Way of the Samurai 4
|Way of the Samurai 4|
United Kingdom cover art
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3
Way of the Samurai 4 (侍道4 Samurai Dou 4?) is a video game developed by Acquire and published by Spike for the PlayStation 3. It was first released in Japan on March 3, 2011. The game offers a mix of story, combat and event scenes.
An English version was announced on January 19, 2012 by Rising Star Games. The release of the game in Europe was on October 5, 2012. On April 4, 2012, XSEED Games published the game for the U.S. as a downloadable title on PlayStation Network with a release date of August 21, 2012. The game was initially a PlayStation 3 exclusive, however the game was later released for Microsoft Windows by Ghostlight on July 23, 2015.
The game is set in a fictional port town called Amihama during the last days of the Shogunate. Players can create their own samurai and choose to align themselves with one of three factions: the pro-government forces, the anti-government rebels seeking to repel foreigners, or the British Navy stationed in the city to negotiate a peace treaty. When the negotiations between the local government of Amihama and the British goes wrong after a Prajna attack at the meeting point, the Tokugawa Shogunate sends one of their Tairō to quash the revolt.
The main story takes place over the span of five days. The character's decisions and actions will shape his/her path, and ultimately, his/her fate.
- Like in previous games, the main character is a nameless rōnin who just came into town. Players can choose a youth, a young man, or a middle-aged man, and have access to more customizing options such as extra faces, clothing and accessories as endings and features are unlocked.
- Laura Rita: The kind, idealistic daughter of a noble from Great Britain. She lost her parents, and now comes to Japan as a Goodwill Ambassador to sign a trade agreement. She lives in the foreign settlement called "Little Britain". Voiced by: Yasushi Yurino
- Count Jet Jenkins (aka J.J.): The British delegate in Amihama and a regular at the town's "Rising Sun" casino. A good, laid back, yet somewhat reckless man, he loves violence and will often engage in combat just for the thrill of it. He wields a pistol, but can also fight with a rapier when needed. Voiced by: Tōru Ōkawa
- Melinda (Megamelons) de Cameron: Captain of Laura's escort team, a female knight in golden armour, carrying a claymore. Despite being a strict and disciplined woman, she has a deep sense of honor and a softer side hiding behind her. Voiced by: Atsuko Tanaka
Shogunate forces (Magistrate)
- Chief Minister Onsen Kinugawa: An old Tairō, father of the Kinugawa Sisters; a deceitful, merciless man who seeks to exploit the situation in Amihama for his own selfish ends. His name Onsen means "hot spring" (Kinugawa is a famous hot spring town). He has a group of ninja, the Black Masks, and a group of highly-skilled Samurai, the Demonscales, at his service. Voiced by: Rokurō Naya
- Kinugawa Sisters: Mayu, Chika, and Yuri, 3 sisters who love to torture people. They inherit their father's wickedness, and rule the torture room. Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro
- Hikaru Kotobuki: Chief magistrate of Amihama and a master swordsman. He is strict, but a good man. Voiced by: Daisuke Egawa
- Shigeru Moro: A magistrate skilled in unarmed combat. He cares deeply for his country's future despite his nonchalant look. Voiced by: Daisuke Endo
- Toguro: Captain of the Black Masks, highly-skilled ninjas serving Kinugawa.
- Madara: A mysterious masked kunoichi who serves the Kinugawas. Voiced by: Sachiko Kojima
- Reddo Akagi: Leader of The Disciples of Prajna, a group of isolationists fighting to protect the samurai era and Japanese culture. He is reckless, and hates all foreigners in general. Voiced by: Hiroshi Kogami
- Jinrai Kogure: A talented swordsman, second-in-command of the group. Silent but deadly, he is Akagi's childhood friend, and always tries to protect him. Uses the Iaido style of sword fighting. Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya
- Akemi: The owner of the Toasty Truth pub, which the group uses to gather information. She appears as a kind and gentle young woman, yet there's something mysterious about her. The player's decisions may alter her fate. Voiced by: Sachiko Kojima
- Gunji Dojima: Swordsmith. Besides being a formidable fighter, he can repair, upgrade, appraise and recast the player character's weapons for a price. The player's decisions may alter his fate. Dojima is notable for appearing in every game of the series and this time there's even a sub-plot centered on him. Voiced by: Atsushi Imaruoka
- Sensei: A mysterious swordswoman (her name literally meaning master) who came into Amihama looking for her brother. The player's decisions may alter her fate. Same character who appeared in the 1st and 3rd games. Voiced by: Megumi Yamato
- Endings, Events, and Customization
- Acquire promised that 4 would be much longer than previous games, and there are 10 endings. The game also features flexible events and cutscenes such as deciding whether you want to explore a cave or just turn around and walk away. Events are easier to follow, compared to previous games. There are more customization options than in the last game, allowing to choose features such as face, hair, clothing, footwear and accessories.
