Hands-On Preview: Afro Samurai 2
Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma is hard to enjoy. The game is a direct sequel to Afro Samurai on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, retaining the same inspiration for music and graphical style. The presentation and actual gameplay are currently in a very rough state.
In Revenge of Kuma, you take on the titular character of Kuma, who is a little beaten and worn after his fight with Afro in the original game. Bandaged up and sporting a cigarette in his bear mask’s mouth, Kuma is on the hunt to find the legendary headbands, starting with the fifth. His search brings him to a temple built for Justice, the antagonist of the first game.
The cult servicing the shrine are led by a cyborg woman who refuses to let you have the headband due to its power. Instead, she throws wave after wave of her followers at you. Some explode into flames when struck, others put up a more formidable fight.
The real fight, however, is against the game itself.
Control is taken away in order to introduce enemies in a cinematic style, but they appear at a very slow rate, and accompanied by distant hip hop music. The usage of the same character models appears to be something they don’t wanna cover up at this point, as an introduction of a new enemy type showcased five of the same models to appear for me to battle. And even when in battle, the game doesn’t quite run well.
Kuma can switch between different combat styles during combat. There is Afro, Kuma, and Master, each with a different visual flair to the sword swipes. Each style is effective against a certain type of enemy, which pushes you to swap between them on the fly during group shots.
As of right now, movement feels strange, as if my character is reacting in a delay, and even when I make contact with an enemy my attacks lack weight. I was able to chop up enemies easily, but the executions that can occur after a combo of five or more hits have underwhelming animations.
Kuma will do some cool move in slow motion, but the direction he chops on screen does not match the direction the enemy will split into. Sometimes the blade doesn’t even appear to make contact with the enemy during the execution, making the resulting spray of blood appear spontaneous instead of due to your skill.
The camera even gets stuck in front of obstacles, limiting your view to a column or stairs as you blindly button mash to escape and get into a visible area. Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma looks much like it’s now six year old younger sibling. With no release window though, I can only hope that this game is far enough from release that the games developers go in and fix the gameplay issues that are currently plaguing it.