Afro Samurai
Developer(s) Namco Bandai Games
Publisher(s) Surge
Genre(s) Action[1]
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: M[2]
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Afro Samurai is a video game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, loosely based on the manga and anime series of the same name. It was announced in the February 2008 issue of play magazine[3] and released on January 27, 2009.[4] The game was developed by Namco Bandai Games[5] and is the first game published under their western label, Surge.


Afro Samurai (screenshot)

Afro Samurai features a cel-shaded animation style

Afro Samurai is a 3d brawler with platforming elements. Using light hits, power hits, kicks, and blocks the player fights various enemies. Most levels culminate in a boss fight, and in-engine cutscenes advance the story.


It is said that the one who becomes "Number One" will rule the world, wielding powers akin to a god. Someone becomes Number One by killing the previous Number One and taking his ceremonial headband. However, only the "Number Two" is allowed to challenge the Number One. Because of this, few people ever reach the Number One because the Number Two headband is constantly changing owners. Afro's father was the old Number One, until he was brutally killed by a gunman named Justice, an event witnessed by Afro as a child. Now an adult, Afro Samurai is the current Number Two and a master swordsman; he travels the road seeking revenge on Justice. Lengthy flashbacks interspersed throughout the story detail how Afro rose from frightened boy fleeing the death of his father, to master swordsman, and eventually to become the current "Number Two", while the story in the present deals with the adult Afro making his way to the mountain top keep of the "Number One" to duel Justice, while at the same time the mysterious cult known as the Empty Seven Clan sends various agents to kill Afro and take his Number Two headband.

Differences between the anime and the game

The game is a retelling of the original anime, comprising the first season. Several key plot points diverge significantly, and are presumably non-canon:

  • The Sword Master has a brother who is a daimyo. A teenaged Afro assassinates the daimyo, suspecting him to be the Number Two. As he dies, the daimyo reveals the true identity of the Number Two. This incident triggers the schoolyard massacre, carried out by the daimyo's men as an act of revenge. Originally, Afro learned the Number Two's identity from a local bandit who he mortally wounded but failed to kill—the bandit committed suicide to end his own suffering, and other bandits attacked the school.
  • Jinno's transformation into Kuma is not explained, and Kuma does not recognize Afro upon their first encounter. He recovers his memory of the schoolyard massacre as the two battle each other, and then appears to die at the conclusion. Originally, Jinno was reconstructed into Kuma by the scientist Dharman, and afterwards Kuma's sole purpose was to ambush Afro and kill him to avenge the deaths of his schoolmates and the Sword Master.
  • Brother 7 is said to be God himself, and that one becomes God by sacrificing the other six Brothers. Brother 2 does this while attempting to use Afro to take his place. The anime, by contrast, does not state what or who Brother 7 might be, and remains an open mystery.
  • Afro battles Ninja Ninja in his mind in order to regain his humanity, which he lost as a result of being the Number Two. Originally, Ninja Ninja was "killed" during the battle with Kuma.
  • When Afro reaches the end of his journey, he discovers that Justice is long-dead. With no foe to battle, Afro is finally forced to confront his own guilt for being the Number Two. His inner demons take on the form of Justice in his mind. Afro battles with the faux Justice to break free from his past. Originally, Afro was able to confront and kill the real Justice.
  • Upon defeating the faux Justice, Afro casts away both of the headbands, in accordance with the game's theme of redemption. In the anime, after successfully avenging his father, Afro dons the Number One headband.

Downloadable content

The game's credits reveal that Namco Bandai commissioned a TV screenwriter, Peter Saji, to produce a storyline for a downloadable episode. In an interview, Saji admitted that multiple downloadable episodes are in production, but could not provide a release date. [6]


The RZA is credited as music director, but due to time constraints, he was unable to contribute fully. Instead he told the team how he went about scoring Afro Samurai, and put them in contact with various individuals to assist them in delivering a sound similar to what he created for the Anime. He did, however, send the team a couple of tracks to use in the game. All of the main characters are voiced by the same actors as in the anime. The game features a cel-shaded animation style. Though it is a hack and slash game, the "fighting is a bit more strategic" and the player will be able to block and use combos. The enemies will respond by rolling, ducking and hopping over the player's blade and occasionally using body orifices to catch the weapons.




Review scores
Publication Score C- [7]
Game Informer 7.75/10[8]
GamePro Star fullStar fullStar fullStar halfStar empty [9]
GameSpot 7.0/10 [10]
GameSpy Star fullStar fullStar emptyStar emptyStar empty
GameZone 6.9/10 [11]
IGN 6.6/10 [12]
Official Xbox Magazine 7.5/10 [13]
X-Play Star fullStar fullStar fullStar emptyStar empty [14]
ZTGD 7.5/10 [15] 7.9/10 [16]
Cheat Code Central 4.0/5 [17]
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 67 (based on 34 reviews)[18]

Currently the Metacritic score is 67. Gamespot gives it a 7.0 and IGN gives it a 6.6.


External links