"The year is 1878. The collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate has brought an end to the Age of Samurai. Born to a time that no longer needs or welcomes them, these samurai are a far cry from the heroes and legends that preceded them. This is a story of the Way of the Samurai in their final days. I am Kenji, a nameless Samurai to most whom has come to the Rokkotsu Pass on my way to Tokyo. Two factions vie for power in this area. Only I can decide the outcome of this conflict. I will use my combat skil..."
The year is 1878. The collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate has brought an end to the Age of Samurai. Born to a time that no longer needs or welcomes them, these samurai are a far cry from the heroes and legends that preceded them. This is a story of the Way of the Samurai in their final days. I am Kenji, a nameless Samurai to most whom has come to the Rokkotsu Pass on my way to Tokyo. Two factions vie for power in this area. Only I can decide the outcome of this conflict. I will use my combat skills, as well as deception and betrayal to switch alliances and decide the fate of this pass. This is my story, and how I will save the people from more than they know.
All I have to say is that this is probably the best game that no one is playing this year. Like a mix between Bushido Blade and Tenchu, this is a game Iíve been waiting for, for quite some time. If youíve ever wanted to be a samurai and test your skills against up to 8 opponents at once, this is the game for you. Right away this game is destined to be a classic. From the beginning you get to chose your characters name, a head (there are 3 from the beginning), a body style/clothing (also 3 from the beginning), and a sword. You start off at a bridge where a woman is being assaulted by a group of men. You can help, join them, sit and watch, or walk right by them. This game is non-linear and allows for many different paths to take. The best part is, whatever you do decides what happens later in the game! At the start your limited to one sword, but there are over 40 in the game, some of which are extremely hard to find. Along with this there is over 200 different moves with these weapons, some of which are extremely enjoyable to watch. Like where you sweep the enemies legs from underneath him and then deliver a fatal stab through their body! The truly great combat system allows for you to make virtually anything possible, like making an enemy off balance and them delivering a blow to their side or rear. Replay value is very high in this title, as there are 7 different endings depending on your actions throughout the game. Not only that but there are at least 37 things to unlock (like different heads for you character, bodies, swords, vs. mode, characters for the vs. mode, secret characters, and helpful tutorials). Every time you beat the game you get one of these, so you have to play about 37 times to get everything! Average time to beat the game is only about 2 hours, but youíll have fun with every minute.
Graphics- the graphics in this game are of average fair. Nothing really spectacular here, nothing horrible either. The costumes and scenery are very well done and make you feel as if you really are in Japan at the time. Blood pours out of people like fountains, a little overdone but fun none the less. The only complaint I have is with the fogging. Like lots of PC games, WotS limits your sight to only the nearby surroundings; the rest is veiled in fog. The environments are quite well put together though as you fight at a stream, a railroad, the top of a foundry tower, and even a ruined temple.
Sound- the sound of clashing swords and blood being spilled will be your music for this adventure. Along with some greatly composed Japanese tribal clan music which quietly plays in the background and makes the experience ever more enjoyable. Sound FX were done fairly well in this game, swords clashing together sound as if it were real. And the sound of your blade biting into your enemiesí flesh will enjoy you no doubt. There is very little spoken dialogue in the game, and what is done isnít very good. Probably the only thing not done very well with the game.
Control/Gameplay- Control layout is damn near perfect with this game. L1 draws your blade, R1 blocks with said blade, and triangle and square are your attack buttons. Movement with the analog pad is erratic at best; your character and the camera angles donít seem to mix well in certain areas. Also, enemy lock-on sucks. Pretty much you randomly attack people, whoever you hit is locked until they are dead or you hit someone else. A few clipping errors and AI scripting plague the game, like where your friends accidentally strike you. Other than those small details everything works out fine. Attacking is quick and easy, if you mess around with different button combinations and movements you might discover some new moves for your weapon. Like stated before the game is non-linear, meaning you can do whatever you want and the game will progress according to what you do not a script. You have the choice of joining one of 2 clans for domination of the pass, pick either one, blood will be spilt whatever side your on. The plot thickens later on in the story, but Iíll let you play it to find out what is happening underneath the surface of the Pass.
Overall- In my opinion, everyone that is into Samurai games should at least play this once. Itís at least worth a rental. With some many character options, endings, and unlockable secrets, the game is definitely something that will keep you intrigued for some time. I didnít even mention the awesome secret characters and weapons you can find; Iíll leave that for you to find. Take up your Katanas Fellow Samurai, the Fate of Rokkotsu Pass in your hands!
Community review by johnnythm (July 12, 2002)
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