E3 2008: Afro Samurai Combat Impressions

Brutal dismemberment never looked so pretty! We watch Afro Samurai slice up thugs like it's going out of style.

Afro Samurai is a bloody tale of betrayal and revenge set in a stylish futuristic imagining of medieval Japan. Originally an anime miniseries, it is now coming to consoles and bringing with it the powerful story and voice-acting talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Perlman, and Kelly Hu. In his quest to avenge the death of his father, Afro must slash, slice, and sever his way through legions of foes, so much of the game is focused on brutal sword combat. We checked out Namco Bandai's E3 2008 booth and got a good, long look at just how nasty Afro can be.

Basic combat is a simple matter of combining three different attack buttons with jumps and blocks to unleash combos on your myriad foes. The light attack strikes horizontally, the heavy attack strikes vertically, and the kick attack rounds it all out. Afro can combine these strikes in a wide variety of ways to hack at his opponents, though all but the weakest thugs will likely block and make things trickier for our big-haired hero. Jumping into the fray opens up a new set of attacks, and if you manage to jump directly on top of a foe, Afro will perch on his shoulders and deliver a nasty killing blow that may be as clean as plunging his sword through the enemy's eye, or as messy as stomping the enemy's face to a pulp.

When things begin to get a little tougher for Afro, he can activate focus mode. In this mode, Afro's world turns black and white. Holding the trigger and one of the sword attack buttons, the player can use the analog stick to position a white line on the target's body and determine where Afro will strike. Timing the strike is key, and you'll will have to match your release with a flash of light that travels along Afro's sword. Executed properly, this attack will sever the enemy along the line the player designated and won't resort to canned animations that don't quite line up. We watched as Afro sliced off scalps, cut foes off at the knees, and chopped through torsos with grisly variety.

As his opponents continue to grow more numerous, Afro Samurai can engage his over-focus power to create death even more efficiently. In this mode, Afro moves so fast that his opponents appear to be moving in slow motion, and every attack is a deadly slice that will kill its target instantly. Focus and over-focus won't be available in unlimited supply, and Afro will have to allow them to recharge between bouts. Still, they look to provide a fantastic amount of gore in a delightful variety of ways, and we're definitely looking forward to taking Afro's sword out for a spin. Slated to release later this year, Afro Samurai sports some of the most stylish combat at E3 2008, and we'll be sure to bring you more anime action as soon as we can get it.

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Chris_Watters

Chris Watters

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.
Afro Samurai

Afro Samurai

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31 comments
gamerdude122
gamerdude122

It looks cool. It is extremely gory. Before I wasn't too interested but now I am paying just a little bit more attention to it.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

I want to get my hands on this, the anime was so cool.

leofiregod
leofiregod

love the series. didn't know til just now that there would be a game. gonna have to play this

aduana69
aduana69

looks cool but the afro is not my style

grambyte
grambyte

Sounds great that's for sure. Hope it lives up to the name.

IIJuggaNottII
IIJuggaNottII

I'm ready for this. I thought it would be released this year. Well....I'll be in the wing waiting for this title.

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

Behold, Ryu Hyabusa in the anime style!! I hope it turns out good and from the sound of it, so it seem!!

poltoja
poltoja

I am soooo excited. It would be really cool if they remade Ghost in the Shell for the 360.

Zerobeam
Zerobeam

If the game is anything like the anime, its going to be top notch, I hope its done in an open world instead of being split into levels though.

MetalMan300
MetalMan300

Doesnt look too p[romising to me, but it may be the best title ever made for a game.

Wise-Men
Wise-Men

I always thought this would make a great game. Let's hope the potential isn't wasted.

axxez94
axxez94

His name isent "Afro" the series is only called afro samurai based on a anime.With L jacksson and other guys

Lexxzilla
Lexxzilla

I can't wait to beat up on the crying teddybear!

HolteEnder4Life
HolteEnder4Life

the anime series was awsome, so i hope they do it justice!

Foppe
Foppe

This is one of those games that I will buy just because of the name.

Pete5506
Pete5506

The game looks fun, and the name is funny too

carstairs
carstairs

The sheer awesomeness of this astounds me, from the title to the concept.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

@playstation_wii: a dad who likes Afro hairstyle?

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

A game called Afro Samurai can't disappoint! :o

iloveflash
iloveflash

Sounds alright. The anime was okay so I have a feeling the game might be the same.

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Wow the name says it all. Who names their kid Afro though?

OrionMD
OrionMD

looks freaking sweet. gonna keep my eye on this for sure