Samurai Western Review

Developer: Spike Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: June 7, 2005 Also On: None

Atlus USA has released many a game that likely would have never reached American shores. Samurai Western, developed by Spike, is one of them. Mixing the Old West with samurai sword fights isn’t something we’re all that familiar with. Can you picture it? A cunning killer, wielding a sword in his right arm, slicing legions of armed foes with blood splattering all over the ground. That’s Samurai Western.

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I got this review copy for Samurai Western in April. I’d just finished playing God of War, the finest piece of hack’n’slash that’s known to man. Samurai Western is God of War without the dozens of upgrades, the variety of enemies, and of course, a Greek mythology storyline. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot to be desired in the gameplay department.

Here’s where Samurai goes right. Okay, the storyline is a bit awkward. A samurai, by the name of Gojiro Kiryu, is seeking revenge for misfortunes in Japan. He embarks on a manhunt, passing paths with Goldberg, a French-speaking fatty. By now I realize, we’re not playing this game for the story.

Samurai Western’s premise is the use of fast reflexes to kill hordes of enemies. Its uniqueness comes from your sprinter of a samurai. Dodge bullets and deflect them. Run, slash, dodge, slash, kill, repeat. That’s about as deep as the game gets. If it weren’t for upgrades to change the game’s feel, or options to change the dynamics, Samurai Western would get stale mighty fast.

It’s a good thing that, for the most part, you’ll repeat this procession of endless killing in environments that are diverse. In a desolate town out west, you’ll start in the dusty streets, followed quickly by a saloon and so forth. The setting was all well done, but the game is linear, and fogging is an issue at times throughout. The camera may frustrate you as well.

Samurai Western comes out at a bad time. It launches the same day as San Andreas for the Xbox, Medal of Honor: European Assault, and comes shortly after the release of what will probably be the Game of the Year, God of War. The East-meets-West feel of the game is what makes it a charming hack’n’slash action game. Other than that, it’s about as strictly hack’n’slash as they come. Definitely give this one a rent, but a buy should be out of the question.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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