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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Namco Bandai

 

Developer

Surge

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

January 27, 2009

 

 

- Great art and musical style

- Focus mode requires some attention to perform properly

 

 

- Anyone not familiar with the animated show will be completely lost as to what is actually going on

- Deep moveset is hamstrung by the fact you can button mash the strong attack through much of the game

- One-dimensional hack 'n' slash will become repetitive for some

 

 

Review: Prince of Persia (360)

Review: Mirror's Edge (360)

Review: Dead Rising (360)

 

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Afro Samurai

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

afro samurai          afro samurai

 

Afro Samurai is squarely aimed at fans of the animated series. I leap to that conclusion by way of the fact I had zero idea what was going on during any part of the game. Why is Ninja Ninja so annoying? What's the deal with the teddy bears? What is the No.2 headband? I suppose it doesn't really matter because the hack 'n' slash aspects of Afro Samurai are good enough that I didn't actually feel like I was missing anything by not knowing what the hell was going on.

Though one could certainly just jackhammer the strong attack to defeat most enemies, there's actually a deep set of moves at Afro's command, each with a colorful name. Either way you play it there's a lot of hacking and slashing. A lot.

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- Xbox 360 Game Reviews

- Action Game Reviews

- Games Published by Namco Bandai

Less than halfway through the game and I had unlocked an Achievement for 3,000 combos. Although I spent a great deal of time hammering on buttons, there is actually some technique involved in cutting down enemies as quickly as possible so Afro isn't overwhelmed. Besides the regular attacks, Afro can also enter a "focus" mode where his sword can be charged up and used to dismember all but the

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most powerful opponents with vertical and horizontal strikes.

And, man, is it ever bloody! Arms, legs, legs, torsos... it's all fair game and they're all separated from the whole by massive sprays of blood, especially while in "Over Focus" mode. The "Body Poker" mini-game that is hosted by Ninja Ninja is really the only part of the game that requires some deliberate thought and swing adjustment.

 

afro samurai          afro samurai
 

The cel-shaded art style of the game is such that it never gets boring to look at -- there's always some kind of change-up in location and/or enemies to maintain interest. You'll fight female warriors wearing body paint as armor or beehive-helmeted grunts against the backdrop of a giant six-armed statue or club-wielding giants on an ice-covered bridge. It's all good.

But as memorable as the style and the "attitude" of the game are, the overall impression of Afro Samurai is left wanting. This shouldn't be interpreted to mean that the game is horrible. Since the Internet Horde jumps on negative comments like they're starving monkeys fighting over a banana, the opening sentence of this paragraph might necessitate clarification. After playing it, I don't feel any pull to play some more like I did with the Otogi or Ninja Gaiden games. The action is very good, even if you can almost ignore finesse and button mash through a lot of the game, but there's not enough for me to keep coming back.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(February 17, 2009)

 

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