Are you ready for more Samurai Warriors? No? Too bad! Koei Tecmo has just announced the localization of a pair of games from the series.
Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 is up first, which will be available exclusivel... read
Samurai Gunn is great. It's a mainstay in my living room, especially with the backwards compatible PS1 taking a dive (no more convenient Bushido Blade). I also gave it a 2014 game of the year award even though... read
Ghostlight deviates from pattern with this action game port
// Kyle MacGregor
Way of the Samurai 4 is cutting a trail to PC later this year, Ghostlight has announced.
The publisher admits porting the open-world action game is a tad outside its wheelhouse, but decided to take a swing at it all the same.... read
A lot of sort of random games headlined Sony's pre-TGS conference.
As we previously reported, Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War (PS3, 360), from Koei and Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force, is getti... read
I want to wad the Katamari Damacy print up into my life
// Steven Hansen
We've shown off Jed Henry's Japanese woodblock renditions of game characters before. I'm still in love with that original Samus one. But Henry's catalog is growing, to my wallet's growing concern.
Shadow of the Colossus, Fina... read
So, you read Chris Carter's review of Samurai Gunn and you thought to yourself, "Self, that's all well and good, but I want to see what it's like to become embroiled in the chaotic yet precise gameplay described in this... read
Last week, I guided your gaze towards a Kickstarter for Edo Superstar, a mobile fighter with a Japanese woodblock carving aesthetic. It is the brainchild of Jed Henry, who hopes to translate his Ukiyo-e Heroes style into an a... read
Kickstarter campaign helps both the game and the Japanese art community
// Tony Ponce
Last year, illustrator Jed Henry produced a line of fan art that re-imagined Nintendo characters as samurai, all rendered in the Japanese woodblock print style. His Ukiyo-e Heroes series proved incredibly popular, leading to... read
Good news all you finger-slashing, touchscreen gamers! SNK Playmore has dropped the NEOGEO classic, Samurai Shodown 2, onto iOS and Android compatible devices this week.
Touted as a "perfect port" the weapon-based figh... read
Remember when artist Jed Henry had the incredible idea to make prints of beloved videogame heroes in the style of Japanese ukiyo-e? The man hasn't missed a beat, continuing with pieces based on Mario Kart, Castlevania, and mo... read
Jed Henry is just your typical web artist. He loves videogames and desires to express that love through his talents. So he does what any game-loving illustrator would naturally do: render his favorite heroes and heroines as o... read
May 13 //
Way of the Samurai 4 (PlayStation Network)Developer: AcquirePublisher: XSEED GamesRelease: Summer 2012
From the outset, the game very much emphasizes openness with its gameplay. During the first encounter, the player can make several different decisions relating to how they interact with certain characters, who you choose to backstab, and which characters should bite the dust. You can even act out your best Yojimbo fantasy and manipulate all three factions against each other to your own benefit. With 10 different endings, including one true ending, players will feel motivated to head back in for multiple replays.In true sandbox style, you can avoid the faction quests altogether and simply explore the town, meeting citizens, pick up side quests, take up fishing, gambling, and even gardening. You're even given the option to romance particular characters, which can yield its own rewards. While WOTS4 deals with some heavy themes, the game likes to lighten the mood by introducing bizarre scenarios and garish characters into the mix. One minute you could be dueling in the town cemetery, and the next you could participating in a comical water torture sequence to gain the approval of a woman you might fancy. Not exactly sure why that would work out, but the game lets you do it. It's all quirky and bizarre, but oddly humorous. Way of the Samurai is very open in its execution, and the game will take any decision you make and keep on rolling.
