Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time Review

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We have recently seen a bunch of incredibly failed adaptations of intellectual properties with a certain fame, and most commonly this happens with anime-based products. In a not too distant place, there are the adaptations of American series, which does not happen much in the world of electronic entertainment. When was the last time you saw, for example, a game from The Amazing World of Gumball or Steven Universe? You probably have knowledge of any whatever mobile version lost out there, or even relatively new games like Adventure Time for the current generation of consoles. In fact, that adaptations of TV series usually result in very questionable and often poorly made products, often not bringing fun or even good news for players in the genre.

Samurai Jack, by Genndy Tartakovsky, is a remarkable series because of the Cartoon Network, and for many years, it was successful along with other CN icons like Jhonny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog, etc. When I heard that they would make an adaptation of this much loved cartoon for the video game market, I was terrified of what was coming. Even more for having seen promotional trailers that showed the game would be something within the hack ‘n slash genre, a very difficult formula to master if you don’t exactly understand the secrets of success in this type of gameplay – well, actually this is needed for everything.

The latest video game based on the Tartakovsky’s work brings a parallel story where Jack is launched into the future by Abu, but returns to the past and must defeat several of his former enemies in the cartoon, before eliminating the great evil that is, of course, Abu. The plot takes place after the end of the original plot and its ending in the TV series, and it probably won’t make much sense or even build empathy with newcomers if they’re unaware of Samurai Jack’s lore.

The game was brought to us by the developer Soleil and is a pleasant surprise for me. It has mixed already seen elements of the hack ‘n slash genre, while getting through almost all the danger of repetition through a quick and above average combat. Besides the high quality of Jack’s moves and strokes using combos and combinations, the game relies heavily on upgrades divided into three categories: spirit, combat and physical improvements. Thus, passive abilities, available combos, and powers necessary to – physically reach certain treasure chests and so. These improvements require skill points or Bushido points along with other rare item found during levels, within chests or defeating enemies. Another way to get these points to perform upgrades is by completing in-game challenges, which grant the player a good amount of these points.

Apart from the very intense focus on battles and defeat of hordes through Jack’s iconic magic sword and other completely absurd armaments found or purchased out there. There are some platform moments that bring little difficulty, but manage to break through the hordes of enemies that arrive nonstop. At the end of each stage, your ranking is shown, which raises if no support items have been used, if you never died or you have accumulated a high number of downed enemies and finished the stage as quickly as possible.

Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time reminds me a lot of games in the Ninja Gaiden franchise, specifically the 3D ones. It’s as if it were a blending of God of War and Ninja Gaiden, especially in moments of isolated fighting where, to unlock the invisible gate/wall, it’s necessary to defeat all enemies in that area. When it comes to exploration – in a more superficial way – Jack can find hidden chests, friends who grant him useful items, or his colleague Da Samurai’s store. In this store, it’s possible to purchase consumable items, improvements to equipment and ammunition for long-range weapons. Boss fights and even common enemies are quite challenging, even in standard difficulty. However, once combat and the parry system are mastered, your chances of survival increase, even if the accuracy of these movements does not work as well as supposed and is not sufficiently agile at the most of the time.

Despite all this, even if Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time follows a formula that was quite successful in past console generations like the PS2 and the first Xbox, the game can easily fall into repetition for those who prefer more diversity. The gameplay loop remains constant, and revolves around that same stuff: destroying hordes of enemies, walking a few distances, quickly exploring the area to find items and destroying a final boss of it. Another annoying factor for many can also be the durability of weapons, which break after a short period of use – except your main sword. So if you are not the type who can ignore this sorte of problems, look for another game. Otherwise, the newest adaptation from one of the best cartoons ever certainly will have a place in your heart. Finally, the game ends up being just something considered good, but far from spectacular. However, it lives up to the name of Samurai Jack.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time Review
  • Gameplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Graphics - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sound - 8/10
    8/10
  • Replay Value - 6/10
    6/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Overall
7/10

Summary

Samurai Jack’s game is a mix of God of War and 3D Ninja Gaiden, but ends up being something only good enough to live up to Jack’s name.


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