In 2005 Sony released Genji for the PS2, which garnered not much hype, and consequently attention from gamers. It was a moderately good action game that offered up some interesting aspects, but nothing really to write home about. Then last year at E3 the gaming public heard that there was to be another Genji title to come out for the PS3, to take the series deeper and further. With all this being said, going into the release date there was never much buzz for Genji, and now you go into this release kind of wondering if this game could possibly surprise you. Can Genji manage to fight his way through the lack of hype and into the lucky few PS3 owners’ hands? Read our full review to find out!
When it comes to Genji, you can now just expect that there is going to be a pretty deep and immersive storyline that is going to follow straight through the experience. Genji: Days of Blade follows the same two main characters from the last incarnation, Yoshitsune and Benkei, which to be quite honest don’t have a lot to them, in terms of backstory or interesting traits. Rather than going into all the details of the storyline, I will just say that it is constantly following this long winded adventure that at times is interesting, but for the most part just leaves you caring even less then you did when you picked up the game.
The chance of creating a hack and slash style game that goes above and beyond what people are expecting is usually quite hard. Koei has tried it often with a different look at the genre in Dynasty Warriors, and even the popular Onimusha has had some success in it but they still have not found the sweet spot fans are yearning for. Genji in a lot of ways wants to take the hack and slash genre to the next level, incorporating an Onimusha style experience with the typical Genji combat, and unfortunately these two things don’t mesh together all that well.
Genji is the type of game that starts out extremely slow with not a whole lot of variety in the abilities that you contain. In Days of the Blade you will find that a lot of your experience is based on button mashing, button mashing, and yes even more button mashing. You will go through this game taking on more and more enemies that don’t appear to be any more difficult but instead just more of them. Your abilities slowly become better but the pace of the game is so much on the slow side that it’s hard to really care.
The action which should be the key component of the game really isn’t that satisfying and thus you’re not going to find yourself wanting to put in the constant button mashing to enjoy this experience. I should mention to that not only does button mashing get old, but the camera is just absolutely horrendous. This game is for the Playstation 3 right? Well I guess the developers thought using a broken camera system from previous consoles would work with the PS3, and unfortunately for Genji that is just not the case. The camera is focussed pretty tight, so a lot of times you will be having enemies that you can’t see attacking you, which frankly should not be the case for a $60 game.
The gameplay doesn’t offer enough to keep you from ignoring the camera and enjoying the game. So to wrap the gameplay all up for you, you have the typical action found in many hack and slash games that progresses at an extremely slow pace. And then match that with the camera that seems to be your most fierce opponent in the game, and you have an experience that you’re probably not going to find much enjoyment in.
There are some things that everyone is going to enjoy in the visual department of Genji. For example the character models are absolutely gorgeous, with rich detail and just some amazing looking costumes that the series has done well with, in the past. And then there is the ill-fated camera, which for some may not be that big of a deal, but if you can’t see your enemies all the time then something is really not working right. Visually the game holds up throughout, but for what it’s worth there still should be more to this game in the visual department as well.
I have played many hack and slash games in the past, and for the most part you can usually at least enjoy them. Going through Genji really felt more like a chore rather than fun. I wanted to see something more original, more up to date in keeping with the times, but never did come across it. Genji manages to have some interesting ideas and elements, but those are all held back by some underlying issues like the camera, and the repetitive nature of this game that makes for a frustrating experience.
In the end, Genji: Days of the Blade is a game that very well could have been a fantastic launch title that ends up being a game that has such a long list of problems I am too tired to write them all out. Your millage may vary with Genji, if you don’t mind a stiff camera and have enjoy the previous Genji. But otherwise there are better PS3 games out right now to choose from.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.