One of the game's new features, however, might stir up some controversy. Known as "Night Crawling," your character can sneak into the house of a woman you're attempting to romance, and try to seduce and manhandle your way into their bed. All the while sneaking past their family members, and keeping quiet. All this is done with an on-screen prompt of a turtle head, which gets larger as you approach the person you're trying to romance. While this all sounds a bit creepy and slightly disturbing, it comes off more ridiculous, and over the top when you're actually doing the mini-game.The smallest decisions can have the biggest consequences, and WOTS4 seems to revel in it. For instance, the British foreigners speak a language not familiar to the player character. Siding with this particular faction can have the player invest in schools to learn new languages and customs. Speaking to past characters after the language gap will yield gifts and items, provided you helped them in some way before. Even more drastic decisions will see the game adapt just fine. I was surprised to see how quickly you can turn coat on one faction, and side with the other. The consequences of this will have characters and allies you betrayed seeking vengeance against you and your new allies. I'm quite impressed with how adaptable the game is to changing play styles, and how it even rewards you for doing so at the right moments.And what would a game with samurais be without combat? As a lone samurai in a bustling town with factions at each other's throats, you should expect to be facing the sharp end of an enemy's weapon quite often. When in combat, your character will stay locked on to single target at a time and you can utilize dodges, parrying, sweeps, kicks, and different sword stances to get the upper hand on your target. Stances work like rock-paper-scissors, in a way. Using one stances has its own strengths and weaknesses against others.
During battle you'll be able to switch weapons that have their own unique feel and weight to them, which adds variety and flavor to each battle. However, as you attack and guard with a particular weapon, the durability and effectiveness will degrade. Once the weapon breaks, it'll leave you defenseless and vulnerable to enemies. For the most part, combat worked pretty well. Fighting multiple targets can be quite cumbersome, though. Since there is no dedicated target switch button, you'll have to disengage your current target, move closer to the other, and reactivate the lock-on. And yes, it functions just as awkward as it sounds, and isn't very conducive to staying focused during battle.While Way of The Samurai 4 is primarily a single-player title, Acquire has taken cues from other single-player action-RPGs with online features, and implemented a persistent online mode. Players can upload their created characters and send them out online to other player's games. When online, your character can encounter assassins created from other players that will confront you randomly. Defeating these characters will gain all the loot and custom weapons they carried. This offers a great risk/reward aspect to these and you'll likely encounter characters who have advanced and rare weapons, giving a very small window to make your move.Fans of the series should be excited to see gets their hands on this new entry, and newcomers with a liking for action games in a sandbox setting should keep this on their radar.
The Way of the Samurai series has a cult following here in the states. The open ended gameplay and emphasis on story turned many heads back with its original release in 2002. The fourth installment of the series, coming cour... read feature
Are there any old school gamers out there that remember how badass Working Designs was? They were one of the original "Atlus-like" localization gurus that were responsible for a string of amazing Western releases, like the Lu... read
Feb 12 //
Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword (Nintendo eShop)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: February 2, 2012MSRP: $6.99
The game begins with the titular hero, the unassuming Sakura Samurai, charged with rescuing Princess Cherry Blossom from the clutches of an evil force. This task, as well as the sword for which our hero is named, is given to our hero by a frog-like mystic creature called a kappa. It's a simple beginning, but across the game's 30 areas (including three boss levels and three villages), the player requires a daunting amount of skill and precision.
The gameplay's structure is simple in design but increasingly difficult in execution. Sakura travels to different areas on the map, where he's thrust into battle with various types of foes. Each foe has a few different attack types which you can block with the shoulder buttons or dodge with the B button plus a direction on the analog nub -- left or right to dodge stabs, back for slashes. The precision of your dodges is key, as timing them properly will award you precision points that can be traded in towns for gold.
Attacking is done with A, resulting in a quick slash followed immediately sheathing the sword. As you perform blocks or as foes block your attacks, your will wear down your blade, which can be sharpened back to full strength with a whetstone. Blades can be improved at shops in towns as well, granting stronger attacks against foes. Once enough attack energy has been gathered from well placed blows, you can execute special attacks with the press of Y. After an area of the map is completed, half of a cherry blossom petal is awarded, with every two halves resulting in an increase in health.
The enemy variety is fantastic. You'll first encounter general sword-happy baddies then continue with archers, throwing-star ninjas, bomb-tossers, and more, each who mix up their attacks and may require multiple dodges before you can land a counter. While most attacks from enemies are easily telegraphed, later levels contain quicker, deadlier foes. The difficulty increase as you progress almost feels like a reward for sticking with and honing your tactics.
