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Afro Samurai – hands-on

Within seconds of picking up the pad we’d sliced a man’s head like a pineapple, heard more swearing in one minute than you’d see in an afternoon of Sunday League football and Samuel L. Jackson had turned up as jive-talking mentor, Ninja Ninja. All against the backdrop of a thumping new tune by Wu Tang Clan’s RZA. Good? Afro Samurai looks damned amazing.

Deep breath, calm down. Let’s look at this logically. It’s a by-the-book action adventure where you get to roam around various feudal Japanese villages accepting missions, defending characters against hoodlums and the like, with the ultimate aim of finding and slaying the legendary fighter, Justice. Afro Samurai is – cough – seeking Justice. All right then. It’s a fairly run-of-the-mill set-up, only as soon as we picked up the pad the game exploded in color: the cel-shaded, Okami look to the action grabs you by the throat. The animation is top draw and everything about Afro Samurai feels right. There’s a clear determination to adhere to the style and attitude of the manga by Takashi Okazaki that the game is based on.

For a visually arresting ‘comic’ game like this, Afro Samurai is massively gory. We’re not just writing this to grab your interest - the game really drips with blood. The combat system enables you to enter Focus time, which then means you can target each limb, body area, finger, foot or ear with your sword strikes. Get a clean hit and Afro will slice his enemies’ bits off. It gives a new meaning to ‘sword play’.

Not in a pre-determined, pre-animated God of War way, but in a slice-any-part-of-the-body-you-hit way. You can cut off slivers of a man’s head or take off an arm a strip at a time like you’re slicing salami. It’s a unique kind of combat system, which, married to the arresting visual style, feels incredibly fresh. Whether Afro Samurai is style over substance remains to be seen.

The swordplay looks pretty awesome and the visuals are incredibly cool, but if that’s all there really is to the game then it’ll quickly begin to bore you to tears. After all, we’ve been burnt before by games that promised gameplay to match the swish visuals but failed to deliver. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Afro Samurai could be the same. We hope we’re wrong, as an original and quirky take on swordplay is exactly what we haven’t seen lately.

Dec 19, 2008

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14 comments

  • gamer49 - January 31, 2009 11:53 p.m.

    afro samurai is number one.
  • IslanderSwagg - January 17, 2009 4:38 a.m.

    This game is gonna be great because the second season is coming soon (Afro Samurai:Resurrection). That much more of the story should be in the game
  • Makk_Mizzy - January 4, 2009 5:38 a.m.

    I GOT TO TEST THIS GAME OUT AND I PAYED IT OFF ON RESERVE AND ITS GONNA BE GREAT I LIKE THE GAMEPLAY IDC ABOUT IF THE STORYLINE IS ALTERED AND DON'T FOLLOW WHERE THE STORY LEFT OFF ITS A MUST HAVE! I LOVED THE TV SERIES AND THIS GAME IS A MUST HAVE FOR BLOOD LOVERS AND SHOGUNS!
  • GoldenMe - December 20, 2008 10:10 p.m.

    I imagine this game is going to have more gore than Gears, Gears 2, GoW, GoW 2, and GoW CoO combined! But judging from the gameplay video, I was wrong. No buy for me thank you.
  • Samael - December 20, 2008 5:02 a.m.

    If they can make the game as awesome as the show, this is a must buy.
  • Mastadisasta - January 6, 2009 10:20 p.m.

    Afro Samurai's Arch Enemy is Mullet Samurai!!
  • AMayer - January 2, 2009 4 a.m.

    Frank Tenpenny was such an ass-hole, but I loved him every bit of the game because he was so good at being an ass-hole. I love me Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Y2Ken - December 21, 2008 4:37 p.m.

    ^ I was just thinking what this man said. He was fantastic in San Andreas, one of the best pieces of character acting ever on PS2.
  • playoldgames - December 21, 2008 11:44 a.m.

    Just for the record - this isn't the first game SLJ's been in. Anyone remember a little thing called GTA San Andreas, and a character called Frank Tenpenny? Just sayin' :)
  • jimsondanet - December 21, 2008 11:44 a.m.

    even if this game does hit all the right buttons i just dont see the premise taking off
  • Gingerbread - December 20, 2008 2:25 p.m.

    this looks pretty good
  • KingofHearts - December 20, 2008 11:02 a.m.

    ...only watched tidbits of the series...thought it was cool... i'd rent this...if it's as good as it looks there could be a 'buy' in its future!
  • Nighthunter999 - December 20, 2008 5:27 a.m.

    this game seems kinda cool i did not like the show that much.
  • dahudge8 - December 20, 2008 2:12 a.m.

    FIRST! I can't wait for this game

Showing 1-14 of 14 comments

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