September 18, 2002
Way of the Samurai - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price
11/10/2002EidosAcquire1-2$109.95

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The game looks better then the pics.
When it comes to fighting games one genre that has largely overlooked by the public is sword fighting. Given the strength of Japanese developers it's surprising that there aren't more sword fighting games available, although in the last couple of years the number has been increasing. By far the biggest success outside Japan has been Bushido Blade which was a respectable game on the PSOne and the Tenchu series by Acquire - who are developing this game. With the power of the Playstation 2 behind it Way of the Samurai looks quite a bit better, but does it play as well? Time will tell.

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Learn new moves as you progress.
Way of the Samurai is set in the year 1878. The collapse of the Tokugawa Shogun and the rise of the Meiji Restoration Era has brought an end to the Age of Samurai. For centuries, Japan has remained untouched and separate from other cultures. But now Westerners have finally arrived on the island nation, rocking a culture that has developed in seclusion over hundreds of years. 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.

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Expect plenty of blood to be spilled.
In the game, the player takes on the role of a wandering samurai who in drawn into a conflict between the Kurofu family and the Akadama Clan over an iron foundry. As the player meets the both sides in the dispute, the player will begin to make the choices that will shape the outcome of the conflict. Deception and betrayal are tools at the player's disposal, but ultimately combat will be the final deciding factor.

Featuring a new and dynamic combat system, sword-based combat is at the heart of Way of the Samurai. As the adventure begins, the player has his own sword and basic knowledge of its use in battle. As he moves through the game, the player becomes more adept at using his sword and learns new attacks. The player also has the ability to pick up dozens of different swords, each representing a different fighting style. With attacks specific to each sword, it requires a true samurai to master all the swords and their individual attacks. Additionally, sword combat is not simply a matter of hacking and slashing. Timing, blocking and balance all play equally important roles.

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Taking on several enemies.
The developers of Way of the Samurai are promising multiple paths during the game with each decision resulting in different outcomes. The game also features a whopping 51 different swords and 298 unique fighting stances and attacks. To top it all off Acquire, the developers, are promising an unlockable single player and two-player fighting mode. This could provide a lot of replay value and at the very least a couple of hours of hack and slashing.

With the developers of the impressive Tenchu games working on this title we can expect plenty of action, and a solid gameplay experience. The game has sold well over 250,000 units in Japan, which is a solid figure for a game of this type. Fortunately Eidos have picked up the rights to publish this game in Europe that should see a release in mid October 2002. Keep an eye out for it.