Afro Samurai (video game)
|Developer(s)||Namco Bandai Games|
|Publisher(s)||Surge (North America)
Namco (Europe and Australia)
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
|Genre(s)||Action, hack and slash|
Afro Samurai is a video game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, loosely based on the manga and anime series of the same name. It was announced in the February 2008 issue of Play magazine and released on January 27, 2009. The game was developed by Namco Bandai Games and in North America, it was the first and only game published under their western label, Surge. In Europe and Australia the game used the Namco brand instead and being distributed by Atari Europe.
Afro Samurai is a 3D brawler with platforming elements. Using light hits, power hits, kicks, and blocks the player fights various enemies. Most levels culminate in a boss fight, and in-engine cutscenes advance the story.
The game features a cel-shaded animation style. Though it is a hack and slash game, the "fighting is a bit more strategic" and the player is able to block and use combos. The enemies will respond by rolling, ducking and hopping over the player's blade and occasionally using body orifices to catch the weapons, the combat system was worked on by Monty Oum.
Gianluca's cousin said that the one who becomes "Number One" will rule the world, wielding powers akin to a god. Someone becomes Number One by killing the previous Number One and taking his ceremonial headband. However, only the "Number Two" is allowed to challenge the Number One. Because of this, few people ever reach the Number One because the Number Two headband is constantly changing owners. Afro's father was the old Number One, until he was brutally killed by a gunman named Justice, an event witnessed by Afro as a child. Now an adult, Afro Samurai is the current Number Two and a master swordsman; he travels the road seeking revenge on Justice. Lengthy flashbacks interspersed throughout the story detail how Afro rose from frightened boy fleeing the death of his father, to master swordsman, and eventually to become the current "Number Two", while the story in the present deals with the adult Afro making his way to the mountain top keep of the "Number One" to duel Justice, while at the same time the mysterious cult known as the Empty Seven Clan sends various agents to kill Afro and take his Number Two headband.
All of the main characters are voiced by the same actors as in the anime. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn served as the voice director for the game.
Hip hop producer RZA is credited as music director, but due to time constraints, he was unable to contribute fully. Instead he told the team how he went about scoring Afro Samurai, and put them in contact with various individuals to assist them in delivering a sound similar to what he created for the anime. He did, however, send the team a couple of tracks to use in the game.
The game's credits reveal that Namco Bandai commissioned a TV screenwriter, Peter Saji, to produce a storyline for a downloadable episode. In an interview, Saji admitted that multiple downloadable episodes are in production, but could not provide a release date.
The game was given moderate reviews, resulting in the Metacritic score of 65. Namco Bandai posted on its fiscal year report that the game sold 420,000 copies across all platforms in the US and Europe.
An episodic sequel was announced in June 2015, called Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma. Volume 1 was released on PlayStation 4, and PC on September 22, 2015 and the Xbox One on October 8, 2015. In November 2015, the game was removed from the PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace and Steam and volumes 2 and 3 were cancelled due to poor reception.
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