Genji Dawn of the Samurai

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a game by SCEA
Platform: Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 9.2/10 - 5 votes
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See also: Samurai Games, Hack and Slash Games
Genji Dawn of the Samurai
Genji Dawn of the Samurai
Genji Dawn of the Samurai

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai is a PlayStation 2 title released in 2005, it is a short game that delights and entertains, while also boasting beautifully designed and detailed environments, and an immersive soundtrack making it a hidden gem from the PlayStation 2 generation. It has obviously been influenced by older games surrounding Japanese cultures like Ninja Gaiden, Onimusha, and Soul of the Samurai. And it showcases the evolution from those titles while helping to establish the foundations of hack-and-slash, combat-driven, and unique mechanics that are present in popular games like Devil May Cry, Nioh, and Persona 5 Strikers.

A Fight for Legacy

Genji: Dawn of the Samurai tells the story of Japan after the battle of Heiji where the Genji clan fought the Heishi clan. Generals with godlike powers fought for the Heishi and eventually defeated the Genji, leaving Japan under their cruel rule. You play as Minamoto Yoshitsune, and join the battle against the Heishi, in an attempt to avenge your father but also free Kyoto of its chains.

Hacking and Slashing

Fights happen in a linear fashion, which means you walk through the levels and face waves of enemies in each location. Combat is very straight-forward; you have a normal attack, and a special attack, you can block most attacks except for specific heavy ones which must be dodged. Your attacks build up a separate “meter” that allows you to trigger the “Kamui”, which is a skill that slows downtime, and lets you execute (most) enemies in one swift strike. How empowered you feel during this execution mechanic is one of the things that make the game so entertaining. Finally, while combat gets pretty repetitive due to its simplicity, boss fights are challenging and fun, saving the overall gameplay from feeling boring.

Swiftness & Strength

There are two additional characters that add to the combat mix of Genji: Minamoto Yoshitsune and Musashibo Benkei. The former plays as your traditional samurai, fast and nimble, while the latter resembles more of a bruiser/strength character. Players can swap between characters, but there are some sequences where a specific character will be required for progression.

Becoming the Samurai

There are some RPG elements such as leveling up, inventory, collecting items (by defeating bosses), and forging weapons. Although those options are limited, they add extra content and customization to the game. The system for experience gain may be familiar to hack-and-slash players, it attributes different EXP depending on how long your combo is and how many kills you’ve gotten. To improve your status (Health, Attack, or Defense) you must find, and use three Essences of Amahagane, finding them is not very hard but requires a keen eye and exploration from the player.

A beautiful game for the PlayStation 2, Genji: Dawn of the Samurai, like most of its hack-and-slash counterparts, tells a simple (yet convincing) story. While the game invites players to replay the story on the “Difficult Mode”, or “Continue Mode” (New Game +), combat becomes repetitive, and exploration is limited so the game doesn't feel replayable enough to justify playing it again. I recommend playing with the original voice-acting with English subtitles instead of the dubbed English version, not only for immersion but for quality purposes.


Overall, this is the laid-back, and entertaining type of game you should play when you just want to hit some stuff and have fun. If you are a fan of similar titles, you should give the game a try, you will probably enjoy playing this game at least once.


  • Beautifully designed
  • Kamui mechanic is very fun
  • Straight-forward story
  • Boss Fights


  • Repetitive Combat
  • Low Replayability
  • English voice-acting clunky at times

Download Genji Dawn of the Samurai

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

If you've watched movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and House of the Flying Daggers, then the style and story of the game should be familiar to you. Set in ancient Japan during the time of the samurai, powerful jewels are found that give amazing powers (flying samurais, lightening attacks, ect) to those who can use them. As you might imagine, a group of rouge samurais use these jewels to take over all of Japan, leaving only small rebel groups to oppose them. The story unfolds from there as you lead one of these rebel groups in an effort to overthrow the Heishi clan, now ruling with an iron fist.

There are many things to like about Genji: Dawn of the Samurai but it has a few major drawbacks. First, the good. If you like samurai movies similar to the ones above, this is going to be right up your alley. It's all spoken in Japanese with English subtitles, the story is engrossing, and the cutscenes are beautifully rendered. The general graphics and audio also come off highly polished and do a great job of creating a believable setting.

Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn't follow suit. There's no question this is a hack and slash action game and it shows with the gameplay tiring quickly. It does change up slightly as there is an attack method that allows you to use a finishing move on enemies, but mostly it's a timing issue on when to push a button once the attack is engaged. I can also tell you that you won't get too tired of the gameplay however, as the game is extremely short. Probably no more the 8 to 10 hours.

Genji Dawn of the Samurai is definitely not a top level game, but it was a fun, albeit short ride. Really it's an excellent rainy day rental so the next time your looking for a quick game to kill some time, head down to the rental store and give it a try.

Snapshots and Media

Playstation 2 Screenshots