Way of the Samurai 4 Review
Way of the Samurai 4 released in Japan in March of last year as a PlayStation 3 exclusive. Now, Aquire’s unique franchise has come to the US as a download-only title on the PSN. Once again, players can don the kimono of a nameless samurai and alter nearly aspect of the world around them. With new additions and tweaks, can Way of the Samurai 4 draw in more than its usual crowd with its latest entry?
Let’s take a look at the HOTs and NOTs of Way of the Samurai 4.
Out of the Ordinary
Everyone should make a habit of trying a game that differentiates itself from the handful of sequels, remakes and unimaginative titles lining store shelves. Way of the Samurai 4 is one of those games that helps break up the monotony of the annual filler. Players will take on the role of a nameless samurai in the fictional port town called Amihama in the year 1855. The British Navy has just arrived in order to set up trade relations, but as you can imagine, not everyone is too happy about their presence. As it would happen, your personalized samurai has walked right into the middle of the conflict at the right time completely by coincidence. Immediately, you can choose to side with the British, aid the Disciples of Pranja in removing the unwanted foreigners, attempt to keep the two apart or simply ignore the issues in your face and do your own thing. That’s one of the most attractive aspects of this franchise. Players are given near-unrestricted freedom to do as they please in feudal Japan, whether they answer everything with their sharp blade or tongue.
To break up the pacing, mini-games are spread throughout the open world. These range from the expected to the unusual; we’re talking mini-games that make side attractions in the Yakuza series look average. Most notable are the torture and night crawling options. The former occurs when the player is arrested and taken to be tortured. You’ll have to survive various torture techniques, such as being strapped to a turning water wheel. The night crawling missions are bit out there. Under the cover of night, the nameless samurai can seduce random NPCs by sneaking into their homes and overcoming their playful resistance. Succeed in night crawling and you’ll be rewarded with random items. Looking towards more constructive choices, a foreign language school can be opened up which translates foreigners’ dialogue from question marks to actual words. Sure, gambling is present and there are your typical fetch quests, but these are the best of the bunch.
When the samurai’s wit just won’t do, the sword must be unsheathed. The quality of your weapon can be changed through attribute upgrades and other visual customization options. These weapons can even be taken to blacksmiths to be melted and used for a new sword. Firearms are now available and muskets can be found carried by British NPCs early on, but the player won’t be able to wield them from the beginning. Or, should you choose to make the battles a bit more person, you can ditch the weapons all together and show up swordsmen with your fists. Let’s not forget about the protagonist’s appearance. They can always purchase new attire, which may lead to some bizarre combinations, to break the traditional samurai dress code; that is, if you choose to do so.
High Replay Value
With all of the choices contained within the game, it’ll take much more than one playthrough to see everything. There are 10 endings to view and that’s just the tip of the replay factor. Working much like New Game+, finishing a playthrough carries over the player’s items, money and other obtained content into the new game. This means that each time you finish the game, your next run will yield more options and further show off the game’s true offerings.
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