Review: Way of the Samurai 3

When I initially covered Way of the Samurai 3 by UFO Interactive games in a few news articles, I was excited at the thought of playing it. I have never had the pleasure before, as it was initially a PC game, so when I heard it was arriving on the Xbox 360 I just knew that I had to experience the gameplay. Set in the year 1560 during the Sengoku era, Way of the Samurai 3 is an open-world single-player action game that blends hack-n-slash, single-and multi-character battles with the soul of an RPG. So what did I really think of this title? Read my review and see for yourself.


You initially start the game in feudal Japan during the Sengoku era, with numerous warlords battling it out for the territory. You’re role to start with is as a wandering samurai, who stumbles into Amana, a once peaceful countryside which is now sadly torn apart by war. There are three main storylines for you to explore, with each being completely different. There are also plenty of townsfolk to interact with, and with their witty dialogue you can trigger subplot storylines that will drive you to continue playing. The most intriguing aspect of Way of the Samurai 3 is its design as an open adventure that gives you complete control over your destiny, you’re completely free to join any faction or you can go the other way and make a living out of beating villagers with sticks. Which I subsequently found quite amusing.

The game mainly focuses on a cause-and-effect mechanic, prompting you to perform certain actions during key moments, such as bowing in apology or sheathing your weapon. This makes something simple, such as drawing your sword, a problem because it has both immediate and unforeseen consequences. This also keeps the action enticing because it affects how the game infact ends. It’s also rather disappointing that your interactive options are so limited, because they really do come in handy.

The combats in the game are basic, they are easy to use and very fast-paced, which means however after a few battles, you do find that it starts getting rather repetitive and somewhat boring. You can however do pretty much whatever you want in the game, when you talk to someone, you have the choice to either fight them mid-conversation or simply listen to them, regardless of who they are. It seems that you can kill almost anyone in the game except for the children, off course. You can even draw your weapon during cut-scenes too if you decide you’d rather slice everyone to bits that is. You find too that once you have killed someone in the game, that’s it, they remain dead throughout the remainder of the game. However, there are certain characters that will simply be replaced by another, doing exactly the same thing, like the recruiter for the Fujimori clan, for example. So you do have to be careful who you slay and who you dont.

Then we have the Weapon Customization and Abilities, here we get to craft our very own unique weapons, from over 200 different parts and materials available, it’s quite easy to start creating the ultimate weapon that suits your taste and fighting style too. You can create lethal blades, spears, pole axes and much more while discovering new abilities and skills with increased use. Performing different feats will reward you with Samurai Points and a Title, which in turn will unlock new features and characters within the game. Fight honorably in the way of the samurai, live your life as a bandit or strive to uphold the government. These choices will net different points and values, encouraging multiple play throughs to unlock all features and content.

Way of the Samurai 3 is a game with role-playing elements that will take you back into the ancient world of the samurai. Its most distinctive feature is it’s interesting focus on cause-and-effect relationships, which it promotes very nicely by rewarding you for either good behavior and then also punishing you for doing acts of reckless villainy. Unfortunately, the gameplay is rather complicated, and it certainly did’nt help by having an annoying camera and an occasionally sluggish frame rate. The repetitive combat and quests in the game also severely lessen your motivation to replay the game, which is a shame because you really do need to play this game more than once.

The interactivity options of the game also remain quite outdated, which subsequently means that I did’nt enjoy the game as much as I thought I would. Underneath the sub-par graphics, glitchy camera and dodgy mechanics there’s a great game waiting to be unearthed (and given a bigger budget), I feel this game could be alot better. The period feel and the sense of a real world environment with its own rules and culture comes across well. But without the gameplay to back it up all the fine ideas and enthusiasm just fade away into another frustrating and quickly repetitive misfire. Which means I had to score it:



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