Soul Of The Samurai
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|6/10, based on 4 reviews
|8.7/10 - 3 votes
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|Action Adventure Games, Action Games
Soul of the Samurai comes from that familiar school of fixed camera angles and prerendered backgrounds (a la Resident Evil), but it also has light elements of a fighting game like Bushido Blade. It's almost as if the designers were tom on which direction the game should take. Those expecting the degree of freedom found in Bushido Blade will be sorely disappointed. The fundamental problem is that the game engine is far too limited for its intended scope. Imagine a hack-'n'-slash fighter with the slow, stilted controls of a survival horror adventure and you're close. And to make matters worse, there's a lot of combat. Zombie samurais and half-dead ninjas swamp you like clockwork at every turn. Unlike most survival horror games, this game doesn't give you the option to flee. It's frustrating, it adds nothing to the gameplay, and it's bad design. However, the game does have its redeeming qualities. As you progress, combat becomes more challenging and less tedious. There's a lot of timing involved (one-hit kills for example), and plenty of techniques to master. Also, the story is decent from beginning to end. The narratives of the two protagonists overlap nicely and their interaction is memorable. Unfortunately, the game is rather short. If you blow by a lot of the secret items or areas, you can probably finish this game in a day. Here's to hoping Capcom's Onimusha turns out better.
The idea and story behind SotS is solid but the execution of the game falls short of what it could be. Non-linear and sometimes tedious gameplay take up most of your time, and an unbalanced and boring fighting system just annoy you. Sure, things pick up a bit further into the game, but chances are you'll beat it within a couple of nights, so who cares? Even with two separate players/quests to start with (similar to RE2), SotS gets old rather quickly.
Add one part Resident Evil, one part Bushido Blade, and stir. It works, but not well. Primarily based on fighting, you can't leave a screen until you've vanquished all the enemies, even if you're backtracking to find health. They reappear, too. so you can't run past enemies you've already faced Control is sluggish, so it doesn't respond when you need it the most for blocking attacks from multiple enemies. Not horrible, but the fighting engine could've been much better.
This is kinda cool in a samurai/anime/sort of sci-fi way. The story line develops into something that's quite interesting, even through the script itself is a little forced. As gameplay mechanics go it's very linear and simplistic...you wander the streets, hit people very hard with a sword, talk to people and collect objects. Ho-hum. You won't be on the edge of your seat or anything, and the combat is way too simple to ever get particularly exciting.
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Bushido Blade meets Resident Evil, or Tenchu on crack? Either way, Konami's newest up and comer, tentatively titled Soul of the Samurai (and formerly titled Japan), has a lot of potential. Like Resident Evil (or Parasite Eve if you prefer the comparison), the backgrounds in Soul of the Samurai are all prerendered while the characters are fully polygonal 3D models. Set in ancient Japan, when the samurai were still in prominence, Soul of the Samurai attempts to do for the burgeoning samurai genre what Tenchu did for the ninja game.
After watching the CG introductory sequence, you're thrust into the game as a sword-wielding samurai, basically learning the controls on the fly while attempting to rendezvous with your sexy female counterpart. All the while, katana-carrying goons try to halt your progress every step of the way. From the outset, like Tenchu, you can select either Kotaro, the hunky samurai, or Rin, the waif-like chick extraordinaire with two knives. Even the Select Screen is similar (read: exactly) to Tenchu's, and while this arrangement may seem a little too close for comfort, hey, who's complaining?
Apparently Kotaro's parents died while he was only a child. Having nothing to restrain him, he returned to the countryside and met Rin. She seemed to be running from something, but Kotaro never asked what it was. He only wanted to see his old friend Yukinosuke. As he made his way back to the countryside, he encountered and killed many "yakunin." When asked why. Kotaro would simply reply that "there's something strange in their eyes."
Homicidal madman, or man on a mission? That's what you'll find out later this year when Konami releases Soul of the Samurai. Right now it's a bit of a hack-'n'-slasher, with little variety except for increasingly stubborn enemies, but if the gameplay can match up to the intriguing storyline, Konami just might have another hit on their hands.
