The Land of the Rising Sun allures the Western world even today with its history, veiled in mystery, and inspiring awe. Some of the most enticing periods of the history of Japan involve the brave warriors, masters of the blade – the indomitable samurai. Video games, as a form of entertainment and art, provide us with the opportunity to revisit the past and assume the mystifying role of a samurai warrior, tangled in complex political affairs of feudal Japan. If you want to get a hold of katana, then we offer our selection of the best samurai games to rock as the cold season approaches, setting up the mood for some serious gaming!
One of the most famous examples of samurai games is the renowned hack & slash, action-packed title – For Honor. Developed by Ubisoft, this vibrant PvP game deals not only with the samurai as you also get the chance to assume the role of Vikings and medieval knight of various kinds! Once you assume the role of a deadly samurai, you enter a frenzied battle where death lurks all around as warriors fight for survival and triumph, so be ready to be locked in constant combat!
The swordplay in For Honor game is, to say the least, spectacular. In the battlefield, you’ll find yourself utilizing defense and offense maneuvers and using every opening possible to smite your opponents into death. The multiplayer mode offers an insurmountable amount of action, closely resembling a combative pandemonium. The remarkable thing about the way of samurai is that in combat, they are unyielding, stealthy, and rely on agility far more than heavy blows, that way increasing their chances of taking their opponent down before even receiving a deadly blow with a greatsword.
An example of an enthralling samurai RPG game is Nioh. Developed by Koei Tecmo Games, the title takes the players into Japan shrouded in dark fantasy, and naturally, where action revolves around the samurai warriors. Ravaged by war and chaos, the country is yet to face another emerging threat – mystical creatures known as Yokai that leave trails of dead bodies everywhere they venture. Assume the role of a brave warrior to stand in the way of the terrifying danger as this is the way of the samurai – honour above fear!
The emphasis on Japanese history and myth merges the elements of historical fiction and dark fantasy, creating an intriguing narrative with a haunting atmosphere. The combat is brutal and sublime, filled with dodging, interweaving mechanics that create fast-paced fights that require not only frantic button-smashing, but also tactical thinking and quick reaction. Resembling the famous Dark Souls, Nioh secures its rightful place among the best samurai games of all time.
Total War: Shogun 2
Let’s stray a little from the RPG genre and talk tactics. One of the most excellent Total War titles happens to be samurai-centric – Total War: Shogun 2. The Japanese warriors are known today as fighters who relied on precision and tactical thinking rather than attacking blindly with full force. Total War: Shogun 2 gameplay is closer to the traditional way of the Shogun warriors. Set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history, Shogun 2 revamps the scale of the series in terms of geography and military.
This military simulation is a turn-based strategy game, so you are to manage your armies, forge plans to conquer lands spilling as little blood of your precious samurais as possible. However, in this game, you won’t have only samurais at your disposal – utilize the agents of the secret Japan police and send out Geishas, Monks, and Metsuke to infiltrate the enemy lines and gather crucial information for your successful conquest! Would you make a great Shogan, hailed as a military genius and an unwavering spirit? Time to find out!
Ghost of Tsushima
The ranks of the best samurai games have been joined by a new PlayStation 4-exclusive title that took the gaming world by the storm – Ghost of Tsushima. Set in the 13th century, Tsushima Island is all that stands between mainland Japan and a massive Mongol invasion fleet led by the ruthless and cunning general, Khotun Khan. Prepare yourself for an electrifying tale of an honourable samurai bound to fight for his land apace. The samurai-centered story offers dazzling gameplay to indulge in as you operate in the open world, brimming with a magnetizing atmosphere.
Ghost of Tsushima revolves around Jin, the main character, who is facing a grim dilemma – should he hold onto the honourable traditions of the samurai or betray them to save Tsushima from the ruthless invaders. This samurai game played from the third-person perspective invites gamers to enjoy combat filled with stealth and ambush elements as you strike your enemies with one deadly blow from the shadows. Become the reaper sowing fear in the hearts of Mongols, swift and soundless as you fight fiercely for the freedom of your people and the lands you hold dear!
Another title to proudly reign amongst the best samurai games is an indie action game – Katana Zero. The setting differs from the fictional and non-fictional Japan introduced in the previously mentioned games that are heavily medieval. Katana Zero takes place in a fictional city called Third District that’s recovering from a recent, massive war. Although a side-scroller, the title offers quite dynamic combat mechanics where you not only wield your trusty katana, but also get to deflect attacks, manipulate your enemies, and use the environment to your advantage!
The most prominent thing about Katana Zero is the story. The narrative places the players in a dream-like state, which is quite characteristic of Japanese-themed stories, so big shout out to developers! You assume the role of a nameless samurai whose missions follow the same set-up for the most part: you meet up with your therapist that injects you with a mysterious drug. You find out who you must kill next, do a remarkable job, and come back to your lonely apartment at the end of the day and continue the strange cycle day-by-day. We recommend the game to those who enjoy fragmented and peculiar story-telling!
Of course, we are not forgetting Soulcalibur VI. Similarly to For Honor, the game is not samurai-centered, but provides gamers with a chance to assume the role of a samurai warrior and face all kinds of swordmasters! Traverse in a beautiful open-world with remarkable graphics, 3D character models, and visualizations that captivate the eye. Set out to look for the legendary Soul Swords, deal with opponents using intuitive, well-developed combat mechanics, and smooth collaboration of offense and defense maneuvers!
Soulcalibur VI brings back many iconic characters, and probably the most excellent star of the game is Geralt of Rivia himself – the protagonist from the famous The Witcher trilogy. Even better, the Witcher enters the game as a playable character to spice up your gameplay experience! Contrary to the games listed here, this game maintains a light tone and serves as a way to relax and have fun rather than embark on a gripping journey or thoroughly plan your conquest using the capabilities of your mind. For a change, you can be a samurai, have a goal to acquire the legendary weapon, and take it easy regardless of the level of your skills! Why not have some remarkable fights with a katana in your hand and a smile on your face?
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Last but not least is one of the brightest gems that secures a high place among the best samurai games of all time. That’s right; we are talking about the samurai RPG – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Samurai warriors consider honour as the most valuable treasure, and you lost it. Disgraced and by miracle saved from the grip of death, you are entrusted with a mission to protect an exceedingly important young lord. Assume the role and become an army of one man, despite your disfigured body, who serves as the gate for the enemies straight to hell!
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an action-packed game that includes mild RPG elements, for instance, introducing a gripping story, although a predetermined one. The combat mechanics mainly focus on using your katana to disrupt the balance of the enemies, so then you can deliver the final blow without getting wounded yourself. Speak of outstanding swordsmanship! Vengeance is the guiding light, although dark one, on your path through the lands of Sengoku Japan, where wars sow death mercilessly, discriminating none.
Visit Eneba for more Japanese-themed games!
Video games serve as a time machine that is capable of taking us back in time to the desired period and let us assume the roles of warriors, strategists, and in this case, the stoic samurais. We advise visiting Eneba store and exploring our wide assortment for more Japanese-themed or samurai-centric games to enrich your experience! Apart from the selected seven titles of the best samurai games, there are multiple other games at our store with stories that creep their way into our hearts and minds, and in time, become friends we can revisit at will. Whether you are interested in the Japanese culture or a fan of the samurai warriors, you are bound to find games to suit your style!