Namco Bandai treated Comic-Con attendees to a playable — but all too brief — demo of Afro Samurai, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 title based on the manga of the same name. The demo, which feels like an early, tutorial-style level, helps get the player up to speed on the fighting mechanics in a tight, enclosed portion of a Japanese village. After a brief voiceover from character Ninja Ninja, voiced with super salty language by Samuel L. Jackson, Afro Samurai is set loose on a steady stream of sword wielding bad guys. The attack system is rather straightforward, using the X and Y buttons for light hits and heavy hits respectively. Afro jumps with A and kicks with B. Blocking is performed with the right trigger, but it's the left trigger that makes the combat more interesting.This puts Afro into in-focus mode, turning the game world black and white and slowing down the action. Instead of tapping the X and Y buttons to form strings of combos — we saw some quick combos pop up during loading screens — you'll hold down the X or Y button then release when you feel a rumble to perform a deadly horizontal or vertical slash. You'll see a gleaming white line streak across your target's body as you charge your slash. Connect, and you'll slice your target in half. You'll get a rather grisly, yet comical view of your opponent's insides. There's no shortage of blood or gore, but it's implemented well. At one point, we entered "Over Focus" mode, in which Afro sprinted from foe to foe, performing one-hit kills with far less effort. That particular sequence felt pre-scripted, as some two dozen bad guys descended from the rooftops just prior to our Over Focus attack. Our demo ended soon after this batch was laid to waste. The end of the demo introduced us to Brother Six of The Empty Seven, giving Sam Jackson as Ninja Ninja another opportunity to drop some F-bombs. Afro Samurai does action rather well, at least in the small taste we had. What it doesn't do as well is offer a perfect camera. We lost track of evil swordsmen and ninja, clicking the right analog stick to recenter, more than a few times. It may have been due to the tight surroundings, but could have a big impact on how swordplay works out in the end. The game's graphics are just stunning, capturing the look of the manga accurately, giving it a softer, pencil-sketch look that impresses on many levels. It may be worth the price of admission to see it in action, because it looks simply fantastic. The eye candy, which extends to the glorious killing of many enemies, will be a big draw for those unfamiliar with the property.
@ApertureScienceIntern: Truth be told I'd never even seen the show prior to hearing about the game...and to date I've still only watched a single episode. I was just completely taken in by the visuals of the game as well as the prospect of some genuinely high production values spread across music, VO, and story.
And like Wild Homes, I'm a sucker for samurai games.