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Samurai Sword Destiny - 3DS Download Review

Game Info
Samurai Sword Destiny

3DS Download | UFO Interactive | 1 Player | Out Now | $5.99 / £5.40
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11th April 2012; By Patrick

The hack-'n'-slash genre of games has been widely panned, being judged simply as nothing more than a mindless series of button mashing with absolutely no skill involved. Key genre franchises such as
Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors (or really any other Tecmo Koei games with Warriors in the title) are completely disregarded and are typically poorly received critically based on the type of gameplay for the price. Now on the Nintendo eShop, the game Samurai Sword Destiny attempts to bring the same style of sword-swinging action to the 3DS, for a considerably lower price. While the game remains fun, there are unfortunately quite a few balance issues.

    Upon launching the game, the first thing you will probably notice is the 3D. Unlike many other 3DS games that utilize depth more than "pushing" visuals off of the screen, Samurai Sword Destiny opts almost exclusively for the opposite, with most of the game taking place above the screen. If your eyes are not used to this type of 3D, this might be slightly disorienting at first, however most eyes will adjust with time. The 3D is very well done and compliments the beautiful and stylized art that the game uses. Animations are fluid, and all three visual components sync up together in harmony. Sound effects are well-implemented, with a satisfyingly violent sound effect playing whenever you cut through an enemy. This complements the Japanese-influenced rock-like soundtrack, which is enjoyable to listen to either in or out of context of the game itself.

    Samurai Sword Destiny's gameplay is strung together in a very linear fashion. As you progress from stage to stage, you are told the story of your character, Akane, and her quest to find her brother. The narrative is never the main focus for both you and the game, with the title allowing for any scene in it to be skippable with the Start button. Between levels you have the ability to upgrade either Akane or your Katanas with gold that you get by killing enemies. Unfortunately, the high difficulty spikes between each level means that grinding is highly necessary at some points, which might irritate players due to the linear structure of the game.

    There are two types of levels in the game. The first is the hack-'n'-slash style, in which you are tasked with defeating hordes of enemies before traveling further right across the screen to rinse and repeat. The gameplay itself works well, with enemies quickly spawning to create the feeling of being critically outnumbered.

    You, the player, possess several attacks (with the number of attacks increasing as the game progresses), however you will only use one; and herein lies the biggest problem the game has. The game is incredibly difficult and unfair, to the point where only one of your attacks stands a reasonable chance against the opponents. Not only does this lead to a bit of monotony, but the attack is incredibly overpowered. By quickly sword swiping, you not only dash (which allows you to progress faster), but you do one attack's worth of damage to any enemy you go through. It doesn't just stop there. You literally become invincible during the attack, which means that by simply sword swiping left and right across the screen, the entire game loses its fun value.

This can be avoided by grinding and grinding to gain the coins needed to gain more power, but no player in their right mind would spend hours hacking and slashing away so that the game can be more enjoyably played when they are given an incredibly overpowered attack to begin with. This one design flaw completely derails most of the game and makes it considerably less enjoyable. However, if one does
play through the game -- grinding on earlier stages before being able to play the game as intended -- it becomes considerably more entertaining. Unfortunately, this is not conducive to a handheld game, and especially not one of this nature.

    The other type of gameplay is a sort of on-rails action game. In theory, it is a fast-paced test of your reflexes as you dodge attacks and kill enemies. In reality, it is a different type of monotony to break up the other types of monotony. Fun for the first few times, the levels that only have three different hazards quickly grow weary on the player. You either have to slash arrows out of the way, dodge falling rocks, or kill enemies. All of this can be done by either walking left or right, or by hitting A with good timing -- and when I say "good timing", what I really mean is "anytime close to correct", as there is much room for error.

    Even keeping in mind that this game is clearly flawed, I must confess that I still enjoyed my time with it. I am unsure of why, but my personal experience was definitely positive overall. If you know you like similar taste in games as me or simply have a high interest in this game, then please go ahead and ignore the below score and try this game out. You might not be that disappointed.

16/30 - Below Average

Gameplay 5/10 - Not bad but not good, repetitive, functional for the most part, unbalanced attack removes need for all other abilities
Presentation 8/10 - 3D effect almost entirely off-screen, art style fluid and snazzy, sound effects great, soundtrack enjoyable
Enjoyment 2/5 - Very monotonous, almost the definition of average, enjoyment still possible, only two types of stage, grinding can become bothersome
Extra Content 1/5 - Only two types of levels blended together, character and weapon upgrades available but need to grind endlessly

Equivalent to a score of 53% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

Samurai Sword Destiny
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