In ancient Japan, someone...or something...is turning people into foul monsters. Enter a wandering samurai with lightning-quick swordmanship and a ninja seeking her lost brother--and you have the recipe for a finely crafted Resident-Evil-meets-Bushido-Blade action/adventure game.
Soul of the Samurai is aptly named in more ways than one. In Japan, the sword is often called a samurai s "soul," and this game certainly dishes out 3D sword-fighting in mass quantities. Plus, the element of evil magic at the core of this very compelling mystery reaches into the very souls of the two main characters.
In feet. Soul's story line has it all: good versus evil, war versus peace, revenge, family loyalty, friendships lost and found...it even has zombies! Yes, creepy creatures and the undead run amok, resulting in more slicing and dicing than at a sushi chefs' convention. In one hand-cramping sequence, you fight an entire town of bladeswinging zombies! How many? One hundred? Two hundred? Keep counting.
Soul of the Samurai is as well-crafted as a Japanese katana sword. The male or female swordfighter you choose follows their own intricate six-part story line that interweaves with the other character's during the game. They even encounter unique foes and bosses.
Samurai is more fighting than puzzle-solving, but the crisp controls come through with flying colors. The actual sword-swinging is confined to a single action button; combining that with joystick positions, however, enables you to master up to 15 offensive and defensive moves per character. Additionally, the useful inventory screen manages a formidable arsenal of weapons and power-ups. One nitpick is that you're annoyingly kicked out to the Konami logo screen whenever you meet defeat.. .which can be often.
The game's graphics and sounds also shine. Solid animation keeps the 3D fighting angles under control, and the dramatic story-sequences are nicely staged--there are imaginative. bizarre-looking creatures and bosses, too. Although there are no voices, the high-energy Japanese-style music amps your adrenaline and builds suspense at the same time.
Samurai Night Fever
With its setting in ancient Japan and its challenging swordplay. Soul of the Samurai is a unique and worthy take on Resident Evil-style game-I play. If you're a 3D action/adventure gamer who's waiting to rush headlong into Dino Crisis and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, you might do a little Soul searching first.
- Position Is Important when fighting these guards in the castle.
- Rin may use her projectiles to defeat these rake-armed ninjas.
- Sometimes power-ups are hidden where you can't see them.
- To beat the giant Muga, load up on ointment and herbs, use your speed to dodge his slow attacks, and rush In to slash him before he resets.
- You can cut two adversaries at a time if you line them up correctly.
Deft animation handles the 3D swordplay with ease. The visual effects during special moves are cool, while the boss characters and monsters are imaginative and weird-looking.
No voice-overs, but the music is an energetic mix of traditional Japanese sounds and jazzy rock beats. Overall, the audio is slick and nicely tuned to the game's story and action.
Although the actual sword-slinging is relegated to a single button press, the joystick makes positioning a nice strategic element It was also a good idea to make power-ups accessible with a single button-press during a fight.
Soul of the Samurai delivers lively action melded to a compelling story line. The combats fast, furious, and frequent with successful swordplay that depends on technique as much as fast button-pressing. Two characters with two intertwining story lines up Samurais replayability.
Soul of the Samurai,formerly called Shogun Assassin (see"Sneak Previews," February), may be a cut above other games in the 3D action genre.
Actually, the soul of this Samurai comes from Bushido Blade 2, Tenchu, and Resident Evil 2. As in those three. Samurai's compelling RPG-style story line (with plenty of character interaction) coexists with combat You play as either Kotaru, who swings the long-bladed katana, or Hyaku, a government spy who uses two ninja knives. You're out to track down missing persons and missing corpses in ancient Japan with separate-but-concurrent story lines as in RE2.
Samurai utilizes the Dual Shock analog joystick and a single action button to bust cool-looking weapons combos. As with Bushido Blade 2 and Tenchu, the single-button action places limits on the fighting, but great character graphics and excellent stylized combat animations bring the fighting to life. In Japanese, the "soul of the samurai" refers to a samurai's sword--and the gameplay in this preview version was definitely sharp.