- Health and Energy
- An energy meter is added in this installment. It regenerates life points (which are set at 1000) if the player is stationary or moving away in combat, and depletes when your samurai fights, nightcrawls, or is regenerating health. Food and sleep regenerate the energy meter. There are straw blankets in set locations outside (or in) the dojo, inns around Amihama where you pay to sleep in, and any bed you can stand on can be used to sleep and recharge energy.
- There is a wide variety of fighting styles and skills that a player can master. Swords can now be switched to any stance; and skills, once learned, are bound to the player, not the swords. Players then can assign learned skills to their own "school" of fighting style.
- The "push and pull" mechanics in the first and third games are kept. A new special mode is introduced, in which the samurai enters slow motion for a limited duration and can slash enemies repeatedly, then he sheathes the sword and all dead enemies fall down at the same time.
- The sword "heat" mechanics was removed and replaced by "durability points", which will drop gradually with use, and eventually weapons will break. This forces players to visit the blacksmith regularly for repairs, unless their weapons are "unbreakable".
- Sword Enhancement/Creation
- Players can go to the blacksmith and choose to enhance their weapon's attributes (attack, defense, durability), repair it, or appraise it. Player can also ask Dojima to melt a sword and then use the metal to recast another sword.
- The custom sword-making system introduced in Way of the Samurai 3 returns. In addition to normal parts like blade, hilt and grip, players can also add a charm that will give a special effect. Beside swords and spears, pistols and muskets have been added as weapons. Muskets are primarily used by British soldiers.
- Proof of Life
- Player's actions will affect the game world in the next replay. For example, if players killed a lot of town people in the last game, there will be more guards to hunt them down. There are many foreigners in the game; but unlike the previous game, at the beginning the protagonist will not be able to understand what they say (the texts will appear as "?????"). Players can convince the Shogunate to open a school to teach foreign languages, and later the player will be able talk to foreigners.
- Night Crawling
- There is a minigame called "Yobai" in which a samurai can romance a NPC by sneaking into their home at night, avoiding or knocking out family members, and pulling out the right futon to find them. Even then, they will offer playful resistance, and player must try to throw them into bed. A turtle head will guide the samurai to their target. The player can practice "night crawling" with most male and female characters in the game, as long as the requirements are fulfilled.
- Once arrested for doing bad deeds, the player's character will be sent to the torture room, to play some hellish minigames with the three beautiful Kinugawa sisters. The tortures include riding a flaming wooden horse, being tied to a water wheel, and being pelted by huge stones. If the samurai survives the torture, the sisters will be impressed, and he can then practice "night crawling" with them.
- Beside various jobs that the samurai can get from different sources, players can earn money by going fishing, working as an assassin, delivering love letters, or by flirting with foreign women. The samurai can also play poker at the casino, and hanafuda at the gambling parlor.
- Players can open their own dojo, take on apprentices, and fend off challengers. The reputation of the dojo depends on the number of apprentices, and their quality. The player can tell any of the apprentices to "follow me", and they will fight alongside him.
- Crossroads Killing
- When connected to PSN, character data will be automatically uploaded and transferred into other players' game worlds, where he would appear as a wandering samurai (NPC), and players can defeat him to obtain the custom sword that another player created. This is called online tsujigiri.
Dona Dona from the original Way of the Samurai and a grown-up version of the character Sayo from Way of the Samurai 2 are also available for download. Sayo will appear in the road and offer rice balls.
Upon the release the game received mixed reviews, with PlayStation 3 version scoring 58 out of 100 on review aggregator site Metacritic. Many critics praised the story, customisation options, various non-combat activities and multiple endings, however, the gameplay, bugs and technical issues were criticised.
On January 26, 2012, Way of the Samurai 4 was repackaged, bundled with all DLCs, and re-released as "Way of the Samurai 4 Plus" (at half price). Sakamoto Ryōma is available as playable character in this version.
- "Way of the Samurai 4 Pushed Back". 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Rising Star Games announces 2012 release schedule
- "First Look: Way of the Samurai 4". 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Two New PlayStation 3 Exclusives Confirmed for Europe
- "Way of the Samurai 4 is out today". Gamasutra. 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
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- How To Create Your Own Sword (Or Steal Another Player’s) In Way Of The Samurai 4
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- Way Of The Samurai 4 DLC Starts Off Free, A Month Later It’s Paid DLC
- "Review: Way of the Samurai 4 (PC) - Digitally Downloaded". www.digitallydownloaded.net. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
- Way Of The Samurai 4 Finds Path Back To Retail With "Plus" Edition