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Sword of the Samurai (DOS)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  kyuzo (18)
Written on  :  Oct 03, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
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Summary

This is why Sid Meier is one of the greats. The best game about Samurai ever.

The Good

The endless variety of paths one can take, as well as the management of your character's skills and possessions, is an approach that feels unique to this day. The various mini-games don't ever seem to get old. There is a definite feeling that you control the destiny of a samurai family in their rise to power. The brilliantly balanced combination of ease and depth of play make it a game you can play for a few minutes or for hours on end.

The Bad

The controls start to get a little sloppy when you're in the top-down combat mode. Sword duels are always a little easy if you just keep hacking at your opponent. I've never figured out how you can't recruit more samurai when you control most of Japan, but then one of your daimyos rebels and suddenly has more samurai than you. There are tricks to the battles that make them almost a sure victory, even when tremendously outnumbered.

The Bottom Line

The best simulation of the life of a samurai made, Sword of the Samurai combines action, adventure, and strategy elements to create a compelling look at life in feudal Japan. Starting as a lowly vassal, the player has to develop their skills, honor, and army to advance up the ranks of their clan to become daimyo, and then must attempt to conquer enough of Japan to declare themselves Shogun. Easy to play yet with depth and complexity to make it tremendously replayable. A true classic, and one that every gamer should have the pleasure of experiencing.