What is up duders?
I have begun to dive down the rabbit hole that is Way of the Samurai 4 and it can be a perilous journey. I think it would be best to pull our resources and try to figure this craziness out. I will be posting stuff that I figure out here to help some wandering ronin become samurai masters. Please ask your questions and if I can't answer them, then maybe someone else in the community can.
First things first.
1) How do I survive my first day?
1A) Focus on getting money and upgrading your sword. A high skillpoint sword will be your lifeblood as some of the later skills you unlock can even reduce enemy damage which is huuuuuge since you can no longer improve the defense of a sword at the smith. The best way to get a lot of sword skill points is to go into 'spring harvest' mode and just start wailing on a large group of enemies. You can get thousands of skill points that way. Also, get the durability up so it is at least sitting at around 1000 to 1500 and then start bumping up the attack. A high attack sword will do you no good if you have to switch out in the middle of the fight. Sidequests may be more useful than story ones as story ones can ramp up in difficulty pretty fast. The story quests will eventually have you bumping into named NPCs who can wreck you if you don't have a good enough sword. I also recommend staying away from the crime related stuff for now. The magistrate jobs are easy, pay well, and it improves the town's overall crime rate which lowers the price EVERYWHERE in the town.
2) What is up with the blacksmith? He says he is going to retire!
2A: He sure will. But, you can find a solution to this.
3) Can I play as a super kawaii banzai female samurai like in the other games?
3A: Yes. But, it is a little more convoluted than before.
4) What about just free-roaming? Can I do it or will the story push me to a conclusion?
4A: Free-roaming is still a thing. Go ahead and roam around killing and collecting swords to your hearts content. By not following story events, you may lock yourself out of some of the better endings. Also, there is a point of no return that will end your game if you achieve it.
I will continue to update with any questions brought up that I or anyone else answers and I will also update with any other survival advice that I think might be useful.
Jimbot nails it when giving some good advice and helping describe the push/pull system which may be confusing to people new to this series.
Easy Mode is pretty darn easy. Go into Normal and you will get destroyed. Normal in all Way of the Samurai games is like a NG+.
Push and pull is something you do when you hit an enemy guard. If you push forward when you connect you will "push" them and throw them off guard. However if they "pull" when you do that you will be thrown off guard. Same applies to you. If you both "pull" you will both do the animation and nothing will happen. If you both "push" like-wise nothing will happen.
I got the game the day it came out and put a week's worth of time into it and got some pretty things and unlocks out of it so far. It's definitely the most accessible of all the games and fixes a lot of the more esoteric mechanics of the game. The tutorials aren't that great, though. The manual doesn't help any either. Those aside it's probably a major leap up from the previous entries. Having map markers for jobs, an event journal and allowing you to put any stance on any weapon is just freaking great. The complexity and ambition of the story paths and outcomes took a hit for sure, but it's no longer a complete mystery on how to get them. The only thing that hasn't really change and still sucks is the upgrade system for the weaponry. It's still random, it still encourages you to reset and save scrub (but without the quit to menu option or soft reset) and the new durability system takes some time getting used to.
I certainly hope Acquire continues to make these. They really created a diamond in the rough, here. Technical problems, scope and the upgrading mechanics are all that really hold it back of being a classic. It's still fantastic, though.
I have seen the light at the end of tunnel. While some things are still locked away from me, I have unlocked a good portion of the game's content. Don't fret if you have to use an online guide to figure out some of the endings. They are pretty cryptic, but it could be very rewarding if you figure it out yourself. So, play on for a bit, and only look up the solutions once you are at wit's end.
ALSO: Look at your journal in the start menu. It catalouges all the events you have and have not seen and organizes them into a time frame. This will be huuuuuuuuuge in helping you find events that you were missing and to see 'behind the curtain' of how the game decides to branch out.
Extra question: Can I use guns?
Answer: Yes you sure can. They are unlocked in the unlock menu after certain requirements are filled. After you unlock the styles, you can then pick these weapons up. The requirements are: