|I'm a HUGE samurai fan so it's no surprise that I would have bought Way of the Samurai. After a slow start, I found it really interesting!|
First, the game is a combination fighting game and role playing adventure. You have a over-the-shoulder view of your Samurai, which you can customize with a few choices of clothing, face/hair, and the name. You start out with basic button-mashing attacks - the quick attack, slow powerful attack, plus jumps and blocks. As you progress, you "learn" other more interesting combination attacks.
There is limited ability to use items. You can pick up swords that you find along the way (i.e. from the corpses of those you kill) and a few items like radishes and mushrooms that heal or hurt you. Try to walk out of the inn with the Happy Cat statue and the girl there chides you. You can pick up explosives and toss them at things to blow them up. No real inventory though, and you normally can't do actions while carrying one of these things.
The role playing goes along the Yojimbo route - the famous movie by Akira Kurosawa starring Toshiro Mifune. In Yojimbo, a small village had two warring factions that Yojimbo in essence played off of each other. It's pretty obvious that this story was based on that - from the high bell-tower in the center of town to the obnoxious police officers to the swordsmith coming out and commenting how the poor were always the one most abused.
In essence, as you come across various situations in town, you get a choice of one or two responses, or you can ignore the situation completely. Usually your choices are to help the person or to hinder them. You can help out the bandits as they steal the young girl, or step in to interfere. You can stand by while the old man is beaten up, or try to do something about it.
The graphics are reasonably good, and the moves of the individuals as they walk and fight are good as well. Controls are a bit kludgy, but really there isn't much moving to do. The town itself isn't very large, and the game doesn't last that long - just a few "days". The transitions from day to evening to night are nice, the train rolling along past town.
Yes, you can customize swords a bit, and pick up yen to spend on it, but really, you can't save well and the game is so short that it's not worth saving. You can save at one spot if you have to turn off your machine, but when you turn it back on and restore from that spot, it erases your save game. Some might find this annoying, but the game is so short that it doesn't matter much.
Really, you play it a number of times to unlock all the characters, rooms and so on, and to see the various endings. Then you spend the rest of the time doing the multiplayer combat with all the people and areas that you've unlocked, and have fun!
Way of the Samurai Walkthrough
Buy Way of the Samurai at Amazon.com