Way of the Samurai 4

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Way of the Samurai 4
Samurai4box.jpg
United Kingdom cover art
Developer(s) Acquire
Publisher(s)
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) PlayStation 3
  • JP March 3, 2011[1]
  • NA August 21, 2012
  • EU October 5, 2012[2]
Windows
  • WW July 23, 2015
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

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.[3] It was first released in Japan on March 3, 2011. The game offers a mix of story, combat and event scenes.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] The game was initially a PlayStation 3 exclusive, however the game was later released for Microsoft Windows by Ghostlight on July 23, 2015.[6]

Plot[edit]

The game is set in a fictional port town called Amihama in 1855. Players can create their own samurai[7] 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 British goes wrong after a Pranja attack at the meeting. The Tokugawa Shogunate sends one of their Tairō to quash the revolt. Little did everybody knew there is a plot to exploit the crisis to serve the Tairo's ends.

The story take over the span of three days as the Tairo's visit in Amihama, Kinugawa seeing the potential of the Black Ships exploits the situation holds a tournament to decide the fate of the port. There are five paths to choose from with two different outcomes.

Foreigners: Supporting Laura's attempts to open up trade relations with Japan. Jet's opium and gambling racket creates a political incident between both nations. Laura hoped to placate the rebels with a peace treaty but her efforts were sabotaged by Kinugawa when JJ is murdered by his assassins. The final decision is made by either ensuring Laura's safety or chasing after Kinugawa for his crimes.

The Bakufu: Assisting Kinugawa in cracking down on the Foreigners' illegal opium den. Kinugawa discover the military potential of the Black Ship and the Protagonist earns the privilege to serve under Kotobuki to lead an assault against the Pranja. However Moro suspects Kinugawa's foul play at work and the Protagonist must decide to either help Moro defeat the Pranjas first or go with Kinugawa's plan. Either way, the nation modernizes but at the cost of either the moral values or nation spirit.

The Pranja: Resisting the foreigners, the Protagonist is forced to deal with one of the traitors within Pranja's ranks as they learn many of their compatriots are captured by Kinugawa. Leading a bold rescue, the raid ends in Akagi's sacrifice serve as a Rallying cry for the people of Japan as the Bakufu is forced to fight both the foreigners and people vying for independence or end up being crushed but remembered for their defiance.

Tournament: Without supporting any of the causes the tournament goes without a hitch and the Protagonist could either end up executed or becoming a legendary Demonscale.

Oppose Kinugawa: After Akagi's failed assassination attempt on Kinugawa, depending the player's actions they either expose the Foreigners to Kinugawa's cruelty or fail to expose Kinugawa's schemes. Either way the Protagonist fights Kinugawa and either succeeds or fails to kill him.

Characters[edit]

Protagonist
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.[7]

Foreign powers[edit]

  • Laura Rita: Blonde, rich, and kind 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
  • Jet Jenkins (aka J.J): The British delegate in Amihama and a regular at the town's "Rising Sun" casino. J.J often wields a pistol, but can also fight with rapier when needed. He loves sushi and wears a pink boxer. Voiced by: Tōru Ōkawa
  • Melinda (Megamelons) de Cameron: Captain of Laura's escort team, a female knight in golden armour, carrying a claymore. Voiced by: Atsuko Tanaka

Shogunate forces (Bakufu)[edit]

  • Kotobuki Hikaru: Chief magistrate of Amihama and a master swordsman. He is strict, but a good man. Voiced by: Daisuke Egawa
  • Moro Shigeru: A magistrate skilled in unarmed combat. He cares deeply for his country's future despite his nonchalant look. Voiced by: Daisuke Endo
  • Kinugawa Onsen: An old Tairō, father of the Kinugawa Sisters, a cruel 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, and a double. His hobby is dropping people into a boiling pot. 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. The sisters have a group of half-naked slaves, who succumbed to their tortures, to help them torture people and attack whoever try to escape. Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro
  • Toguro: Captain of a ninja group serving Kinugawa Onsen called "Dark Crowns".
  • Madara: A mysterious masked kunoichi who serves the Kinugawas. Voiced by: Sachiko Kojima

Anti-foreigner forces[edit]

  • Akagi Retsudo: Leader of a group of isolationists fighting to protect the samurai era and Japanese culture. He is reckless, and hates Brits, yankee, and all foreigners in general. Voiced by: Hiroshi Kogami
  • Kogure Jinrai: A quiet guy, second-in-command of the group. He is Akagi's childhood friend, and always tries to protect him. Uses the Iaido style of sword fighting. Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya
  • Akemi: This gentle young woman is the owner of a pub, which the group uses to gather information. Her real identity is the kunoichi Madara. Voiced by: Sachiko Kojima

Others[edit]

  • Dojima Gunji: Swordsmith, will gladly work on your swords as long as you have the mon. Same character who appeared in every game of the series so far. This time he has a safer working environment, as the "heat" system was removed, and players need constant weapon repairing, thus having to refrain from killing him. Voiced by: Atsushi Imaruoka
  • Onna Kenji: A female samurai (her name literally means swordswoman). Same character as the "Sensei" who appeared in the 1st and 3rd games. Voiced by: Megumi Yamato

Gameplay[edit]

Endings, Events, and Customization
Acquire promised that it is 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.[8] Events are easier to follow, compared to previous games. There are more customization options than in the last game, players can fully customize their character such as age, hair, clothes, shoes, 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.
Combat
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.

New features[edit]

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.[9] There are many foreigners in the game; but unlike the previous game, at the beginning your samurai 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 you will be able talk to foreigners.[9]
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.[10] 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.
Torture
Once arrested for doing bad deeds, your samurai will be sent to the torture room, where the three beautiful Kinugawa sisters will play some hellish minigames with your life.[11] 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 Kinugawa sisters will be impressed, and he can then practice "night crawling" with them.
Minigames
Beside various jobs that the samurai can get from different sources, players can earn money by going fishing, working as a gardener, an assassin, delivering love letters, or by flirting with foreign women.[12] The samurai can also play poker at the casino, and hanafuda at the gambling parlor.
Dojo
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.[13][14] This is called online tsujigiri.

Downloadable content[edit]

A Shinsengumi costume DLC pack was offered for free from March 24 to April 27, 2011. After that, it was priced $6. Players need to apply a patch before using any downloadable content.[15]

Hijikata Toshizō and Kondō Isami are among the downloadable Shinsengumi characters.

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.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (PC) 71/100[16]
(PS3) 58/100[17]

Upon the release the game received mixed reviews, with PlayStation 3 version scoring 58 out of 100 on review aggregator site Metacritic.[17] Many critics praised the story, customisation options, various non-combat activities and multiple endings,[18][19][20] however, the gameplay, bugs and technical issues were criticised.[18][20][19]

PC port received mixed to positive reviews, scoring 71 out of 100 on Metacritic.[16]

Plus version[edit]

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.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]