One of the ways I find new games to play is by pulling them out of the bargain bin at the store. I like GameStop for that reason. It has a bargain bin. I think Way of the Samurai was one of those games that I found on sale, I read the back, and I got a kick out of it, so I bought it. At least, that’s what I think. O_O The box art is pretty evocative, it has the silhouette of a samurai standing on a hillside. It was worth $10 to find out if it was any good.

The story is basically that of Yojimbo — a nameless stranger wanders into a town overrun by two rival gangs. One is led by an honorable old samurai, and the other is led by his rebellious son. The old man is the diplomatic type, and the young man is brash and irresponsible. You can play one side against the other, choose a side, or ignore the entire conflict and just kill some dudes. There are half a dozen endings, and as I recall, the best one involves most of the cast dying valiantly while fighting off wave after wave of government soldiers.

The gameplay is passable. I mean, it’s hack-and-slash romp. The main replay value is in collecting different weapons — you can carry up to three swords, or weapons, with you, which you save between play-throughs via New Game Plus. By practicing the “timed blocking” mechanic, you can perform a “perfect block” against enemy special attacks. Basically it means once you’ve blocked a special attack, you automatically block it from then on — with that weapon only.

Characterization was pretty awful, the characters were so flat a stiff breeze could’ve knocked them over, but you know what? I enjoyed the game well enough. If I had time and weren’t playing a dozen other games, I’d love to pick up wherever I left off last time. It keeps track of your kills, and I think I’d racked up over 6,000. I gotta go for 10k, though, so I can say my kills are over nine- you get the idea.