Samurai Maiden review (PS4)

When we think of D3 Publisher, we often think of the Earth Defense Force games. They’ve just launched Samurai Maiden though, so we dove in to see what it would be like – assuming maybe it’d be more like OneChanbara than EDF. The game’s out for Switch and PC as well, but we tested it on a PlayStation 4.

The premise of Samurai Maiden is rather bizarre and the game doesn’t take itself too serious. You’re cast as a young Japanese schoolgirl who suddenly finds herself in the ancient Sengoku era, and if that wasn’t strange enough you’re quickly turned into a powerful priestess destined to save the world from monsters. Not by spreading the faith, but by handling a sword and hacking up bad guys – while also engaging in a bit of romance. It’s a mashup of different elements, but embrace the silly nature of the plot and you might have a fun time with a retro-style kind of mindless action game.

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That’s because the combat, though not spectacular, was well designed. You have a range of basic move that you start out with, and gradually add to your repertoire over time. You can also tag team it up with a few buddies for some special moves – a scenario in which a little affection between characters can also supercharge your offensive abilities. Add the fact that you can upgrade not only your abilities but also your weapons, and that you can mix up your weapons, and there’s more to the combat then you’d initially think.

And while we had no problem embracing the silly story in Samurai Maiden, the delivery of said story felt a little lackluster when you take into account that this is a full price game. Visually there’s a nice anime-style flavor to the game (though it looks decidedly last-gen), but the bulk of the story is delivered through text style expositions and a lack of cinematic flair and an English dub makes the game feel like it should be a mid-priced title rather than one released alongside games like Bayonetta 3 or Call of Duty in terms of production values and price. And if you want the deluxe treatment with all the DLC, you’re paying even more than that.

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But while there are far superior games out there at its price point, Samurai Maiden would be a great game to pick up during a sale if its silly narrative premise is something that catches your fancy. The combat behind it is surprisingly engaging and the gameplay is entertaining, we’re just not so sure it should have been launched at its AAA price point.

Score: 6.4/10

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