[PlayStation 5] SAMURAI MAIDEN Review
SAMURAI MAIDEN from D3Publishing and SHADE Inc is an action RPG that focuses on the Priestess of Harmony and a peculiar prophecy. Learn more in our SAMURAI MAIDEN review!
SAMURAI MAIDEN from D3PUBLISHER and SHADE Inc is an action RPG that focuses on the Priestess of Harmony and a peculiar prophecy. The story starts with Tsumugi wondering where she is and where she’s being taken. An angelic voice can be heard telling her that she’s a descendant of the Priestess of Harmony and that they are going to see the Demon Lord. She then wakes up in a temple that’s on fire! As she tries to escape, she meets a man that soldiers are looking for, the military leader Nobunaga Oda, which means that she has gone back in time to 1582.
Not long after, a girl named Iyo, who’s an ally of Nobunaga, arrives and recognizes Tsumugi as the Priestess of Harmony. Two other girls, Hagane and Komimi, also arrive at the temple and want to speak with you. After fighting a few enemies and rejoining Nobunaga, the three girls explain that they all saw the same prophecy where the Priestess of Harmony would come from the future to defeat the Demon Lord. From there, your journey in this adventure will begin.
The game is played from a third-person perspective, where you move Tsumugi with the left analog stick, and the right one controls the camera. The Square and Triangle buttons are used for your light and heavy attacks, while the X button allows you to jump. When your Ninja Skill bar fills up, you’ll be able to use it with the Circle button. The R1 is for evading enemy attacks. Since you’re assisted by one of the three girls, pressing up or down on the D-Pad allows you to swap between them at any time. Pressing left or right on the D-Pad will allow you to swap between the tools they have equipped.
Before starting a chapter, you’ll be able to visit the equipment menu, where you can either equip weapons or enhance them to raise their stats. This also applies to the weapons of your ninja allies. You can also visit the album, where you’ll be able to immortalize some moments with the three ninjas as long as you have reached a certain Affection level with them. In turn, taking those pictures will allow you to unlock things such as additional skills. Affection Points are given at the end of each chapter, which will vary depending on how well it went and the time you spent with the three ninjas.
Visually, the game left me with some mixed impressions. I liked the art style during the cutscenes, with colorful and vibrant characters. But during the gameplay, I felt like enemies were made of cardboard like they didn’t really have any depth to them. This was also coupled with some of the worst AI I’ve experienced in recent years. The enemies I faced were all slowly walking towards me, in a similar way as the spaceships moving down the screen in Galaga. They were just moving forward with no real intention of hitting me. Moreover, even though I passed right by them, they rarely tried to hit me, making the experience rather bland as I just had to mash the attack buttons until there were no more enemies.
The assisting Ninja, whoever it was, was also not really assisting unless I used their tools. I’m honestly not sure if they were supposed to attack enemies or not, which is odd since you can upgrade their weapons. Attacks were also incredibly clunky. It always felt like there was a moment between each button press, so chained attacks didn’t really feel very smooth.
In terms of trophies, there is a lot to do in order to get the Platinum. The list includes 20 Bronze trophies, 13 Silver trophies, and 4 Gold trophies. Each stage can be played on three difficulties, which you unlock one after the other, and you’ll have to get an S rank on all difficulties in all stages. Along with that, you’ll have to raise your Affection level with all ninjas in order to unlock all memories. Most of the other trophies are rather simple, consisting of upgrading weapons and using the different tools that you’ll come across, but there are also some that are a bit time-consuming, like the one for defeating 15,000 enemies.
SAMURAI MAIDEN could’ve been an interesting title. Unfortunately, its poor AI and loose combat make it a less-than-memorable experience. Couple that with a story that doesn’t have anything to really keep you hooked, and you’ve got yourself a game that’s hard to recommend. SAMURAI MAIDEN is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $59.99 purchase will give you access to both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game.
This SAMURAI MAIDEN review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by D3PUBLISHER.