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Samurai Sword Destiny

For: 3DS
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Blade grinder

Product: Samurai Sword Destiny | Publisher: UFO Interactive Games | Format: 3DS | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Samurai Sword Destiny 3DS, thumbnail 1
Superficially, Samurai Sword Destiny isn't a very good game. But if you plough enough time into it the carrot-and-stick mechanic eventually draws you in and propels you onwards.

As a product in which to sink some time, overcoming the blatantly poor fighting and feeling a sense of smugness as you wade further into its campaign, it is at least satisfactory.

You play as Ayane on a journey to find her brother Tetsuo - a fact I will never forget due to the number of times I was forced to revisit the introductory text. Samurai Sword Destiny isn't afraid of making you work for your meagre reward.

Ways of the warrior

Combat and movement is initially simple to the point of frustration. You move left and right, you swing a sword at enemies, and you can charge a dashing strike that is only useful once you've upgraded it later in the game. Evasion is impossible to begin with, so you wind up trading blows with enemies in the side-scrolling levels and die frequently.

With every kill you're awarded coins with which to increase Ayane's statistics, and you'll definitely need them. Acquiring new skills lets you advance, whether that's through learning a dodge move to escape enemy attacks, buffing your strength, or, most importantly, unlocking regenerating health.

Once you have a decent number of these available to you, you start to make progress through the different levels, but without them you traipse over the same areas over and over for hours, the patterns of enemies never changing as you wade towards the next unlock.

Ink-redibly bland

Doing so is a chore thanks to the game's washed-out black and white backgrounds, stiff animation, and a tiresome soundtrack.

However, with the next skill unlock usually not more than 15 minutes away, the compulsion to continue and see the end is oddly powerful. Needless to say, this fun-through-attrition gameplay won't appeal to everybody.

There are also boss fights and stages in which you constantly run and have to dodge arrows and other incoming artillery. They break up the monotony of pressing 'left' and hitting a button to hit your opponent, but they don't reward you with enough coins, which - as before - are the lifeblood of the title and all you'll care about.

If you become bored of the story you can take your character into Survival and Challenge modes, though they contain many of the same issues. The fighting just isn't that enjoyable, and the odds are firmly stacked against you until at least the four or five hour mark, depending on how you've specced your character.

But you can earn big money in these modes, as you decimate wave after wave of foe as a timer ticks down, or attempt to make it through as many levels as possible without dying, with coin multipliers stacking up as you do so.

If running through areas over and over again as you upgrade your way to success sounds like your idea of a good time, then Samurai Sword Destiny offers that in droves. Those looking for a fast-paced action game with satisfying combat will find an unchallenging and unfair slog.
Samurai Sword Destiny
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 27 June 2012
It's repetitive, bland to look at, and the fighting's a bit rubbish, but the allure of grinding levels over and over to unlock skills just about remains appealing to warrant a look for a select few
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