great thing about this is that it becomes personally catered to the player’s preference. The customization can go as far as having outrageously ridiculous outfits, which potentially adds humor to the game.
Way of the Samurai 4 has implemented an interesting feature allowing players to upload their samurai online as a wandering NPC. So then if you happen to comes across these user-generated NPCs, you can take their custom weapons when you slash them down. It definitely keeps up with the game’s value because of this online feature.
Graphically, you would qualify Way of the Samurai 4 as decent in comparison to a Playstation 2 game. While the animation runs smoothly, the design and appearance does look outdated with its pixilation. The background music does effectively set an appropriate mood and tone for the game’s setting. Various sound effects pull off what they are required but they don’t aid in retaining Way of the Samurai’s appeal in terms of presentation.
Way of the Samurai 4 is currently exclusive for the Playstation 3 as a digital download for $39.99. While it may not stand out in comparison to other games that follow the open-world sandbox formula, like Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto, its feudal Japanese theme can be favorite amongst such fans. Still, Way of the Samurai 4 is looking pretty sharp with the amount of content in the form of in-game activities. If you can look past the outdated presentation as well as appreciate cheesiness throughout the game, then you may be able to adapt to the Way of the Samurai…4, that is .