Review: Afro Samurai

IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL – IT’S JUST REVENGE

Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Compatability (PS3): 668KB Mininum Space | HD 720p
Compatability (Xbox 360): 100KB Mininum Space | HDTV 480p / 720p / 1080i
Rating: 7.6

It’s been six or seven months since Afro Samurai’s release and I’ve only managed to get my grubby paws on it a few days ago. My expectations certainly weren’t sky high, but I was pleasantly surprised from the moment I started playing till the very last battle. Although the story is a bit on the short side, it’s one of those games that gave you the gaming experience which you will carry with you for a considerably long time. Unfortunately the game is accompanied by buckets full of minor niggles, but none of them are big enough to ruin the enjoyment you’ll get out of the game.

Let’s start off with the story. Afro Samurai, owner of the #2 headband, is looking to get a gruesome revenge at the owner of the #1 headband, which was originally owned by Afro’s father. In doing so, Afro will ultimately gain possession of the #1 headband if he succeeds in defeating him. During this hunt, you will encounter numerous other bosses which are all after Afro’s number #2 headband. Your companion throughout the adventure is voiced by none other than Samuel L. Jackson, who does a fantastic job of adding a humoristic side to the story and giving you some helpful tips whenever you are stuck on a difficult stage. Overall the story is undeniably a great success and one which you should remember for a very long time after finishing it.

Anime at its best.

The game’s graphics should satisfy any anime fan tremendously. The character models are nothing short of spectacular. Afro looks very detailed and so do all of the bosses. Blood splatting left, right and center when you dismember your enemy’s body parts with Afro’s razor sharp sword are by far the most impressive part of the game’s graphics. Never before have I seen blood looking so beautiful. Your surroundings, on the other hand, are not as impressive as you’d expect. The biggest gripe about the graphics are probably the enemies that disappear after about 10 seconds after they get killed, it just feels so “last-gen”.

The gameplay in Afro Samurai is incredible at times, but can be put off by some awkward camera angles and small bugs, but these small niggles are overshadowed by some shear astonishing combat! Slicing up your enemies into itty bitty pieces feels so satisfying. You can pull off some insanely good looking moves if you know exactly what you’re doing. The best thing about the combat is that Afro can slow down everything and either slice up enemies with brute force or avoid attacks and bullets by jumping away from them, all in slow motion (matrix style). The game has a few platforming sections after getting out of the heat of a battle, thank goodness they come and go though, because they are simply dreadful. As the game progresses, you’ll face some really funny looking enemies – they vary from enemies with teddy-bear heads to alien bodies to even hot naked chicks! The closer you get to the owner of the #1 headband, the tougher the enemies become. Be warned though, the word “tough” is a complete understatement. The difficulty of this game is sick! Which is probably a good thing, because being a Samurai shouldn’t be easy now should it?

The surroundings aren't that cool.

The sound is the one part of the game which I cannot fault. The voice acting is top notch and the music that plays during a battle with hoards of enemies sets the mood perfectly. There isn’t really much else to mention about the sound, what’s there fits the game like a glove.

Overall, I loved Afro Samurai for what it was – a short adventure which will be remembered for a very long time. If you’re into anime, you need to play this game, period. But even if you’re not an anime nut, like me, you’re bound to find something about Afro Samurai that you’ll enjoy. Afro Samurai is a class game and shouldn’t be overlooked because of some mediocre reviews or the short length of the story (clocked around 7 hours). Yes, it doesn’t come without an annoyingly large amount of problems, but it certainly doesn’t ruin any bit of an exceptional gaming experience.

Reviewed by predatorx9 – September 15, 2009

Graphics
Character models are among the best of all anime based game. However, the dull and uninspiring environments holds it back from achieving greatness.
 
Sound
An almost flawless effort. Samuel L. Jackson delivers an undeniably great performance and the music during combat feels epic.
 
Fun
The difficulty level can feel a little too over the top, especially during later boss battles, but the core combat is till good solid fun, although somewhat repetitive after a while.
 
Final Score

 

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