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July 21, 2004
Way of the Samurai 2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
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Three on one.
How many of you can remember back to the days of those choose your own adventure books whereby the end of each page or section you are faced with a dilemma and you have to choose one of several options to continue? By turning to whatever page you select the story will go a different path. This game is a totally random rehash version of your classic ‘Choose your own adventure’ book. As you can imagine, Way of the Samurai 2 has a ton of different endings based on the choices you make along the way.

Like it’s predecessor, you play a lone samurai warrior who stumbles upon a mute girl on the shores of a small town called Amahara. The mute girl kindly offers you some food but then decides to randomly run off to leave you on your own. Did I mention this game was random! Way of the Samurai 2 is one of the most random experiences of Japanese anime, music and culture I have ever had. The choices you make may seem to be the correct one’s to you but in fact often make you curse and shout “What the …” due to the severe nature of randomness that occurs while playing the game.

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Ohhh let the blood flow.
No sooner after seeing the mute girl wonder off you encounter the three stooges from the Auto Gang. Their voiceovers are done in a way to suggest that they have a total IQ less that of Forest Gump’s and you just want to get out your samurai sword and slay them right in the middle of the street. In this game you can actually do that!! One of the best things I found with Way of the Samurai is that you can pick fights with random people on the street. Try not to get in too much trouble because the magistrates are quite tough to defeat and there whole purpose is to keep the peace on the streets.

Way of the Samurai 2 takes you on a confusing journey through 10 days in and around Amahara. All up there are about 10 very small locations you can roam around in run errands and battle people to progress. The game is very short and will take less than 5 hours to complete for most gamers but due to the English translation being very poor your often put in an uncomfortable position whereby you have to guess the correct reply to dodgy questions.

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Multiple enemies.
The fighting aspect of the game play is what I liked the best, however the moves you learn and use can become a little repetitive and opposition are often slow and take a severe beating. Most of the story-based missions involve fighting people and the way the game is structured you can choose to be good, bad or downright corrupt. Other odd jobs include finding abandoned children or finding missing people and trying to convince them to return home.

There’s a huge amount of items to unlock and purchase throughout the game including swords, outfits and other random objects. However the replay ability value isn’t that high as you cannot skip the cut scenes which mean you require a lot of patience to get through more than one ending let alone ten. An unrealistic element is your ability to block pretty much anything. Six to ten enemies can surround you and they’ll only fight you one by one but if your holding down R1 (block) you become virtually invincible.

Visually, Way of the Samurai 2 lacks quite a bit. The game only runs at a terrible 30 frames per second, which is half of the original and makes the animation look very second rate and jerky. That along with dodgy camera angles, Acquire has not performed up to the moderate expectations this game had following a quiet but decent original title. The original at least ran at a constant 60fps and the overall graphics have not improved that much. Acquire needs to definitely lift their game in this department.

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Look! Even more blood.
Noriyuki Asakura is responsible for the sound that is on the whole fairy respectable but is not for everyone’s taste. Using such instruments like electric guitars, Indian sitars as well as Japanese flutes, drums, and some piano instrumentals Asakura generally sets the correct mood of the game. However the voice acting is downright appalling with the English actors making the game very sub standard. Why can’t gaming companies hire decent actors to do the voice-overs and actually put a bit of time and effort into making the translation respectable and believable.

Overall, Way of the Samurai 2 isn’t the best game in the world but it does have its moments. The ability to pick random fights and choose your own destiny (all be it a little too randomly) this game has got some original concepts. Acquire need to do a bit more work in the graphics and sound department and they need to try to make the next game have a lot more depth to make it longer and thus more enjoyable.

Review By: Allen Wager

GRAPHICSSlow frame rate and jerky animations make it quite poor.
SOUNDAwful voice-overs but fairly respectable soundtrack.
GAMEPLAY2 words … Totally random!!
VALUEShort, but many endings, swords, costumes and items to collect.
OVERALLWay of the Samurai 2 is an average title that will please only a few minorities of players who like random Japanese Samurai games. Can be bloody at times and may appeal to those who like a violent release with a sword.

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