GENJI: Days of the Blade Preview (PS3)

One of the most anticipated games for the PS3, Genji: Days of the Blade (or Genji 2), has recently released a demo on the PS3 marketplace. Having the opportunity to learn about “actual Japanese history” and “battles,” it was impossible to resist.

At E3, Sony set the stage for the PS3. They undoubtedly did a poor job at the show, but if there’s anything to remember from it, its these three things: “Riiiiiiidge Racer!,” “599 US dollars,” and “attack its weak point for massive damage.” If anything received the most rebuke, it was the complete idiocy of how giant crabs were part of Japanese history.

Other than just being a very poor example of how to show off your game, the Genji 2 showing at E3 stated that weapons changing will take place in real time. At first, this sounded like an intriguing idea. How much more realistic can you get once characters don’t suddenly have different weapons in their possession?

Wrong again. Genji 2’s weapon change system is in real time, but it is not real weapons change. Samurai Yoshitsune won’t put his swords in their sheaths and take out a different weapon. He’ll suddenly have one weapon in his hand, then the next instant have the other. I don’t see how something like this is phenomenal in any respect. Real-time weapons change it is; real weapons change it isn’t.

Regardless of Sony’s poor judgment on what to relay (and how to relay it) to the public, the game isn’t that beam of light that the PS3 was praying for. Hack and slash gameplay leaves little to think about or actually do, other than pushing one of the two attack buttons repeatedly.

The camera movement was a huge annoyance, mainly because it was impossible to see people half the time. No, it isn’t because the character got in the way, it’s because the camera takes a poor 2nd person perspective over the shoulder, and it doesn’t move at all.

Thankfully a ‘radar’ was included that shows where all the nearby enemies are, because otherwise it would be impossible to know. But for a game that’s taking the ‘realistic’ route, is expecting to see the enemies you’re fighting against really so much to ask?

Genji 2 also features something called Kamui, a special power which freezes time and allows you to attack multiple enemies with super strong attacks or defend against stronger adversaries doing the same to you. Of course, all it requires is pushing the correct button at the correct time, so knowing the button scheme is mightily important. What skill it requires is negligible though, and if anything, laughable.

Animations and textures come out very nicely, thankfully, and really shine compared to the list of available PS3 games. However, the nice graphics do not make up for the almost completely mindless gameplay.

With only two brief levels to play and limited abilities to use, the demo was nothing special. It was making sure ‘I don’t die’ that seemed to be the only challenge, and all that was necessary to stop that was to dodge out of the enemy’s path and take them one by one.

Is Genji: Days of the Blade a bad game? Probably not. Is it worth getting? If you enjoy that type of gameplay or are a huge fan of the Genji universe, then probably yes. And of course, if you want to see a giant enemy crab, all that need be done is download the demo for yourself and get to the second level. Then try to attack its weak point for massive damage.

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