Written By: Kevin Blanton
I’m SamJackson! Why the hell do I need to do a review of Afro Samurai? I recorded my voice for the game? And I still have to promote it, even though it’s been a few years? Ah, hell. Here goes:
I play a character named Ninja Ninja and I guide Afro through a cell-shaded world of ninjas, samurais, and more ninjas (this time topless). The title is brimming with amazing, authentic style that fans of the anime series (which I also participated in) will surely appreciate, and even newcomers will find hard to resist. Like a royal with cheese, though, Afro Samurai tastes good going down but will leave you with a bad aftertaste.
First of all, let me just say first that I do play video games. Why? Because I’m SamJackson! And I loved experiencing this game, allowing my senses to be stung by its stylized visuals, hip-hop inspired soundtrack (RZA! Wu-Tang Clan!), and overall attitude. And on more than one occasion, its blood-letting battles had me recalling the choreographed chaos of my buddy Quentin’s Kill Bill films. The combat is primarily fast and fun hack-and-slash button mashing. There are plenty of advanced moves and combos to be learned, however, you’ll be able to best most enemies with the standard light, heavy and kick attacks. You can also gain the upper hand in focus mode, where the action slows, the visuals go black and white (there’s that slick style again) and Afro can unleash some insta-kill moves. Additionally, “over focus” allows Afro similar room-clearing abilities, but without having to keep attack buttons pressed to build up power. These slo-mo modes pack an amazingly addictive punch because they simultaneously allow you to be more precise with the combat and also savor the gore in all its over-the-top glory.
The camera, although controllable, does need to be baby-sat a bit too much. And the game’s penchant for breaking the action into comic book-like panels,though very easy on the eyes, can disorient a bit during especially chaotic battles. Afro also stumbles a bit in the platforming department; Afro has some fancy jumps and wall-runs in his acrobatic repertoire, but he’s no Persian prince; these sometimes frustrating moments generally don’t detract from the fun, but they’re a far cry from the fast and furious combat. Thankfully, most of your time is spent chopping bad guys into pulpy chunks and painting the world in their blood—and man, do these dudes bleed.
I have to tell you to buy this game (it’s in my contract). But I won’t feel bad about it. You know why? Because I’m SamJackson.