Afro Samurai Preview
Afro Samurai has quickly amassed popularity with a dedicated viewerbase that loves watching this quirky, gritty, and yet brutal anime. Starring Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Afro and Ninja Ninja, it didn't take long for Afro Samurai to spawn a videogame, as the show premiered on Spike TV merely a year ago, in 2007. Namco-Bandai is at the helm of the title, and from what we gather, it's coming along well.
The videogame will, essentially, be a full-fledged episode that plays out through your hands. The gameplay is a mixture of games like Ninja Gaiden, with a slight focus on platforming. Because the cartoon's style is heavily based on mixing Japanese culture with American hip-hop, music plays an integral part in the gameplay, as well. Put together by RZA, of the Wu-Tang Clan, and Chuy Gomez, the soundtrack in the background will directly influence the enemy's artificial intelligence, and alter certain gameplay elements.
As mentioned, Afro Samurai will be a fast paced action game that features, what Namco-Bandai like to call, "Elegant Violence." This elegant violence is features a fusion of stylistic combat, with acrobatics - reminiscent of games like Heavenly Sword, Devil May Cry, and Ninja Gaiden. In keeping with the brutality of the anime, Afro can slice and dice with his samurai-sword, leading to the dismembering of your enemy dynamically. By dynamic, we mean that you don't just cut off an arm or a leg, so dismembering is not pre-determined. If you slice an enemy's legs a few times during a barrage of attacks, you'll see the effects of that, as it'll be cut up into more than one piece. Gruesome, I know, but the game isn't meant for the faint of heart, or anyone under 17.
Because the Afro Samurai game is directly related to the anime, the story will tie-in to the TV series and evolve from it. Namco-Bandai call the story a "tale of revenge", and state that there will be new material and backgrounds for all to enjoy. Afro's journey is to avenge the murder of his father, and all he knows is that whoever did it, is also the possessor of the #1 Headband.
In addition to RZA and Chuy Gomez performing soundtrack duties, other audio duties such as the anime's original voice actors will be in full-force here. Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his role as both Afro and Ninja Ninja. While it's yet to be confirmed, expect Ron Pearlman and Kelly Hu to also reprise their respectful characters of Justice and Okiku.
Visually, the Afro Samurai videogame is staying very true to its anime counterpart, as the game refrains from looking overly next-gen, and instead opts to boast a unique art style with unique shading and texturing to appease fans of the show. The environment is open-world, and Afro has the ability to interact with everything in it, so we look forward to seeing how that pans out.
Afro Samurai is scheduled for a release later on this Fall. The game is showing a lot of promise, and fans of the show will likely react well to it.
5/22/2008 Arnold Katayev