More Reviews
REVIEWS The Sims 4 Get to Work Expansion Review
Electronic Arts hopes that Get to Work will make you Get to The Sims 4.

Axiom Verge Review
A single man spends five years on a solo project and the result is Axiom Verge. It was worth the effort.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Dirty Bomb Preview
Looking for a more competitive, challenging online FPS multiplayer game? Splash Damage is introducing just that by dropping a Dirty Bomb on the free-to-play game market.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
Release date: 04/01/15

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
Release date: 04/07/15


LATEST FEATURES Interview: Kevin Spacey Is A Part of Call of Duty's Evolution, Says Sledgehammer Games' Dev
At the Call of Duty World Championship, Mike Mejia explains the success of the tournament and how Call of Duty needed to evolve.

BAMF Babes #4: Kitana
She slices she dices she kicks ass!
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Top 50 Pokémon of All Time
Can you believe there are now six generations of Pokémon? Six!! That's a crazy amount of different creatures to collect. But which are the cream of the crop? Don't worry, Magikarp isn't actually one of them.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
Re-Masters - Next-Gen Backwards Compatibility?
By shandog137
Posted on 03/30/15
I am a PS3 owner and someday hope to be a PS4 owner, yet I am not at all dissatisfied with my choice to delay purchase, solely based on the current PS4 library. When I transitioned from a Playstation 1 to a Playstation 2, I was pleasantly surprised that I could for the most part rid myself of my PS1...

Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku Review

Brian_Gee By:
Brian_Gee
04/09/04
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Sega 
DEVELOPER Amaze 
RELEASE DATE  
T What do these ratings mean?

One sorry samurai.


Over the past few weeks you may have noticed an influx of samurai games passing through the GR offices. First came Seven Samurai 20XX , the lackluster brawler loosely based on the Kurosawa classic. Then came Onimusha Blade Warriors, Capcom's lackluster melee fighter based on the successful action/adventure series. Today, Mr. Mailman bringeth Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku, a lackluster action game based on the popular cartoon series.

Am I reviewing all these samurai games because of my intimate knowledge of the sword? Could it be my background in Japanese history? Or is it just the cold hard fact that I'm a glutton for punishment? Three Mountain Dews and two hours later, I've come to the realization that it's the last reason. Maybe it's time for seppuku'but first, the review.

For those of you unfamiliar with the cartoon, Samurai Jack is the story of a young samurai trained from birth to defeat the sinister, shapeshifting master of darkness named Aku. But before Jack could accomplish his task, Aku tore open a portal in time and flung Jack into the future, where Aku's evil is law. Now Jack seeks to return to the past to undo the future that is Aku.

The game features Jack's adventure in the future as he fights hordes of mechanical monsters in a basic action/platformer set up. Chop bad guys, grab power ups and collect relics to purchase minor upgrades. For those keeping score, the Start to Crate ratio is approximately 37 seconds. It's all stuff we've seen a zillion times before with Samurai Jack skins thrown over everything. Cookie-cutter franchise game - 1, Creativity - 0.

Jack is outfitted with two simple attacks, a jump and the ability to launch throwing stars and shoot arrows. There aren't very many standard attack combos and the interesting ones all must be "learned" by finding the hidden training scrolls scattered throughout the land. In addition, Jack is able to perform a dodge roll and double-jump downward slash, both of which are pretty useless as button mashing attacks do just fine.

The only thing that could remotely be construed as interesting is Jack's Zen energy meter. As Jack defeats enemies, he builds up Zen power, which he uses to unleash the deadly Sakai Attack Mode. In Sakai Attack, Jack goes into overdrive, moving faster than normal and dishing out attacks with ease as time slows. This allows you to wail on any hapless enemies in "blade time.'

Naturally, Jack mainly uses his trusty sword as he travels through the four different realms to defeat Aku. As the game progresses and Jack rescues helpless villagers, you'll be able to imbue Jack's magic weapons with the power of fire, crystal and electricity. Each uses up a little bit of Jack's Zen power, but causes 25% more damage to specific enemy types. Finding out the secret weaknesses of each enemy would be pretty helpful, but seeing how the enemies are so easy to begin with, doing more damage almost makes it feel unfair.

And when I say easy, I mean really easy. Almost all of the enemies in Shadow of Aku are pushovers for button-mashing attacks and some of them will even destroy themselves as you hold down the block button and deflect their projectiles back at them. The remaining bad boys require you to circle around to smack them in the back. Even the bosses are wimps! It's all just way too easy, especially considering that sushi life-ups are generously strewn throughout the levels.

Sadly, the unique visual style of the Samurai Jack cartoon gets lost in the 3D shuffle of Shadow of Aku. Environments are very sparse and there is little to interact with outside of the occasional destructible object or switch. The caves, forests, and cities that Jack travels to are totally plain and Jack himself just doesn't translate well into the 3D realm.

Despite low-quality visuals and a relatively low enemy count, Shadow of Aku still manages to chug along with slowdown popping up almost at random. Sometimes it will happen as you fight a group of three enemies and other times it will rear its ugly head as you simply explore the area. It isn't a show-stopping stutter, but you'll definitely wonder what's causing the mess.

If you do manage to make it to make it through the game, all you'll be rewarded with is a small art gallery and no real reason to play again. Wait, was there a reason to play it the first time?

At least the audio is top-notch. All of the original voice actors are on hand to deliver a few lines, including Phil LaMarr as the voice of Jack and the mystical Mako as the malevolent Aku. Appropriate background tracks and sword sound effects also do the jobs nicely.

With all the things Shadow of Aku does badly, nothing is more disappointing than the fact that that it doesn't capture the charm of the Samurai Jack cartoon. Jack's usually entertaining battles have been reduced to button-mashing attacks and the "story" part of this episode has been cut down to a few meaningless cutscenes. Familiar faces like the Scotsman and Mad Jack are present, but they only make brief appearances toward the end of the game.

Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku doesn't do anything good for the franchise. Ho-hum gameplay combined with simple annoyances make this game a shadow of the popular cartoon it was based on. Young samurai might be entertained for a few hours, but experienced warriors won't want to bother dirtying their blades.

D Revolution report card
  • Great voice acting
  • Weak everything else
  • Way too easy
  • Generic gameplay
  • Slowdown
  • Zero replay value
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Samurai Jack: The Shadow of Aku


More On GameRevolution