Recently I was asked to do something I don’t really like to do. I was asked to review a sequel to a game that I did not play. This is not a problem, I just feel like I’m missing some of the story. The only one downfall other wise is that I can’t compare the two games to each other. As such I hope all my readers will forgive me for that. With that being said and out of the way, let the short list begin.
The first thing I noticed about Samurai II: Vengeance when I loaded it up was how stunning the artwork is. The visual styling is almost a picture perfect replica of the style found in Okami, the Playstation 2 and Wii title. The story of the game is told by way of a comic book given to us in parts before and after each board. The game mechanics are very similar to diablo or a few other rpg style hack and slash games. The controls are very simple to use, and on the iPad are moveable.
As I have not played the first of these two games, and do not know the full story, I will gloss over the actual story and instead offer up my opinion of the storytelling itself, and as such, my opinion is that I find this method of story telling to be rather well done. The comic strip was done by a competent artist, and flows very well, especially on the iPad. The choice to use comic book storytelling was probably a cost and talent based decision, but one that does not reflect poorly on the game at all. While I do long for some more video based cutscenes on the iOS Platform, I am not missing them here as sorely as I have in other games. This title has a good storyline thus far and I look forward to finding out how it ends.
The game mechanics are nice. They lend themselves very well to the hack and slash genre. The combos are not difficult to pull off, after getting used to them not being like a fighting game that is, and they buttons for the most part feel natural; more on this later though. The game, for those of you who may have never played such a title before, is shot from over head in a 3/4 viewing angle. This gives a wide view of the terrain and enemies facing you. Michael Bay I hope you’re reading this cause if the next Transformers movie doesn’t have beautiful wide angles like this game; so help me… Anyway, moving on. The enemies that you encounter will appear on screen as a poof, presumably as part of their ninja skillz, and then like any good Zelda title, you beat the tar out of them with your Katana. The view point for this game also gives us a chance to appreciate the art style.
As I stated before, the visuals are stunning. The art work is definitely a selling point for this game alone. If all I was doing was watching this game as an animated film, I’d have paid the asking price for this game. That’s how good the visuals are. I’m very happy to see someone was paying attention and realized that you don’t have to have super realistic graphics, or bullet time, or other over done themes in gaming, in order to have a good looking game, and mmm-mm-mmmm is this one pretty.
The controls in this title are decent. They do everything I feel they should in terms of button smashing. On the iPad, you are given free reign on where to put them, and this comes in handy because holding the iPad is a difficult thing sometimes. You tend to want to put the controls either up top or in the middle rather than on the bottom where they make sense on the iPhone or iPod touch. I should note here, yes you can move them on the iPhone as well, but why would you? One thing I would like to see, however, in future updates is to have each of the three buttons on the right to be separate and movable as opposed to be being a movable cluster. Reaching for that ‘roll’ button is a stretch sometimes.
Over all, the game Samurai II: Vengeance is a great title, and well worth your money. The spit and polish on this game really shines. And I am glad to have in on my iPad. The guys over at Mad Finger and Unity really deserve a high five. I give this game an 8 out of 10.
Game receives 8/10 rating – Game rated on a 10 point scale.