Ancient Japanese heroes running around in beautifully designed armour with swords and various other exotic weapons may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like fast moving games with breathtakingly gorgeous graphics and a storyline to keep you riveted to your seat, then Genji: Days of the Blade is all that and more.
Having played the first game in this franchise, Genji: Dawn of the Samurai I have to say that there are obvious improvements with the PS3 version but also some noticeable letdowns.
Graphically, this game should (and will) blow its predecessor out of the water. Personally, I couldn’t stop babbling about the crisp, clear and smooth graphics, environments and almost non-existent loading times.
The cut scenes are elegantly designed and the level of detail really is quite amazing. Beauty and aesthetics to one side, movement in the game gave me a bit of a niggling feeling that just didn’t subside.
When chasing your opponents, you can’t control the camera angles at all so you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place where freedom of movement is concerned. If you move too far up, you risk losing sight of enemies around you or above you, which isn’t good. The top right-hand side of the screen displays a mini-map that gives you a rough indication of where you’re situated and clearly displays enemy positions, but it’s just not as good as being able to move the camera angles in line with your characters’ movement in the game.
Genji: Days of the Blade brings back familiar heroic characters - Yoshitsune and Benkei, both from the previous game. In total, there are four heroes you can play in the game, each with specific strengths and weaknesses. Yoshitsune has always been my favourite to play (simply because he’s pretty, deadly and fast), but each character is built for different stages of the game depending on the challenges you face.
The storyline is great and is extremely involved. The dialogue is well scripted and seems to flow. The voice acting is also superb (for an authentic gaming experience, try changing the voices to Japanese and playing with the subtitles on).
In almost every other area, I found Genji: Days of the Blade to be the superior game, building on an already firmly established franchise. Although Genji: Days of the Blade isn’t necessarily earmarked as one of the bigger PS3 release titles to date, I’m more than happy to say that this game is actually one of the better fighting games available. The hacking and slashing doesn’t seem tedious, the storyline and characters are well established and all neatly packaged into one aesthetically pleasing game.