Summary: Way of the Samurai 4 is a weird game. This shouldn't surprise, as the whole franchise has rightly earned its reputation for being weird, quirky, and all manner of labels used to identify Japanese games. That said, like its predecessors, Way of the Samurai 4 offers an experience that is quite unlike almost anything else on the market, one unreplicated since the PS2 era except by other Way of the Samurai games.
Conclusion: Overall, Way of the Samurai 4 is a mixed bag. On one hand you have an interesting setting that sets up the story in a meaningful way. The open-world concept really works for this title and there are tons of ways to customize your look, skill-sets, and weapons. The ability to move freely and experience the story at your own pace works very well.
Summary: “I’ll get paid for killing, and this town is full of people who deserve to die.” That was Toshiro Mifune in the superb Kurosawa classic ‘Yojimbo’, and it’s words that echoed throughout my playthrough of Way of the Samurai 4. Being somewhat unfamiliar with the Way of the Samurai series I wasn’t sure what tone the game was going to take. It started off promisingly by setting the story in a period of time when Japan had reluctantly opened its borders to foreign trade.
Excerpt: The idea of a Saints Row: The Third -esque samurai game is quite intriguing. When I first witnessed Way of the Samurai 4 , that’s what I thought the game was – an over-the-top open world romp where you could mess around and just have a blast. After actually playing the game, I can certainly attest to the fact that it’s a crazy action-adventure experience with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Is it as effective as the Saints Row -inspired action-fest I envisioned?
Excerpt: I didn’t like Way of the Samurai 3 . It sounded promising, as it was an open-world PS3 game allowing players to create a custom samurai and follow one of multiple storylines throughout Japan. It just didn’t call to me, however, and I spent more time getting lost and wondering what to do next than actually doing anything. This made me hesitant to experience Way of the Samurai 4 , but after playing I’m glad that I gave the follow up a chance.
Pros: More focused than other entries in the series, have a journal with ideas of what events should be happening next and hints of where to go, lots of main and side quests, story changes depending on actions, lots of clothing options, lots of attack options, can take part in day-to-day tasks like errands and fishing, can “romance” some men and women complete with “nightcrawling” mini-game and it has a great translation. There are also 10 different endings.
Cons: No English voice acting, wish it were easier to find target locations – perhaps with an onscreen arrow, it’s easy to forget to pick up items during a battle and it’s easy to miss story events. The main story is really short. I didn’t really feel like I connected to or cared about any of the characters.
Conclusion: Way of the Samurai 4 is plain simple fun, but it is still fun! The game is challenging enough to keep you on your toes and the story mechanics have been great since the beginning of the franchise and keeps you coming back for more to see how differently it can play out. The new features add enough to the game to keep it interesting and it makes me hope that this series will continue so I can see what else they plan on adding.
Summary: The arrival of European sailors on Japanese shores ushered in a strange and turbulent period in Japanese history. The clash of cultures gave rise to radical xenophobes, scheming magistrates, and unscrupulous traders, all of whom you have the chance to ally yourself with in Way of the Samurai 4. You can also wear a tuxedo jacket and no pants, brandish a giant fish in combat, and be pursued through the forest by a dozen angry sumo wrestlers.
Pros: Abundant silliness, both scripted and player-generated, Multiple storylines reward replay
Cons: Klutzy combat, Lots of menu navigation and loading screens, Some things are never explained properly
Excerpt: Way of the Samurai 4 is sequel that can succinctly be described as: "What you see is what you get." If you enjoyed developer Acquire's niche approach to serpentine, multi-threaded plotlines in past installments, there's a good chance that you'll be happy with the expansions in this sequel. If you're thinking about dipping your toe in the water, well, there are quite a few things to take into consideration.
Pros: Unapologetically cheesy characters, Funky character customization, PSN-integrated character hunts
Cons: Bland, uninspired swordplay, Lack of tutorials and explanation, Shallow side activities