We were looking forward to reviewing Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma, considering the original game was pretty good. Revenge of Kuma is the first game in the episodic follow-up to 2009’s well-received Afro Samurai, and if you’ve never heard of it before, the game takes place in a world where hip-hop and samurai cultures are mixed.
Revenge of Kuma introduces you to Jinno, a fighter who failed to take his own life in the first Afro Samurai. He’s now been rebuilt as a bionic warrior, Kuma, wearing stuffed teddy bear head. Kuma’s character is quite good, and the concept of being half-man half-machine could be very good. You would assume that Kuma could upgrade parts of his body, and unlock some great new abilities, but this is never really explored to a full extent.
Gameplay wise, Afro Samurai 2 is essentially a hack ‘n slash game in the same vein as God of War, but with nowhere near enough polish. There are loads of bugs, the game crashes quite a bit, AI is a little dumb (but the developers have admitted they are working on solving this) and there are a lot of points where you can pass through polygons in the levels or get stuck. It genuinely feels like this game was rushed to release, and I don’t understand why.
Combat is very clunky and there are a lot of areas where you can see the developers have been influenced by the God of War games. The combat is however nowhere near as good, and there are sections of the game where some of the quick-time-events just don’t make sense. For example, succeeding at a QTE can still mean that you get stabbed by someone, which is just weird. The boss battles are also really boring for the most part, and there are times where the game will just start you at the previous checkpoint with no real reason.
The user interface is also very odd looking. The text is oversized on every screen, and for some reason it feels like this game was supposed to be developed for PlayStation Vita, but something changed at the last second and it was instead ported to PS4. I’m not saying that’s what happened, but it definitely feels like it, because the menu system is so clunky. There are also some more minor things that are quite annoying, such as Jinno being written as Jino at times, and it definitely feels like people weren’t talking to each other when making the game.
There are a couple of goods thing about Afro Samurai 2, one is the comic-style cutscenes have good art. The other is that the music in the game is also pretty damn good, but this is a game, so without any substance to the game itself, the music is a minor thing. Some may argue the the voice acting is forced and slightly offensive, but it matches the tone of the anime well. Many may also find some of the artwork in the cutscenes quite offensive.
Your interest in Kuma’s character is lost the moment Afro Samurai 2 attempts to explore the depths of his past. As you traverse Kuma’s old stomping grounds, you’re meant to confront the phantoms of those he’s lost. You walk up to characters frozen in time while shrill screams fill the air, one after another. Revenge of Kuma doesn’t go to the trouble of working for your sympathy; it naively demands it.
This game can be completed in a couple of hours, and honestly is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. If you’re a fan of the anime, please don’t get sucked into purchasing this game. The graphics look like what you’d see in a PS2 game, and there is a lot of slowdown. There is very little that is good about it, and I’m sure the OST will be available at some point if it isn’t already.
- Replay Value