First look demos with Johnathan Kroncke

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By Johnathan Kroncke

By Johnathan Kroncke

Samurai swords and lots of blood. Sounds good to me.

Enter “Genji: Dawn of the Samurai” for Playstation 2. It’s a run-and-gun third-person adventure game, without the gun.

Yoshitsune is a young samurai warrior equipped with a mythical gem stone. This stone, known as an Amahagane, allows the user to use the power of Kamui, providing an intense but short-lived burst of speed and strength.

Using this power, Yoshitsune can take down a group of Heishi samurai before they even see him move. The Heishi are a new ruling class of samurai who have taken over the land from the Genji. They command respect with an iron fist and garner fear with the edge of their sword.

The Heishi are in pursuit of every last Amahagane, seeking immortality and power beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Along with Benkei, a man who walks tall and carries the biggest stick I have ever seen, Yoshitsune sets out to right the wrongs in the world and restore peace to his homeland.

As with most adventure games, this one provides the player with endless hordes of enemies to massacre as well as small items to hunt down such as healing herbs and other items to help increase strength and stamina.

Ok, first the good. “Genji: Dawn of the Samurai” is a very fun game if you are looking to slaughter hundreds of faceless enemies without batting an eye. The controls are very similar to those of “Metal Gear Solid” for the Playstation. They are basic and designed in a way that game veterans can enjoy and newbies will understand.

Combos can be linked together by repeatedly pressing the square button while the triangle button allows only one powerful attack that counters an enemy’s strike. This is perfect for button-mashers who are only concerned with making sure that anything that moves dies.

Unfortunately, it is not significantly different from many other samurai games already out. “Genji” plays and feels a lot like “Onimusha,” the popular samurai game from Capcom which spawned two sequels. However, “Onimusha” is a much more involved game with a deeper story and more interesting characters.

In fact, the only major distinction between “Genji” and any other samurai adventure game for the PS2 is that the graphics are far behind the others. Like the controls, the graphics are also on par with “Metal Gear Solid,” making game play look as though it is on the original Playstation. “Onimusha,” “Samurai Western” and other fighting games of the like make use of the PS2’s capabilities but “Genji” fails in that respect.

The other complaint that gamers will have with this one is that it feels too short. Levels only take a few minutes to beat and while the demo is the only thing out at the moment, it seems like just another quick run-through.

The bottom line for “Genji: Dawn of the Samurai” is that it is an interesting game with some fun sword slashing action but it is not the best of its kind. This one is not as pretty and not as involved as its siblings in the same genre, making it worthy of nothing more than a rental. While it is fun, it is not worth the money to own.

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