Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All

foe_en_s4_b22.jpg

Afro Samurai (Xbox 360) artwork

Afro Samurai (Xbox 360) review


"Afro Samurai is at its best when it just wants to be a simple, 3D hack 'n slash title. The game will try to convince you that it's deeper by giving you such abilities as a parry move, but it's completely useless when you're up against more than two opponents. When you're fighting five or six foes at a time, parrying is completely out of the question, and you'll simply have to hack 'n slash like crazy, stringing together combos with the light slash, heavy slash, and kick buttons. If the si..."



Afro Samurai is at its best when it just wants to be a simple, 3D hack 'n slash title. The game will try to convince you that it's deeper by giving you such abilities as a parry move, but it's completely useless when you're up against more than two opponents. When you're fighting five or six foes at a time, parrying is completely out of the question, and you'll simply have to hack 'n slash like crazy, stringing together combos with the light slash, heavy slash, and kick buttons. If the situation gets too out of hand, you can rely on your special attacks, which you activate by holding down the LT button. The screen then suddenly turns black and white, and everything slow downs, giving you the opportunity to charge up your attack and slice any nearby, unfortunate enemy into several pieces. If you're willing to wait out a little longer, though, you can unleash an even deadlier attack that can instant-kill every standard foe in the area.

However, with such a simple formula, the game can easily fall into the trap of becoming repetitive. The developers probably thought about this too, which is why Afro Samurai has a bit of variety injected into it. Though, in their attempt to mix things up, they only made things worse.

They decided to include platforming segments. Now, this is always a tricky thing to implement into a 3D game, and if not handled carefully, you can easily have a mess to deal with. Afro Samurai's platform segments are a mess you'll have to deal with. To start off, your character's jumps feel more like hops, which can be problematic, especially since the edges of platforms are half-assedly programmed. Some of them prevent you from falling off when you walk to a side, and some of them, you guessed it, don't. This puts you in the uncomfortable position of either choosing to jump early or possibly fall off when you get close. Thankfully, there isn't a single moving platform in Afro Samurai you have to suffer with. This whole ordeal would have been one hell of a nightmare if they thought to include them.

Add in the ability to run on walls... and you have something sloppy. The bad thing about this is that you can't run on every wall in this game, so, again, you're stuck having to guess how to reach the next platform; in almost every platforming situation that involves a possible death, you'll have a 50/50 chance of getting it right the first time. Now, if a certain segment involves running on the side of a wall, get ready to struggle with a connection. The walls in these moments are sensitive bastards, letting you fall to your death if you don't jump on them juuuuuuuuuuust right. It's a good thing Afro Samurai is pretty laid back when it comes to its checkpoint system: every time you die, you normally respawn close to your death. I can't even fathom the frustration this game would've been like with checkpoints far apart from one another.

Another issue I found irritating is how unclear the game becomes when you're figuring out what to do next. The best example is an infamous moment known to everyone that has played Afro Samurai, which occurs at the start of the fifth chapter: the rope incident. Samuel L. Jackson, the main voice talent of the game, simply tells you to cut the rope. When I took a stab at it... I took a stab at it for 20 minutes, while Samuel L. Jackson continued to tell me to cut it every ten seconds. I never thought in my life that I would dream of wanting to ripe his vocal cords out, because his voice was pissing me off so much. Truly an absurd video game moment I wasn't expecting... Eventually, I caved in and decided to seek out some advice on this particular moment. Turns out I had to cut the rope in a specific manner, using a specific move, at a specific angle. Of course, the developers obviously thought I could figure all that out with the simple phrase they gave me.

I should also mention that Afro Samurai can get glitchy, as I've run into instances where I was stuck in one place, due to a certain element disappearing (like an enemy) or something that's been triggered before it was supposed to (a lever being pulled). However, they weren't game-breaking, and thanks again to the lax checkpoint system, I was able to repeat the process quickly, with the problem not being present anymore. I know I'm just repeating what I've said before, but, it scares me to imagine how bad this game could have turned out if it weren't for the fun hack 'n slash segments and its merciful stance on dying. I commend the developers for attempting to spice up the gameplay, but considering how the finished product turned out, they should have just stuck with the swordplay, trying to improve on that, instead.

Rating: 5/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (August 15, 2009)

PickHut has this weird fondness for the Sega Saturn. Even though he's aware that most of the game's are either decent or terrible, he still wants to play them.

More Reviews by pickhut
PowerSlave (Saturn) artwork
PowerSlave (Saturn)

Into the abyss I'll fall...
Sky Target (Saturn) artwork
Sky Target (Saturn)

After Burner's really, really, really... really distant cousin.
Double Dragon (Game Boy) artwork
Double Dragon (Game Boy)

How many punches to the gut does it take to get to the center of a decent Double Dragon 1 game?

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Afro Samurai review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
fleinn posted August 16, 2009:

:) a little light on the entire "The RZA is a genius", "the way the cinematics blend with gameplay is mostly effective", and "the pacing is perfect" stuff.

