Review: Afro Samurai

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Anime has began to rise in the American culture with television shows, magazines, and even video games. There have been many games to represent the anime feel that many of us love. Namco Bandai’s third-person action game, Afro Samurai, is another one of the many games to follow the steps of the anime culture.

As a child, Afro sees his father (a skilled swordsman) killed in a fight for the No. 1 headband, which symbolizes the most skilled and badass fighter. This is where his journey begins. He begins his adventure to find the No. 2 headband to get back revenge for his father. While playing Afro Samurai, you can tell that the title was greatly influenced by the TV mini-series. The Afro Samurai mini-series consists of five episodes that directly relates to the game is almost every way possible. The story is not anything to brag about, but it is not something to underestimate as it is unique and provides an experience like no other.

The game play is solid and is quite addicting at first, but it seems to disintegrate as you play through the game. The sword fighting and combat is something that you can catch onto quickly as well as master, but it seems to get very repetitive as the game goes on. You gain experience as you progress through the game which adds additional moves and power-ups, like focus strength and extra health, but you still find yourself mashing the same two buttons over and over again which really takes away from the experience.

When it comes to the visuals, the game looks incredible. It feels like you’re playing through a live anime show or comic. There are also cool elements implemented into this game. For example, when you’re playing as Afro and you start to take a lot of hits from the enemies, you will begin to notice blood bleeding through your shirt and pants. Same holds true when you are showing your swordsman skill on your enemies.

Afro Samurai also has an awesome soundtrack by The RZA that fits in perfectly with the game play. The voice acting is also very well done by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson who also does voice acting for the TV mini-series. Whenever you get into a fight sequence, a track begins to play that really gets you into the mood of being a badass samurai. Although the soundtrack seems to be fit well with the title, the sound effects when it comes to fighting your opponents is not near as strong. You could be in a fight sequence and have the nice music in the background but there will be no sound effects coming from the enemies that you are fighting. The sound seems to be a mix up because the game has an amazing sound track as well as nicely done voice acting, but when it comes to the sound effects, it falls short.

Afro Samurai lacks any form of online game play which I feel is understandable because I could not imagine having any form of online gaming for this title that would feel right. It is one of those games that you just play to enjoy the single player experience. Playing the PS3 version, this title also lacks trophy support which is very surprising to me because this game launched late January. Most of the games that have released on the PS3 this year have trophy support which is becoming the standard.

Although this game seems to get too repetitive and the story line can be confusing at certain times, the game is incredible and anyone who is interested in anime or comics should without a doubt check this title out.

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