This blade is dull.
When I heard about a second Afro Samurai game coming I was filled with childlike glee. The first game was one of the most underappreciated of its time. The style, the violence, it all flowed so well into that universe. Oh, and it was really fun. So when Revenge of Kuma was announced, I couldn’t wait to get back into the world and continue the story I felt had ended prematurely. I was ready to bob my head to the soundtrack while annihilating enemies; instead all I did was hang my head in disappointment.
Revenge of Kuma is actually broken down into episodes. The story follows the bear head-wearing character from the series, and tells the tale of his ascent to revenge. The idea was to fill in pieces of the story that take place in between sections of the first game. It sounds great on paper, but in execution it falls flat on its face. The terrible dialogue and sub-par voice acting do nothing to draw players into the world, which is sad considering how great the original game did on that front.
MSRP: $14.99 (per episode) $44.99 (season pass)
Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC
Price I’d Pay: $2.99
The first episode also tries to end on a cliffhanger that feels more like a middle finger, at least for players patient enough to make it to the end. A boss fight begins and then the feared words crawl across the screen stating that in order to see the outcome, players will have to come back whenever the second episode arrives.
As far as game play goes it should have been a telltale sign when the day one patch addressed items such as hit detection, combat mechanics, and animations. This game is broken, even after the patch, so I am glad I never played it before it was supposedly “fixed.”
Combat in this game is atrocious. Kuma swings violently at enemies rarely actually hitting them, although the game seems to think he does. The lock on works when it wants to and no camera control makes fights infuriating. Always stuck behind objects, of course if the enemy AI was even half decent it might be impossible to beat the game, but they are often too busy running into walls to even care. There is nothing fun or rewarding about slicing enemies up in this game. Even the canned animations on finishing moves look terrible.
The game is only two hours long, but it feels much, much longer. The pacing is just bad. There are QTE segments that feel broken, forced slow-moving sections where Kuma is crawling, and the climbing is so bad that I died multiple times in the tutorial due to hit detection. This feels like an early access game, and one that needs close to a year longer in the oven.
There are a couple highlights such as the soundtrack that is produced by Wu Tang Clan veteran RZA. Some of the artwork shows signs of brilliance, but that is where it ends. The negatives far outweigh the positives, making this an impossible game to recommend.
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma: Vol. 1 is a bad, bad game. I hope the developers take note and fix these issues before releasing the next two volumes, but it almost feels beyond broken. I wanted to love it, I tried to love it, but at the end of the day it just shattered my dreams of continuing the series. Let’s hope the original gets backwards compatibility on Xbox One soon. I am really dying to dive back into this world, just not with this abomination of a game.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.