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Way of the Samurai 4 Review


Way of the Samurai 4 was brought to the US thanks to XSEED via PSN. The series is highly regarded for the engaging gameplay and intuitive customization. I have not played any of the games in the franchise which seemed perfect. I didn’t have high expectations or an idea of what was going to happen. It was nice to fly into a game blind.

Way of the Samurai 4 is set in 1855 in a fictional port town known as Amihama. Before you start the game you are able to create your own samurai and you must ally yourself with one of three factions. The story is pretty straightforward and each faction has their own storyline, along with their own allies and enemies. I enjoy the freedom the game offers, it is refreshing to see in the setting and in the gaming market. There are not many games that offer this kind of freedom.

While many people play games for the story, 75% of a game is you playing it. The gameplay of Way of The Samurai 4 is touch and go. While the gameplay is by no means bad, it just seems unfinished and lacking the polish that would make it shine. There are many levels to the gameplay so I will break them down level by level. The first is related to the story with having 10 endings. There are cutscenes and events that will allow the player to explore that cave, or turn and walk away. The next is the customization, this customization in revered in this game to be an integral part in the gameplay, sadly, the customization is lacking in variety.

Combat revolves around killing your enemies with sword attacks (no way! Samurai game with swords and killing). However, you can be killed too, HP is set at 1k points and if the player is stationary or moving in the fight, it regenerates while getting hit or “nightcrawls”. The energy meter is what it says it is. You need it to fight and do other actions. Eating or sleeping will replenish this bar.

There are a variety of fighting style and skills the player can learn. Swords can be switched to any stance once learned. You can also assign skills to their own school of fighting style to make things easier when fighting. The push and pull mechanic from Samurai 1 and 3 have stayed and a new mode has been added to keep things fresh. Slow motion is really big right now, and Way of the Samurai 4 was not safe. In slow motion, your samurai can slash and cut super quickly, kind of like the blade mode in MGR: Revengeance. Heat mechanics were removed in favor of durability points. Every time your weapon is used, the durability drops; this makes the player visit blacksmiths more often.

There is also sword enhancement and creation. You can go to a blacksmith and enhance the attributes like attack, speed, durability. There is also the ability to repair it and appraise it. The custom sword making from Way 3 has come back and you will create the blade, hilt, and grip. Adding charms will give it unique attributes. In addition to swords and spears as weapons, pistols and muskets have been added.

There are a plethora of new additions that make Way of the Samurai 4 a larger experience. Proof of life is a system that will change the next playthrough based on the player’s actions. If a player killed a lot of townspeople in the first playthrough, there will be more guards than normal on the next playthrough. In the beginning, your samurai will not be able to understand foreigners and text will be read as ????? (this is really neat and intuitive). Night crawling is something rather funny in a twisted way. In this minigame you will be able to “romance” a NPC by sneaking into their house and knocking out the family members. Torture is when your character gets arrested. Three Kinugawa sisters will play games with your life; these can range from riding a flaming wooden horse to being tied to a water wheel.

The dojo is where you can take apprentices and defeat challengers. The reputation of your dojo depends on the amount of apprentices and their quality. You can even have the apprentices follow you and they will fight with you. Crossroads killing is a PSN only function where your player data will be uploaded and transferred to other players. They will appear was wandering samurai and upon defeat you will earn their sword.

There is a lot to do in the game, and I spent a lot of time in the dojo. The biggest downfall of Way of the Samurai 4 is the clunky combat, the next issue is the lack of motivation, and finally the last issue is the pacing. Even if you pay attention to what is going on, it is rather difficult to progress in the game when you have no idea where to go or what to do. The motivation problem is an issue that is contained with the story, while it is by no means terrible, it lacks the grip and attention grabbing action and adventure games like this need. The clunky combat is self-explanatory; it feels like something is missing.

Way of the Samurai 4 is a game people must play, only if you have the patience though. The game is very slow to start off and is not very fun until halfway through. I give Way of the Samurai 4 a 7.5/10.

1 Comment

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  1. September 15, 2012, 2:22 PM

    In Warriors Orochi, she has gained the undisputed title as the best character in the game, as all of her charge attacks (save her C5 and C6, which are non-elemental) are capable of defeating most officers with one use. Her crowd clearing ability is also one of the best, due to her C1 being extremely fast and strong enough to kill any peon and generic officers. Since she is low to the ground when she performs C1, she has no trouble with archers. Against playable officers, she usually only needs a C4 to kill one. If the enemy is even stronger, she can follow up with a C1 to finish them off.


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