Way of the Samurai 3
|Way of the Samurai 3|
North American box art
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360
Way of the Samurai 3 (侍道3 Samurai Dou 3?) is a video game made by Acquire, released by Spike on November 13, 2008 in Japan for the PlayStation 3, and later ported to the Xbox 360. It is the sequel of the PlayStation 2 games Way of the Samurai and Way of the Samurai 2.
The time is the Sengoku period. The story takes place in Amana, a fictional land ruled by a rising feudal lord, Fujimori Shuzen, who had overthown his former superior, Lord Sakurai, and became the new ruler. The Fujimori clan is an emerging force in Amana and has many enemies within its territory. In order to protect their domain, they force farmers and villagers to overwork and impose heavy taxes on them to strengthen their armed force. Because of this, people in Amana are beginning to feel discontent toward the Fujimori clan.
There are three main factions in Amana: Fujimori clan, Ouka clan, and Takatane villagers. The Ouka clan consists of vassals of the Sakurai clan and outcasts who desire power. They want to overthrow the Fujimori clan. The Takatane villagers are harmonious people only wishing for peace.
The main character is a nameless rōnin. Players can create their own samurai by combining several heads with some bodies. Non-Player Character (NPC) models are also available for use after this option is unlocked, any NPCs (including females) that you have knocked unconscious will become selectable.
Originally, there is only male heads. The Plus version of the game added a female head (from Way of the Samurai 2), but even when playing with a female model, NPCs will still address the protagonist as "he".
- Fujimori Shuzen: Former vassal of the Sakurai clan, now the rising Lord who overthrew the Sakurai clan. He is strengthening his power by forcing hard labor and collecting high taxes from the villagers. Voiced by: Nakata Jouji
- Umemiya Shinnosuke: The eldest son of Munechika Umemiya, and a former loyal member of the Sakurai clan. Now a vassal of Fujimori Shuzen. A skilled swordman who was once called the "Three swords of the Sakurai Clan". There is a reason behind his betrayal. Voiced by: Daisuke Ono
- Araragi: Fujimori Shuzen's mistress, who holds the noble bloodline. She is a fearless woman who lives as she desires. Any worthless men will easily have their souls taken from this witch-like woman. Voiced by: Yukiko Ozima
- Kirie Masatsugu: Fujimori's ninja general who does all the dirty jobs for Shuzen. Another assassin will replace his role in events if he was killed before that.
- Matsuzaki Genjuro: The giant leader of the Ouka clan who was once a low rank samurai of the Sakurai clan. He persuaded fallen samurai and bandits to create the Ouka clan and rebuild Sakurai clan. However, he is known to use violence to obtain power. Voiced by: Takahiro Yoshino
- Umemiya Yuma: Youngest son of the Umemiya family who proudly served the Sakurai clan. He strongly believes that the Sakurai clan can be rebuilt through the Ouka clan. He detests his father for being a coward and his brother for being a traitor. Voiced by: Hiroshi Sugiyama
- Rindo Itsuse: A female samurai of the Ouka Clan. After losing her family (killed by Fujimori Shuzen), she lives only to kill him and get her revenge. Voiced by: Eri Saitou
- Umemiya Munechika: Former chief vassal of the Sakurai clan, now head of the village. He is the target of threats and abuse from the Fujimori clan because he wants to protect villagers from their oppression.
- Osei: A young girl who lives in the village with her little brother, Kota. She really hates samurai because she lost her parents in a great battle against the Fujimori clan. Osei is, in fact, not just a normal village girl. Voiced by: Rina Satō
- Kota: A young boy who lives in the village with his older sister, Osei. Although he acts as if he hates samurai in front of his sister, he actually admires them a lot. Voiced by: Maki Mizuma
- Dojima: The blacksmith who appeared in every Way of the Samurai games, now he has a brother. They will gladly work on your weapons as long as you have the money. Voiced by: Atsushi Imaruoka
- Sensei: The female samurai who taught players how to fight in the tutorial at the beginning of the 1st game. Now she can be found on the 3rd floor of the dojo at Guard Gate. Sensei can become a partner in the Plus version of the game. Voiced by: Hikami Kyouko
- Kasumi: The heroine from the 2nd game. Now she is one of the companions you can find in this game. Voiced by: Hikami Kyouko
- Setsuen: A mysterious man who seems to be spying on Amana.
