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Afro Samurai tells the tale of Afro, voiced by Samuel L Jackson, in his quest to hunt down Justice - the man who killed his father when he was a boy, for the number one swordsman headband. The story is pretty cliched, but like its original TV incarnation, you're probably playing this game for two things - Samuel L Jackson, and the insane swordplay. The game does expand on some bits though, giving a few insights into some characters, and filling out the odd plot hole.
The game is pretty much faithful to the anime, in quite a lot of ways. The gameplay is exactly like you'd expect, with the main focus being the hack-and-slash fight sequences that made the anime so popular. It's pretty much simply button-mashing and from time to time you feel a bit in the dark about the things you're meant to do, which can get quite frustrating, but for what it's worth, the fight scenes and the the gory aftermath makes the game a hell of fun. As you would expect there's nudity and violence just about everywhere in this game, which is all well and good but from time to time the game does feel kind of basic, with some pretty basic puzzles thrown in probably to add something else to the otherwise repetitive gameplay.
The graphics are done cell-shaded, and bring back the cartoonish feel from the original series, and every character looks right. Like in the anime, as well, the soundtrack is largely hip hop beats and everything goes very well hand-in-hand, especially with some great voice acting by Samuel L Jackson as the titular hero, and the chattier Ninja Ninja (who has considerably more lines than Afro).
As good as this game was, and as entertaining, I can't help but think that there are some much better games in the genre and some parts of the story might even be lost on newbies. For that, I'll have to say that Afro Samurai is probably best played by fans.
Afro Samurai is a video game based on an anime and manga series of the same name. It is available for the PS3 and XBOX 360 and has been developed by the Namco Bandai Game Studios. Afro Samurai is a brawler game with some plat-forming elements. The game features around a person called Afro whose father was a former "Number One".
A Number One means a person who wields many powers and is akin to god. A person can become a Number One by killing the previous Number One and taking his ceremonial headband after the fight. However only a person who has the title of Number Two can challenge the Number One. Due to this, few people get the chance to duel with the Number One because the Number Two headband is constantly changing owners. Afro desires to become the Number Two and then challenge Justice, who is the current Number One.
Afro wants to get revenge upon Justice for the killing of his father. The story is good but not that impressive. Players who love fighting video games should buy this title. But it would be better to rent it first. Metacritic has given this game a score of 65% and it got a score of 6.6/10 from IGN.
If you've ever seen the Afro Samurai animated series, you'll know that its ripe for being adapted into a video game, for it is a violent, hilariously crass show with the eponymous protagonist being voiced by film star Samuel L. Jackson. Although far from perfect, there is a lot to like in this game, and even those who aren't into the show will appreciate the B-movie esque plot, which has Afro Samurai going after Justice, the man who killed his father.
The game is very simple: you plough through various levels, murdering foes with a little bit of platforming here and there, although thankfully the platforming is kept to a minimum as the camera system really isn't designed for it. My main gripe is that there's just not much to it: the combat system relies on button-bashing, without having any hidden complexity. One nice touch, though, is the Focus system, whereby through performing combo attacks, you can build up your Focus meter, which then allows you to slow time down and perform amazingly death-defying combos.
Aurally, this is a great game: Jackson in particular shines, and isn't giving in a phoned-in performance just because it's a game. Also, he is accompanied by some stellar cohorts, with Justice being voiced by Hellboy star Ron Perlman, and the gorgeous Kelly Hu playing Afro's girlfriend. Also, Futurama voice stars Phil LaMarr, John Dimaggio (Fry and Bender respectively) have a few "cameo" appearances. RZA also provides a wonderful soundtrack, and he seems to have carved out a niche in this genre now (also composing for the martial arts epic Kill Bill). Visually it also shines, and captures the feel and general aesthetic of the show very well, as well as adding extra immersion by not having a HUD.
It is, however, ultimately nothing new, and even if fun for a few hours, it's not substantial enough to be the over-the-top action fest that it wants to be.
This review is for Afro Samurai, a game for the Playstation III. The game is an action and fighting game, based on the anime series of the same name.
Afro Samurai, the character in the game you play, has to explore through multiple levels, and although there are some platforming and adventure elements in the game, most of what you have to do is fighting. And the fighting you take part in is certainly violent and graphic, as you will be expected to take the head off your opponents, and watch them bleed profusely everywhere after doing so.
Starting with the positive, the graphics and sound. The graphics in the game use cell animation, which goes back to the game's anime roots. These really do suit the game, and are atmospheric and well created. In terms of the sound and the music in this game, it's pretty much the best that I've come across in any games release. There are spoken elements from Samuel L Jackson which are superb, and the sound effects add a huge amount of atmosphere to the game.
Playability in the game though is a different factor. The game is a little too easy to play, and I write as not a very good games player, so if I find it too easy, it's probably hopelessly easy for some. The reason it's easy is that although there are lots of different power-up moves, you can get through the game just by pressing the same button time and time again, which does diminish significantly from the game's interest.
There are some challenges in the game, but they are normally ones which require some repetition of games play, such as jumping on a series of platforms. Repetition is unfortunately quite common in this game, as there are a limited number of opponents, and the games play throughout is very similar. Added to the very linear way the game is set out, as you have to conquer opponents in a certain order before being able to progress, the game does feel quite limited after a while.
There are also problems with the camera panning in the game, which is really quite awkward, and frustrating for quite a lot of the time. What this meant for me is that when you expect the camera to be on Afro Samurai, it's not, it's elsewhere and trying to bring it back is both awkward, fiddly and very distracting when you're in the middle of a fight trying to take someone's head off.
I also found the game frustrating insomuch that you can't save the game at the points where you'd like to, which is something I always dislike. It can mean replaying parts of the game again, and I'd personally at least like to choose when I save the game, rather than have that dictated to me.
The game retails for 44.99 pounds, but at the time of writing is available on Amazon for 28.75 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy of the game, these are available on sites such as eBay and Amazon for around ten to twelve pounds at the moment. The game is rated as 18+, so isn't suitable for children, and the game isn't suitable for anyone who dislikes violence and nudity, as both feature in the game.
In summary, there are a lot of pluses to this game. The graphics and sound are of a very high standard, and it's fun to explore around the game's world. However, there are playability issues which can become frustrating, and although the game is not too difficult to complete, it does somehow seem to lack the sparkle of other classic games and not be quite as satisfying. This was an expensive game when released, rather too expensive, but if you can pick up a cheaper second hand copy and you like this genre of games, it's definitely worth a look.
Takashi Okazaki's brutal anti-hero hacks and slashes for Justice on HD consoles. Afro Samurai is a man driven by revenge, stopping at nothing in his quest to slay the one who murdered his father and then claim the Number One headband as his own, with all the glory and power it bestows.