Way of the Samurai 4 is one of those games that I’ve watched – a lot of – but never actually played. It’s was a PS3 exclusive, and I do own that console. But given the overwhelming size of my PC library, and the fact that not a day goes by where I’m not delving into it – purchasing a considerably more expensive console game just isn’t something I often consider.
So I’m really quite pleased that this absolutely bizarre, very rough game is making its way over to our platform. Publisher Ghostlight announced that a PC port, to be released on Steam, will be appearing later this year.
Way of the Samurai 4 puts you in the fashionable sandals of a wandering ronin during the end of the Edo period, where Japan flung open its doors to foreigners and started to modernise. The struggle between these old and new worlds is encapsulated by three factions you can join or rail against: the Shogunate, the Brits or the traditionalists.
It’s a sandbox, where you can run around, find sidequests, get into scraps, catch fish, insult people for no good reason or sneak into a lady’s bedroom and have secret sex. Yeah, the last one’s an oddity. It’s called nightcrawling, and was very much a thing that happened.
The game is spread out across a few days, but doesn’t finish when the credits roll. Not unlike Hatoful Boyfriend – or a number of other games that don’t involve dating pigeons – subsequent playthroughs open up new options and encounters. You can open up a language school in one game, and reap the rewards of being able to understand foreigners in the next.
So to properly finish Way of the Samurai 4, you should expect to play through it a few times.
While it’s a single-player game, you can encounter other players’ characters as NPCs. They exist to be fought, and victory means that you get to keep their sword. It’s not a good way to make new friends, but if you want a lovely collection of swords stolen from fallen foes, then it’s no doubt grand.
It’s an ugly game, with extremely wonky, imprecise combat, completely absurd characters and awful, awful writing – and I’ve been wanting to play it for a good long time.