Graphically, the game is simple yet beautiful almost like a painting. The 3D effects are sparse, but the depth of field is used well with only the occasional visual gimmick thrown in (such as a boss making a stabbing motion towards the camera). The visual detail helps highlight enemy attacks, allowing for (initial) ease in anticipating which dodge to perform.
In towns, you'll encounter inns and "Frog Plus" shops, where you can save your game, buy items with the coins you've collected or traded your precision points for, and upgrade your sword. Items (which are mapped to the D-pad) include whetstones, rice cakes for restoring health, throwing blades, and frogs, which are used to distract foes. There are also NPCs that engage the player in mini-games with skill-advancing prizes. There's tons of personality in the towns, a welcome change from the straight-forwardness of the battle areas.
Once you've beaten the game, more gameplay modes unlock, such as 30-, 50-, and 100-thug challenges where you're tasked with a set number of foes to defeat per wave. There's also a hard mode where you have tougher enemies but only three units of health and no way to restore damage other than staying at an inn. There's even a rock garden, which takes the steps from the system's sleep mode pedometer and "dedicates" them to blooming cherry blossom trees.
If there were any negatives to be had, it would be that, initially, there is no way to save your progress until you reach the town, which doesn't occur until you've defeated the first four or five levels on the map. After that, I found myself backtracking to the town after each level was completed, but that may be just because I tend to want to constantly save my game. Also, for the first few levels, enemy attacks seem rote until the introduction of new enemies, after which then the original enemy types learn new attacks. Because of this, I was almost lulled into a false "dodge, fight, repeat" pattern until I realized that my tactics would have to change further along.
For such a little title, I wasn't expecting to pour so much time and effort into Sakura Samurai. From its simple story yet compelling tactical gameplay to its gorgeous graphics and controls, I was hooked. This is possibly one of the best downloadable titles on the eShop, one that will draw players in with its ever-increasing depth. A must have!
It's always a pleasant surprise to go into a game with little to no expectations beforehand and come out of it with a completely positive opinion. Such was the case with the recent downloadable title Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword.
The game wasn't even really on my radar, but after playing it, I realized I should be paying more attention to Nintendo's eShop library. read feature
Among the news at the recent Nintendo Direct conference -- where the PictoChat-ish app Swapnote was announced -- a new title called Nimble Sakura Warrior for the 3DS eShop was revealed. The game places you in the role of a w... read
It's been five years since America got a new Samurai Shodown game (not counting the anthology), but the wait is almost over. Samurai Shodown Sen has finally made its way over to the States from Japan, and will be releasing on... read
[sword clink noise]
Thanks to XSEED, who secured the North American publishing rights, SNK's 3D fighter Samurai Shodown Sen is coming to your Xbox 360 this year. The latest, the 11th game in the series, which some... read
After a long wait for its release, Way of the Samurai 3 will finally be in stores for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in North America on October 13. Yes, this is the same game that was released in Japan back in 2008.&nb... read
I believe that Way of the Samurai 3's official trip across the Pacific on Oct. 13 was not the best kept secret in the world, but now that Agetec and UFO Interactive have officially announced the game we can all stop celebrati... read
I hope that none of you have had the misfortune of missing out on the Samurai Shodown games, as they're some of the best 2D fighters ever produced. But if you have been avoiding the series for whatever reason, there's still h... read
You want a realistic game? It doesn't get much more realistic than Bushido Blade. Imagine a fighting game where if you take a solid hit, you're done. It wouldn't be much fun, now would it? That's where you're wrong. It's inte... read
In the modern world, art and media are created for many reasons. Sometimes, an artist yearns to tell a particular story. In other cases, the auteur has a specific idea or message he wishes to convey. But sometimes -- and cas... read
We all laughed at the Sony Protection Group and their mission to save the PlayStation 3, but here comes a boy who's console truly needed protection, and he came to its aid in a way that would make any real gamer proud - w... read
Let's face it -- samurai are pretty sweet. Not quite as sweet as ninja, but I'd never say this to a samurai's face, as (much like ninja) one wouldn't hesitate to kill me in an instant. Still, I have a tendency... read