But it's interesting to read the impressions of someone who didn't like the platform elements. I.. don't know, though... the complaint I have is that it's so obviously scripted. There's not a single alternative path anywhere in sight. The only time there was one (Okiku's story), I just ended up going the wrong way..

Another thing.. the rope. Come on - you have one focus move, where you can aim the angle of the cut. :D

"...willing to wait out a little longer, though, you can unleash an even deadlier attack that can instant-kill everyone in the area.

However, with such a simple formula, the game can easily fall into the trap of becoming repetitive."

I'm extremely envious of how you cut the sentences down and get to the point. The narrative that runs between the paragraphs as well - this is very good, and helps the reading flow.

But about the game - there are a lot of things you can do between the combos and the overfocus. The bigger enemies really should be defeated by a timed block and an aimed focus- cut, for example.
board icon
pickhut posted August 16, 2009:

Well, I couldn't have much fault with how the game was set up, because I felt from the get-go that they intended to make the game pretty linear, mostly to stick with its simple, arcadey, hack and slash roots.

"Another thing.. the rope. Come on - you have one focus move, where you can aim the angle of the cut. :D"

But here's the thing: it's how the game was setting up previous moments the didn't help this situation. Every object that sparkled that came before only asked that the player walk up and hit it, no further explanation required. Because of this, it put the gamer into the mindframe that these types of situations are simple and didn't need any thought put into them. So when it came time to cut the rope, which also sparkled, it ended up misleading the player by just telling us to just "Cut the ropes." without any type of hint or explanation on how to cut it. Also, there was never any other situation before that required you to cut an object (sans people) in half using the Focus move, leaving the player clueless as to what exactly to do here. The developers really dropped the ball on this one part.

As for simplifying the explanation of the Focus and Over Focus moves, I didn't feel it was necessary to go in-depth about how the game/developers/manual explained these moves, because at the end of the day, they're just the same type of special moves seen and used in every video game. Also, I felt it would've just drag the opening paragraph, possibly splitting it into two paragraphs, so I just stripped away all the fancy names and over-explanations, and just went for the most basic way of talking about them.

As for the issue of attacking larger enemies, I never had much of a problem with them. I mostly attacked them with kicks or dash attacks, and used the Focus attacks from time to time. The only time I could think of about being extremely careful in combat was towards the end of the game on the hard difficulty, where I was forced to fight a gauntlet of enemies without any checkpoint between the brief breaks in groups.

Thanks for the comments, though! Appreciated the feedback.
board icon
honestgamer posted August 16, 2009:

I spent a minute or two trying to figure out how to hack that rope, for sure. I think it was just after the moment where the game takes the time to teach you to properly use focus moves--which is an argument in the developer's defense--but I also don't remember there being any prompts that ropes like this one could now require new techniques to sever (which is of course an argument against the developer).

Anyway, I mostly agree with every point this review made but I would have scored the game higher because while the same things did bother me on occasion, it was never to the same extent. Also, I didn't find that there was any one move that insta-killed bosses or even huge throngs of enemies, and certainly not to a point that would've damaged the game.
board icon
fleinn posted August 16, 2009:

As for simplifying the explanation of the Focus and Over Focus moves, I didn't feel it was necessary to go in-depth about how the game/developers/manual explained these moves, because at the end of the day, they're just the same type of special moves seen and used in every video game. Also, I felt it would've just drag the opening paragraph, possibly splitting it into two paragraphs, so I just stripped away all the fancy names and over-explanations, and just went for the most basic way of talking about them.

That's a good point. I wonder about that sometimes. Whether to draw out something out of the basic moves, or avoid the entire.. hobby- review theme :D, and just announce the what type of game it is. hmm..
board icon
pickhut posted August 16, 2009:

Also, I didn't find that there was any one move that insta-killed bosses or even huge throngs of enemies

You've never used Over Focus in an area filled with people? Also, I never mentioned that it can be done on bosses, but I guess I could edit that section to make it a bit clearer.
board icon
honestgamer posted August 17, 2009:

Your review made it sound like you just press a button to instantly wipe out a bunch of enemies and use that technique to bully your way through the game without much effort (with the last bit about no effort being implied when you neglected to suggest otherwise). That's really not the case. The system is designed so that you have to beat a lot of guys the "normal" way--artfully works better, of course--before you can ever use your powered focus moves. And using them doesn't insta-kill bosses, even though it's generally a vital part of defeating them. I'm not saying you don't already know this, or that you were trying to mislead anyone, but I think the review will produce a misimpression on that front for people who haven't had the benefit of actually playing the game.

Anyway, I'm not trying to attack your review, which I felt was well-written in most respects. I'm just talking about that point.
board icon
pickhut posted August 17, 2009:

I guess it really depends on the player then, because to me, having to charge up the Over Focus attack by attacking enemies didn't come off as a challenge at all, hence why I wrote it the way I did with phrases like "If you're willing to wait out a little longer". To me, it was more of a patience thing than anything else: the urge to use the normal Focus attacks on the fly, or wait it out a little longer for the Over Focus attack.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Advertise | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Afro Samurai is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Afro Samurai, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.