Sam reviews – Afro Samurai (PS3)

May.10, 2010, filed under games, Reviews

avatarI shouldn’t really be reviewing this. Not really. Frood is playing this one and I’m just along for the ride.

The thing is, though, that while I’ll play some games that are okay, great even, and won’t bother reviewing them because everyone else has already played them or there are so many reviews out there another one won’t tell anyone anything (e.g. Bioshock), every so often we find a game that needs to be brought to the attention of the masses, whether because it’s several levels of awesome drenched in awesome jus, or because gamers should flee in horror rather than wasting any money on it.

Afro Samurai happily falls into the former category.

Afro Samurai poster

Hey! Afro!

Based on the manga series written and illustrated by Takashi Okazaki, this third-person brawler follows the exploits of the titular protagonist as he goes in search of the number one headband. I think. I’m a bit hazy on which headband he has.

It doesn’t matter though. The game is sumptuous, apparently based on the Prince Of Persia engine, with the same semi-realistic scenery overlaid with characters that are more drawn in look, reminding me of Samurai Jack. The fighting is graceful and stylised, although Frood reports that Afro can be a bit unruly: it suffers a little from the standard gaming issue of the camera motion interfering with the movement of the character. In operation it is button-mash with a little finesse, offering hit, heavy hit, kick, and several slowtime focused attacks. Every so often there’s the option to play bodypart poker.

The soundtrack is excellent, reminding me very much of Ghost Dog, but what makes it is the character of Ninja Ninja, who appears to be an invisible friend in the manner of Drop Dead Fred, only funnier. And more helpful. Ninja Ninja is played by Samuel L Jackson, and his dialogue has had us creased up in fits of laughter.

“You spent so long chasing justice, you forgot how to chase pussy!”

“Someone’s been praying to the god of ass, and he’s just answered!”

Yes, the characterisation is taken straight from the 70s, with shades of both Shaft and Huggy Bear, but Jackson plays it somewhere between Jules and Zeus and it really works.

Right now this game is on offer for less than a tenner at Amazon. If you are one of those gamers who likes to leave things alone for a couple of minutes to find out what the bored behaviour is (best yet: The Flash in Justice League Heroes, closely followed by Deadpool from MAU), don’t mind seriously bad language and can forgive linear gameplay, then don’t wait. Get one.

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