If one thing can be said about this game, it's stylish. The way Afro slashes through the air after focusing in slow-motion and cleaving a ninja in two with a clear line down the middle, it's easy to see that this game treats death with poetic flair. That drive for aesthetical carnage, however, stretches itself paper thing after a couple of hours playing the game. Afro Samurai, as gorgeous as it is to look at it is... shallow.
I don't know, maybe I'm not far enough into the game yet, but the gameplay just isn't evolving. You have three attacks: a kick, a light attack and a heavy attack and can chain them into combos. As you perform combos, your soul pendant begins to glow with Focus energy. When you have some energy, you can slow it down and charge up a brutal slash that will rendered lesser enemies into multiple parts faster than Samuel L. Jackson can yell out, "AFRO!" Once it's built up all the way, you can enter full Focus mode and zip across the screen from enemy to enemy doling out one-hit kills. It's fast, flashy and visually satisfying, but it's just gets so mundane. I'm hoping the game teaches me new moves or combos later on, because if not, the game's going to end up being a bore.
Fortunately, though, the game hits all the high notes for fans of the anime. I'm not familiar with Afro Samurai, only having watched a couple of episodes, but they got the look of the show perfectly. Characters are instantly recognizable and animate as smoothly as a cartoon. Oh, and I did I mention blood? Yep, lots of blood. Then of course, there's Samuel L. Jackson dropping F bombs that only Samuel L. Jackson can do, and the game's backed with an excellent soundtrack production courtesy of the RZA. Now, I do have the Afro Samurai soundtrack, and it's amazing. The game makes me want to listen to it again.
There's also some platforming bits, and some light parkour. You can up walls and jump off them and run along walls a la Prince of Persia. I'm really hoping the later levels will get me doing more of that, because gameplay wise, it's the only think breaking up the monotony of slashing into the same enemy again and again. There's "Mementos" to collect as well, but I just really haven't been inspired to go off the beaten path, which is odd considering the path really isn't that wide. All I can really say with Afro Samurai is that I hope it gets a lot better. Oh, and chopping up topless female ninjas in G-strings isn't as sexy as it should be.