doctorsage's Samurai Sword Destiny (Nintendo 3DS eShop) review

$6 is $7 too much for this game

Wolpaw's Law states that that when reviewing a bad game, there is a point where the reviewer can quit because nothing that comes after that point could redeem the game. Can you see where I’m going with this? I never got past the first boss in Samurai Sword Destiny. And for all I care, it could turn into a really great action game after the first boss and it wouldn’t be enough to change my opinion.

My biggest complaint is that the combat isn’t very good, which is already a gamebreaker considering this is an action game. The idea, as far as I could see, you can either use buttons or slash across the touchscreen to attack. Here’s what I did: I pushed my stylus from one side of the screen to the other until everything was dead and then I pushed right on the circle pad.

Sometimes I got lucky and I didn’t get hit enough to die, and other times the enemy attack animations kicked my ass. You get coins for killing enemies, and when you die, they still stack. You can use coins to upgrade your character and your weapons, so the only way I was able to proceed was from sheer attrition.

It’s sort of like the Dead Rising games, except it’s entirely possibly to continue if you’re good enough in those games. In Samurai Sword Destiny, whether you continue or not is entirely based around luck and how much free time you have. But apparently the developers realized that constant slashing and then pushing right would be dull but didn’t feel like programming in any other mechanics, so they put in a level where you have to move back and forth to avoid boulders and occasionally slash to kill archers or destroy their arrows. To add insult to injury, the controls aren’t even that responsive. About 20% of the time, the touchscreen refused to register my slashes.

The only upgrade I ended up purchasing for my character (because I really didn’t want to play this game any more than I had to before writing this review) was a health regeneration power because I just did not feel like dying any more. I initially hoped that it would make the game a lot more fun to play, but it was not to be. Health regenerates at an almost aggressively slow rate, and only while you’re standing still. So at one point during the reviewing process, I set down my 3DS while my character’s health recharged from a very low point. I went downstairs, cooked and ate a bagel (about 7 minutes, bagels aren’t that big), gave my dog some water, and came back upstairs to find that the health bar was about 99% complete.

The final straw with Samurai Sword Destiny was a boss fight where the aforementioned enemy attack animations made the game almost unplayable unless I wanted to play for the two hours necessary to get enough coins so my health would go up. Even then, I couldn’t be sure how much help that would be. It’s artificial gameplay lengthening at its worst.

As with all downloadable games, I try and give it a little leeway based on the release conditions. After all, I’m only paying six dollars to play this. I don’t judge it by the same standards as a sixty dollar AAA game, or even a Xbox Live Arcade title. I judge it based on how much fun I had.

I had no fun with Samurai Sword Destiny. None. Zero. Every time I got to the title screen, I immediately wanted to go play something else. I suggest you learn from my experience.

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