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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Namco Bandai

 

Developer

Surge

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

January 27, 2009

 

 

- Looks, sounds, and feels like the series

- Excellent voice acting from the cast

- Fast paced gameplay

 

 

- Uncensored language and copious blood may turn off the overly sensitive

- Doesn't break any new ground

 

 

Review: Afro Samurai (PS3)

Review: X Blades (PS3)

Review: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3)

 

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Afro Samurai

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

afro samurai          afro samurai

 

What is good in life?  For gamers, fast paced samurai action games.  What is better than that?  Samurai themed anime.  Better than that?  Anime styled samurai action games.  Even better than that?  Anime styled samurai action games starring Samuel L. Jackson in full badass mode!  Afro Samurai takes Takashi Okazaki's hip-hop tinged ronin and puts him in the hands of players everywhere to wear the Number Two headband and walk the bloody road of revenge.  The result is a solid beat'em up which doesn't just ape the Spike anime series.

 

Afro Samurai revels in its manga and anime roots, using its graphics engine to create a comic book feel which is authentic to the series and gorgeous in its own right.  Character models move smoothly and are dismembered in all manner of wonderfully inventive ways.  The biggest special effect in the game is blood, as you might imagine, and the game isn't shy about showing lots of the stuff.  Other

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effects like smoke and fire are equally well done but don't get as much “face time” for the player to appreciate.

 

The sound and music of Afro Samurai have as much attention to detail as the graphics.  While The RZA (from Wu Tang Clan and the artist who scored the series) is listed as music supervisor, the beats certainly seem to have his particular style.  It's

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not all hip-hop, however, and more traditional Japanese music pops up here and there to make the same sort of musical counterpoint found in the series.  Sound effects are clean and well done.  The big draw, however, is the voice work from the series.  Samuel L. Jackson, Kelly Hu, and Ron Perlman reprise their roles from the series and deliver the goods for the player, not simply rehashing their lines but recreating their characters in a different medium with the same great results.  Secondary characters from the series also appear and are just as authentic in the game as they were on the small screen.  It should be pointed out that the game's  Mature rating derives in no small part from the decidedly salty language, so those with delicate ears or who didn't enjoy Jackson's turn in Pulp Fiction might be turned off.

 

afro samurai          afro samurai

 

It looks good, it sounds good, and it is no stretch to say that Afro Samurai plays good.  To be fair, the game is not breaking any sort of new ground in terms of basic gameplay.  Four buttons and the analog sticks make for easy and accessible controls for moving through the environment and doing all manner of hack and slash against waves of enemies.  One nice little tweak is a lack of HUD or gauges that tell the player the current status of the character or the enemy.  The only indicator is how much blood is covering the character's body, and that's about as simple as any player could ask for.

 

Gamers looking for a transcendent gaming experience most likely are not going to find it here.  But for fans of anime, samurai movies, Samuel L. Jackson, and animated samurai movies starring Samuel L. Jackson, Afro Samurai is a literally bloody good game.

 

- Axel Cushing

(April 6, 2009)

 

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