Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword first impressions.

This is a game I started a while ago, but put down because I was busy with other games.  Well  The game is essentially diet Prince of Persia, or maybe a watered down version of The Legend of Zelda, only with controls that don't really mesh into the gameplay as well as they could. The plot is this: Princess Cherry Blossom has been kidnapped and it's your job to find her. Not the most original plot I've ever heard, especially since you play as the silent hero with a magic sword only known as the Sakura Samurai, or The Samurai Hana. Resembling Zelda a bit more yet? I'll get to that soon, but first I need to say that while the game is actually entertaining, it's got some flaws. First things first, there's no autosave. While a lot of games can get away with that, they also need to make the save points harder to completely pass up. You could potentially go through the whole game without ever entering a town and therefore never finding the inns. And while I didn't get that far, I did manage to get a decent ways into the game without knowing there was no autosave feature. Because I had other things to do, I set the game aside and later on started up a different application (I think it was the eShop) then when I came back to it I found that I had to start all over again. Which was actually good so that I could go back through the game from the beginning. I should probably get to the combat, which is the real meat of the game. It's a lot like Zelda, except that it locks into the Z/L targeting system without the option to turn it off. While you can switch into free-roaming it leave you open to attacks. That, and the fact that you can't go from locked combat to free combat smoothly. In addition to that, the camera controls are left up to the game, which winds up making it swing around wildly and frustratingly. While the combat system doesn't let you hone in on a single enemy it also keeps more than one enemy at a time from striking you. But that just seems like compensation for bad programming. You can only strike your enemies when they let their guard down, and if the movement speed of the main character was a little quicker than a snails pace while targeting then it might be a lot more fun. The main way to strike your enemies is to wait until they're gonna strike and then dodge to the left, right or back to avoid the attack and then slice them in the rib-cage. While the game isn't an RPG, it does require a bit of grinding, specifically for flawless consecutive attack dodges (Which can be exchanged at the nearest items shop for gold) and gold. This is to upgrade and maintain your sword, as well as to buy items that are almost required to finish the boss levels. Speaking of which: The boss levels consist of an endurance test against waves of enemies, and then a fight against a big guy with a huge weapon and a ton of health. Now in Zelda you get heart pieces around the world and a heart container when you beat a boss, but in this you get half a heart container whenever you beat a level. And it's the same for boss levels. All they really do is unlock the next area. There also aren't any dungeons, or side challenges to complete other than a few in the towns which just earn you money. Now, on to a few more things before I close out this weeks article: There's a garden with cherry trees in it that when you dedicate steps that you take while the 3DS is in sleep mode they bloom. The reason I'm mentioning this is that one of the villagers (Each village has exactly the same people and shops in it, just rearranged to make it harder to find the inn and shop) mentioned that when the evil warlord who kidnapped Princess Cherry Blossom is overthrown it would be nice to have something to look at. Now, I take long walks. And that means that I usually have almost 3,000 steps a day to dedicate, but only 30% of a single tree bloomed when I dedicated about that much to it. My thinking is that maybe I'll get a bad ending or something if all the trees aren't blooming, so I'll do my best to shoot for the best ending I can and see how that turns out. All in all the game needed to spend a while longer in the planning stages before being released is my opinion of it so far, but then again I really don't like sub-par Zelda clones. Zelda clones I don't mind, because I really like the Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone game, but ones that dumb down the formula don't satisfy my action adventure cravings. It's not a bad game by any means, but it's not as good as it could be. See you next week, I've got something special planned!