- Zaji "The Black Hawk": The ninja from Shinobido: Way of the Ninja, he is a guest character in this game. He will drop a smoke bomb and his sword when defeated. Voiced by: Konishi Katsuyuki
- Misae: An old woman who is the job broker in Takatane village. The first job she will give you is to find her missing underwear.
- Oryo: A woman who is the job broker in Omiki town. Misaki often hangs around her.
- Joji: Ouka clan's job broker
- Kiyonari: Fujimori clan's job broker, nicknamed "The homeless Mighty God"
- Fabled Merchant: A legendary merchant who appears occasionally in the little boat by the waterfall at the Road. He sells the niftiest stuff in the game.
- Momiji: A tomboy who wants to avenge her father. She can be recruited if player choose not to fight her. When her health is full, Momiji can occasionally invent a new sword skill.
- Kana: A village girl who will become your servant once rescued from bandits. She can hold weapon parts.
- Misaki: Another villager who was also kidnapped. But unlike Kana, she is mean and ungrateful. As a partner, she will help by kicking enemies when player is losing.
- Minamo: A girl who will become your little sister if you have certain swords. She will sometimes give you a new sword, and hold items.
- Yuzu: An old woman who will takes care of you like a mother if you are nice to her. Her bargain skill lowers the price of items you buy.
- Hinagiku: Hinagiku will become a companion if you buy her a lot of things. She will distract enemies in battles, and also hold your money. But if she moves in, she will sometimes steal money from your safe.
- Yukino: A spear woman who will work as your bodyguard if paid. Her late husband was a spearman. She can hold weapons.
- Hiiragi: A girl who likes to eat. She will follow you if you give her something big to eat (a jumbo radish). Hiiragi can throw you foods when your health is low and holds your accessories.
- Otome: A virgin old lady who was apparently a kunoichi. To obtain her services, player must accept her assassination requests (like killing the Dojimas). She kicks corpses and breaks objects.
- Osada: In order for her to join, player must perform a "shameful slash" on her (that is slashing at a female character's lower body, only barely hitting their clothes so that it will come off and make her run away in shame). With her as a partner, player can buy stuff from dead merchants.
- Nya-Nya: A cat girl wielding a giant tuna who will appear if player was nice to the cats in town. She is playful and can break the swords in your safe if you leave her at home.
- Dona: The afro samurai from the first game. Dona is a girl now. She will steal swords from the safe if left at home alone.
- Ensen: The wandering rōnin from the 1st game, who can become your apprentice if you spare his life. He runs faster than female partners, and sometimes brings a woman to your house.
- Genjuro: A dog (not Matsuzaki Genjuro) beloved by those of the Ouka clan.
Players have direct involvement in the plot by choosing dialogues and actions in the game. A new feature in the game is that players can draw their weapon any time during cutscenes.
There are 22 endings. After completing the game, players will retain the weapons, items, parts they obtained, money, as well as physical stats, learned skills and techniques for future replays.
Based on what they did in the game, players will receive an end-game title and Samurai Points. There are 50 different titles, ranging from "Nobody" to "Samurai 4EvR!". The total Samurai Points are used to unlock secrets, heads, clothes, and abilities.
The game encourages players to be honourable, because they will lose their total Samurai Points for doing villainous acts, and will not be able to unlock secrets.
Movement and time
Players can now either walk from place to place, or travel instantly between areas by using the map. If you use the map, time will wind forward. There are eight areas in Amana: Kuchihagahara, Guard Gate, Posting Station, Takatane Village, Omiki Town, Castle Amana, Castle Minori, and The Road. Areas which have events will be marked with an Inkling "!" to allow players to follow the storyline easily.
Time is displayed by a clock on the top right corner of the screen. One minute in the game is equal to one second in real life. Time progresses as the day advances; morning, noon, evening, night, midnight, and dawn. Certain events only occur at a certain time of the day. Unlike previous games, there is no day limit in this game.
The "safe house" first introduced in Way of the Samurai 2 returns, but this time you can actually walk around. A bed, weapon safe, money safe, item box, closet, and part box can be found inside the house.
Way of the Samurai 3 focuses on sword combat. There are over 100 weapons in the game, including swords, spears, and even some joke weapons like sticks, green onion, tuna, brooms, and hoes. Players can now kneel down and beg for mercy if they are losing the fight. NPCs can also do this.
