Way of the Samurai 4 Review
Asynchronous Online System
Way of the Samurai 4 has implemented an engaging feature that should be familiar to Demon’s Souls fans. Players’ samurais are automatically uploaded if connected to the PlayStation Network. These characters become NPCs in other games. If you, too, are online, you may bump into someone else’s character, at which point they can duel. Win the battle and you’ll be awarded with the other player’s sword. New custom weapons make great trophies, reminding you of your many victories.
Way of the Samurai 4 isn’t too visually pleasing. Although it was only released last year in Japan, it looks severely outdated. Character animations are stiff and the environments look bland and muddy. Many had hoped that the fourth installment would receive a substantial upgrade in the graphics department after Way of the Samurai 3′s disappointing presentation, but that just isn’t the case. Way of the Samurai 4 looks far from a PS3 title and, instead, closely resembles games from last-gen tech.
For the most part, combat is at the core of the game. Unfortunately, fighting isn’t the most engaging activity. There are weak and strong attacks with the ability to maneuver around attacking opponents. Combat can be upgraded by learning new techniques, but even at its “best”, it fails to capture the interest of the person holding the controller. Attacks are executed slowly and enemies carry out their assault in the same fashion; even groups of enemies attack one by one, providing little challenge. Ensure you attack first and continuously, and you’ll win almost every time. Sometimes, choosing to use diplomacy to work out a problem is better just so you can avoid having to deal with the archaic battle system.
Not for Newcomers
Way of the Samurai 4 may be easier for newcomers to try out in comparison to past entries, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all that newbie-friendly. This is a franchise that requires a ton of player commitment to find the gems dug deep within the game’s core and that could take several hours (or playthroughs). Long-time fans will feel right at home playing through the game 10+ times and putting up with the title’s lacking characteristics. However, these issues are much more apparent to first-time players as they don’t have a history tied with the franchise to allow themselves to overlook the obvious shortcomings; not to mention more current titles have set their expectations high in terms of gameplay, which causes WotS 4′s components, such as combat, to feel lacking in this gaming era.
Way of the Samurai 4 is an interesting game with unmatched player input and control over the final outcome. This is a game all about customization. Customize your character; customize your weapon; customize your adventure. The ending is in your hands and will slowly reveal itself with each decisive action. However, even taking the Demon’s Souls-inspired online connectivity and high replay value into account, the game lacks polish and accessibility to those who haven’t played the franchise prior. The clunky combat and outdated graphics leave much to be desired. This is definitely one for the fans, but everyone else need not apply.[Editor's Note: Way of the Samurai 4 was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]
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