PS2 Samurai Western
Genre: Action
By: Andy Levine

Coming soon from Atlus games is the nonstop action adventure known only as Samurai Western. You play a Japanese samurai warrior who must battle his way through the old west in order to make up for previous injustices. Fighting your way through saloons, corrals, and every other part of a typical Spaghetti Western movie, Samurai Western proves itself to be a decent game in a popular genre.

The gameplay is almost identical to that of Devil May Cry 3; youll always find yourself stabbing something or getting shot at by someone. Theres never a dull moment, which makes the game fairly intense. The controls are pretty simplistic though; square is your only attack button, and to perform combos all you can do is hit square really fast. By using R1 you can use your sword to deflect bullets, and by hitting circle you can roll on the ground to dodge attacks. If you kill enough enemies, you can become a supercharged Samurai that will kill everything, except bosses, in one hit. The boss battles are much like the regular kill 300 guys without getting touched battles, except they have a lot more health. Its very easy to learn how to play this game, but unfortunately there isnt enough depth for the more hardcore gamers. Between levels you can acquire new swords, skills, and even a few new outfits, but once you get past the subtle enhancements these items offer, Samurai Western will have the same primitiveness that youll become familiar with right from the start.

Some very violent special effects combined with richly detailed environments can lead to a rather good looking game. When the samurai lunges his sword through an enemy cowboy, blood spurts out of his stomach like a fountain. While having the bullets travel at slow speeds is very unrealistic, it not only makes them easier to dodge, but it creates a Matrix like effect. In no time youll easily find yourself jumping and diving to avoid endless rounds of bullets, each of them leaving a jet stream in the air for you to track the source. The environments have rich textures, but more importantly they are highly interactive. From being able to break down wooden balconies to jumping around on rooftops, youll find that the environment has a large role in the gameplay. While the character animations in the cut scenes are gut wrenching, throughout the actual game youll find that the characters move much smoother. Other than that, Samurai Western is one of the better looking games for PS2.

Trying to blend Japan with Western America is not an easy thing to do, and you can tell this from the audio in the game. Sometimes the background music will seem like the typical quiet Asian sounds, while other times youll hear something similar to a modernized Bonanza theme song. Your enemies all scream the same taunts at you, but hopefully the final release will improve upon that. The audio doesnt suffer horribly though; your sword always makes a clean-cut sound as you stab it into your enemies gut. Aside from some lame music and an invariable dialogue, the sound manages to make the game feel more intense; just dont expect to be thrilled by the 5.1 Surround Sound.

In conclusion, Samurai Western is a Devil May Cry 3 clone full of mindless killing. The controls are much simpler than other games in this genre, which isnt bad if you can get past the repetitiveness. If youre even looking to kill an army of cowboys with a samurai sword, then you should anticipate the release of Samurai Western, coming soon to retailers near you.