The "parry" technique introduced in the last game was scrapped. Now the "push and pull" system like in the first game is used, as well as a new "instant kill" (hit-satsu) technique called "glimpse of death", which is activated after a successful awase. After an instant kill, it is possible to perform a chain kill (ren-satsu) just by approaching opponents and hitting the right buttons.
With Blunt Attack mode ON the samurai will use the blunt side of the blade, and as the result, enemies will be knocked out instead. When using blunt attack, instant kill is disabled.
Weapons will gain experience and level up. New skills can be learned by levelling up weapons. At maximum level (50), the weapon will have infinite durability and become unbreakable. You can learn unarmed fighting and dual ninja sword techniques by reading scrolls. Learned skills are now recorded with the main character and later can be assigned to newly created weapons. Once you have learned all skills for a sword stance (like middle stance), a stance mastery trophy will be unlocked.
Swords and spears
The player can enhance your swords' statistics and values by visiting the blacksmiths. In addition to that, Way of the Samurai 3 is the first in the series to allow players to build their own katana or spears by collecting parts like blades (scabbards included), guards, grips, pommels, and bringing them to the blacksmiths. Players then can set a stance and assign moves to it, and can even name their new weapon. According to the official blog, there are around 200 original parts and more than 750 skills to choose from.
The swords are still divided into seven types: middle stance (chūdan-no-kamae), upper stance (jōdan-no-kamae), lower stance, side stance (waki-gamae), single stance (one-handed), draw stance (fencing/battōjutsu), and ninja stance. The player can obtain the "dual wielding" ability after earning a certain amount of Samurai Points.
A new stat for weapons is "weight", ranging from 0 (light) to 8 (unmovable). Heavyweight weapons are very slow.
Another notable new feature is the "partner" system. There are NPCs in Amana whom you can take along with you in your adventures. There will be some jobs which require two people to complete, like making sticky rice cakes. Your partners might agree to live with you at your home if they become fond of you, but they will be jealous if you bring home another girl and will be angry if you do not come home for many days. When living together, each partner can have positive or negative effects, like increasing money in the safe or breaking swords.
There are 14 partners (18 in the Plus version), from a spear-wielding widow to the ghost of a murdered woman to a cat girl called "Nya-Nya" (meow meow). Each of them has different abilities, from assisting in combat to holding weapons/items/parts. The maximum relationship point of each partner is 7.14%. To have 100%, player must raise relationship with all available partners.
Jobs and minigames
Players can do jobs for any of the three sides. Working for one side will increase the main character's popularity with that side, and terrorising them will make them hate him instead. Some of these jobs include babysitting a dog, finding runaway kids, punishing food thieves, rescuing kidnapped babies, or just killing someone.
In addition to various normal "jobs" provided by four different brokers, there are some minigames like "ring the bell", "cut vegetables", "dismantle the giant tuna", and "make mochi (sticky rice cakes)".
Gamesradar gave "7 reasons you should care about Way of the Samurai 3". Chris Roper from IGN wrote a review, giving it a 6.5 overall for having "PS2 games" graphics, "meh" combat, and "not enough of a sandbox to really build a castle". On November 30, 2009, Gamespot posted a review for this game, with a 5.5/10 score.
A new version of the game will be released for PS3 in Japan only as Way of the Samurai 3 Plus, with additional content, including four more companions (Osei, Itsuse, Araragihime, and Sensei). This content will not be available in the English version of the game. Motion capture was digital and put into the game, each are based on the fighting techniques and movement. Motion capture was provided by Acquire Studios in Flint, Michigan.
- Official Website
- Destructoid - Way of the Samurai 3 coming to NA Oct. 13
- IGN: Way of the Samurai 3 Detailed - June 13, 2008
- 1UP Preview
- 1UP News: Way of the Samurai 3 Detailed - July 30, 2008
- Siliconera: Way of the Samurai 3 is only for the PS3 - June 13, 2008
- Gamespot Japan: Way of the Samurai 3 in Fall - June 16, 2008
- TGS 2008: Way of the Samurai 3 Hands-On Impressions
- CNG4U - Review Score From Famitsu Weekly (Nov 5, 2008)
- PSP Hyper - Japan Weekly Software Ranking (Nov 10 - Nov 16, 2008)
- 7 Reasons You Should Care About Way Of The Samurai 3
- Way of the Samurai 3 Plus Official
- Way of the Samurai 3 and the branching release