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randombullseye avatar 8:54 AM on 05.19.2010  (server time)
Old School Games: Way of The Samurai

Choose your own adventure style books are always interesting to me. The idea that you can control the story you're reading. That's what this game is. Sort of. I can't really explain how Way of the Samurai works other than to compare it to that style of literature. Just in a video game. Except you can push L1 and pull out a sword at nearly any time.

Way of the Samurai lets you do your own thing. You can be good. You can be evil. You can just exist within the world commenting on things. It sounds more daunting than it is. It also sounds like you have more options than you actually do. What the game really is, is you wandering around talking or fighting. Depending on how you want your samurai to play on that play through.

The game is relatively short and plays more like a rouge like. You die, but if you manage to put swords away you can start with them instead of the basic crap sword. An advantage like having a better sword really helps. It also helps knowing where things are, where who is, whose who, and most importantly which areas have healing items! The only way to do this is to die playing. I've played maybe fifteen times, and every time I've died! Every single time! There's so much do to and see, every time I started over was different. Every single time! It's not unlike Majoras Mask. You relive the same events, but the variables change. What you say, how you fight, WHO you fight. It all means so much.

To exemplify this, I'll tell you about the start of the game. The game begins, unless this is your first time playing then you get a tutorial, the game begins with you walking down a road. You can go across a bridge, you can go into the mountains. If you hang for a minute or so, a guy and three friends walk across the bridge holding a woman. You can talk to them, just pull out a sword to fight them, kill them then kill the girl, or just walk away. Whatever you do, the game goes on with this.

The storyline has to do with the government and two warring gangs. I won't delve into it too deeply, but deals are being made. A conspiracy is there. You can befriend and make alliances with just about everyone. Its all in how you want to be! Choose your own adventure! I managed to piss off everyone and still finish the game. Somehow I managed not to save the princess, but still won the game. That was awesome!

At the end of playing a rank is given according to how much like a bushido samurai you are. Surprise, very rarely have I ever gotten close to being a samurai. I'm a jerk. I pull out my sword at the worst times. I've ran around fighting everyone. Often I'll get involved in talking only to decide my sword is there just waiting to pulled out. I can't resist it. I just can't! It's too much fun to be the violent samurai who kills everybody. Only once did I finish the game with any restraint, only killing half the people I saw.

One thing barely mentioned elsewhere about Way of the Samurai is that you can customize your Samurai. For starters, you have three heads and three outfits to choose from. A total six heads and eight outfits can be unlocked in the first game. The third game in the series expands this with lots of downloadable expansions to choose from, including a cardboard samurai and spartan outfit. I like when I can dress up like a goofball and the game characters never reference how stupid I look.

The game has two sequels that expand upon the original greatly. Way of the Samurai 2 & Way of the Samurai 3are both great games. And there is a spin off called Samurai Western that is particularly interesting in that, instead of a choose your adventure, its an action game about a samurai in the wild west. One thing to mention is that these games are actually an offshoot of Square's Bushido Blade. The lineage I read goes like this: Bushido Blade developers leave Square to make Kengo: Master of Bushido and its sequels. They then make an offshoot of that as Way of the Samurai. That actually wasn't hard to explain at all. I know all this, because I like Samurai games and these are all particularly fun. If you're into samurai that is!


Did you guys ever play Way of the Samurai?

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