#EGXRezzed Preview: Afro Samurai 2: Revenge Of Kuma
It’s hard to believe it has been over half a decade since Afro Samurai last saw an outing on console. At the time his adventures were criticised due to overly complicated combat and an infuriating camera system. Afro Samurai 2:Revenge of Kuma aims to relinquish these flaws by simplifying combat and focusing on the visual variety and execution of your arsenal, as opposed to how it controls. A selection of fighting styles that you accumulate as you defeat enemies should keep things interesting. So long as each of them are varied enough to gloss over the initially repetitive combat.
The demo we played was what the developers called a “Combat Demo”. We could choose between three distinct combat styles, each with their own style of movement and executions. One particular style allowed me to execute a spin attack that decapitated every single enemy in the room, turning the necks of my rival ninjas into surreal fountains of blood. Beyond these stylized executions however combat is your generic third-person affair. You use the X button to attack and the Y button to counter, with mixed responsiveness in the build I played. The inherent simplicity of combat does however make experimenting with different combat styles a breeze.
A touch of a bumper allowed me to switch up styles mid-combat, each of them being easy to master with a host of moves unique to each of them. Some kind of visual change to accompany each transition would be appreciated; otherwise it could become difficult to keep track of what style you are currently using. Attacks unique to certain classes are often the only way of defeating more formidable enemies, encouraging experimentation in order to succeed. As I played in the confined combat arena, speakers blared hip-hop flavoured environmental damage towards me, which I could also use to defeat enemies if I timed myself correctly.
The immediately recognisable cel-shaded graphical style suites the anime roots of the franchise perfectly. It not only allows for some gratuitous ultra-violence, but also for an art direction that is both faithful and builds upon the source material. Set to expand on the story of the anime, according to publisher Versus Evil, Legend of Kuma should be on the must-play list for any hardcore fan of the franchise. Despite how brief my time with the demo was, I got a feel for the memorable aesthetic almost immediately. The ballsy approach to nudity and violence combined with a dose of feudal Japanese architectural design is an unorthodox combination, but works brilliantly here.
Developed by Redacted Entertainment, Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma looks to a promising action game, so long as it maintains a sense of variety upon its release. We are to expect exploration in the same vein as Uncharted or Lara Croft in the full game. The potential for collectibles that act as nifty references to the wider series is definitely there, and something I hope they have considered. The implementation of many playable characters, combat styles and game modes here are enough to get me excited. Afro Samurai 2: Legend of Kuma is due to release in the summer of 2015 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Now where in the hell is Samuel L Jackson?