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  opened by paleface at 22:38:58 10/09/05  
  last modified by paleface at 12:27:18 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Adventure; reg=NA]
Strictly speaking, this game is subtitled "Dawn of the Samurai" in Western countries, but damn me if that isn't one of the stupidest subtitles I've ever heard. What the hell is a dawn of samurai? The story for this game is set in twelfth century Japan (roughly--the characters are fictional, anyway, I think), and there were certainly samurai around before that. I suppose it was some marketing droid at SCEA or somewhere who came up with the thing strictly as a way to get "Samurai" in the title. Ka-ching! Hell, they should have just gone for the money with "Genji: Win Free Sex."
So anyway, you get past the subtitle and intro thing setting the medieval Japan stage, and there you are rampaging around with your two-sword-wearing samurai boy who carries a magic stone and talks to rocks. A strict warrior faction has seized political power in Japan, and you've got to help the rebel hippies who don't like the state of things. Fortunately, you're secretly a prince or something, and don't forget that magic rock you have--when powered up and activated, it handily lets you deflect and counter incoming attacks with timely presses of the normal attack button. There's also some other guy you control now and then, apparently--a big guy with a club--but I got to him and he kicked my butt and I hadn't saved, so I didn't get a chance to control him.
Hopefully you have noticed that this game does not have the most original story. And aside from the magic rock counter-attacking thing, which really isn't all that inventive anyway, the action consists of mashing attack and jump buttons to slice people up. And then you've got generous doses of standard action/RPG stuff like running around and talking to people who don't notice that you're burglarizing their house, and navigating back and forth between story points on a little map screen.
Which, you know, all seems perfectly fine. I'm not incredibly stoked to get into the game, as I don't expect to find a whole lot of new and amazing stuff in it, but it seems pretty well put together at least, and, yes, the graphics are pretty--they did a good job with foliage, in particular. Genji is the first game from ex-Capcom Street Fighter dude Yoshiki Okamoto's new company, Game Republic, and it seems they went a kind of conservative route for their first effort. Hopefully they get a little more daring in the future.
Oh, while the Western subtitle sucks, the localization did do one thing well: they stuck with the Japanese voices. This helps maintain the atmosphere of medieval Japan, and goes a long way in making you feel the whole samurai thing going on. English subtitles are provided. Good decision on this.
Also, I was going to bitch about the main character: two full-size swords? Sucker looks silly walking around with two large sheathes hanging straight off his hips, one on each side. Getting through doorways and stuff could be a real bitch with a setup like that. For the most part the character models look good, but that part is dumb. Oh, and he has a stupid haircut, too: a sort of "I chop my hair with my swords" mullet, with weird gravity-defying dreadlock rat-tails. I kid you not. If this was historically accurate, I bet he'd be getting his ass kicked every time he walked down the street.
  paleface 22:45:00 10/09/05
Download added: power_up.gif (105321 bytes)
  "You stick rocks in this thingy to power up stats. Whee."
Err, that would be cherry blossom festival. Sheesh.

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