|a game by
|Namco Bandai Games
|XBox 360, Playstation 3 (2009)
|6.5/10, based on 1 review
|9.7/10 - 6 votes
|Rate this game:
|Action Adventure Games, Action Games, Hack and Slash Games, Beat 'em-Up, Samurai Games
Based on the manga and the anime series of the same name, Afro Samurai is a stylish action platformer that blends some of the best elements of 3D beat ‘em ups with character action games and delivers a serviceable game that’s sure to please fans of the character.
Unfortunately, some pesky bugs and repetitive encounters will leave those with no emotional connection to the character feeling disappointed, not because this is a bad game, but because of what it could have been.
The world of Afro Samurai revolves around two headbands: the Number One and the Number Two. Those who possess the Number One headband are considered the ultimate warriors, and can only be challenged by the owner of the Number Two headband. However, the Number Two warrior can be challenged by anyone, meaning that they live their life dealing with tons of people trying to kill them.
Afro is the current owner of the Number Two headband, and he must fight his way to the Number One warrior if he wishes to avenge his father. Most Afro Samurai levels follow a basic outline: first, players will have to deal with some basic platforming, followed by a boss battle at the end. Think of No More Heroes with more platforming involved.
Unfortunately, this formula gets stale quickly. There’s very little variety in your combat styles to keep you invested in the boss fights, let alone in the stages themselves. For a franchise that depends so much on its stylish action, the combat of the Afro Samurai game seems to be a bit lackluster, to say the least.
Straight from the Anime
Imagine if Ninja Gaiden Sigma were to become a cel-shaded game; that’s precisely what Afro Samurai looks like. The art direction here is top-notch, easily becoming the game’s strongest feature.
The gorgeous visual style elevates the combat system, featuring some intricate effects and satisfying gore mechanics. As repetitive as it may be, the pure visual impact created by the cel-shaded style will keep you immersed throughout the whole experience.
Also worth mentioning is that Afro Samurai approaches the HUD situation similarly to EA’s Dead Space; that is, there’s no HUD or other visual cues present on-screen at any given time. Instead, players will have to pay close attention to Afro’s silhouette, as it begins turning red as he takes damage.
The same thing happens with Afro’s foes: it’s all about the small visual cues for Afro Samurai, and that’s something that’s not commonly seen in this type of game. If anything, Namco Bandai Games dedication to delivering a pure, uninterrupted action experience is something to be commended.
Finally, we can’t review Afro Samurai without mentioning its outstanding sound design. From its superb voice acting to its amazing soundtrack, Afro Samurai is an acoustic delight. Some big-name actors have provided their vocal talents for this title, including Samuel L. Jackson, Kelly Hu, and Ron Perlman.
The game’s soundtrack was created by RZA, founder of the Wu-Tang Clan. The oriental-inspired hip-hop tracks blend perfectly with the game’s visual style, making the whole experience feel like a manga brought to life.
Afro Samurai is an excellent action game for the most part, with its only negatives being how quickly its novelty fades away. The lack of variety can severely affect your overall experience with the game, even though the visual style and its soundtrack are some of the best for a character action game.
- Stylish visuals and funky soundtrack
- Engaging story
- Fun boss battles
- Unresponsive controls
- Several bugs
- Repetitive combat