I saw the Afro Samurai build at Comic-Con ended with a vague coming in early 2009 screen. The exact release date is January 27, 2009. I completed the demo and Afro Samurai didn’t feel that different from other 3D hack and slash games. My first thought was the gameplay reminded me of Seven Samurai 20XX. Does anyone even know about that game? Never mind then.
The standout feature is you don’t need to use combos to beat the Afro Samurai demo. When you hold down one of the trigger buttons the screen turns monochrome and Afro enters focus mode. You get a speed bonus while the enemies move in slow motion, but focus mode is primarily used to dice and dismember foes. Once you hold a button Afro charges a one hit kill which can be executed if you let go of the button when the controller rumbles. A perfect slice cuts off limbs and less agile foes in half. Ninjas attempt to evade Afro’s focus kills by jumping into the air and sliding to the side. But Afro can adjust is slash with the analog stick to counter a dodge. The demo ended with a peek at a Brother Six who appears to be one of the game’s bosses.
While Afro Samurai oozes with the style of the anime, the demo didn’t offer much out of the ordinary. I’m also perplexed to how Namco Bandai plans to make focus mode work on the PlayStation 3 where rumble is not a standard feature. I guess there will be some meter on the screen telling players when to let go of the button, but that isn’t as novel as feeling the controller shake in your hands.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai.