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TOP 10 SAMURAI GAMES || Sharp blades and honorable warriors

 The Sengoku and Edo periods in Japan belong not only to historically very exciting epochs. With the samurai, they also brought forth a warrior guild that has inspired numerous works to this day. Be it the poetic epics of Akira Kurosawa's films or legendary manga like Vagabond, the swordsmen just always go. Accordingly, they are also indispensable in video games. We have selected the ten best samurai games that will truly turn you into a legendary warrior.

TOP 10 SAMURAI GAMES || Sharp blades and honorable warriors

10th place: Like a Dragon: Ishin

In Japan, the Yakuza spin-off was released on PlayStation 3 and 4 in 2014. Western players had to wait a whopping nine years before they were allowed to slip into Sakamoto Ryōma's kimono. In the recently released remake, you explore the Edo period and enjoy a gripping story typical of the series. Of course, there is also a lot of slapstick in weird side quests on the program. In brutal fights, you switch between four fighting styles depending on the situation. As is typical for a samurai, you often pull out the katana, but pistols and bare fists also help you to survive.

9th place: Katana Zero

Though traditional samurai died out many years ago, some modern-day samurai still wield swords. In a way, Katana Zero puts you in the role of such a warrior who has fallen out of time. In the finest pixel graphics you hire yourself out in the sidescroller as a contract killer with a very special skill: you rewind time if necessary. The game also tells a surprisingly profound story and blows you away with a fantastic synthwave soundtrack. And yes, the developers took inspiration from Hotline Miami.

8th place: Samurai Shodown

Rarely does the name of a game reveal so precisely what is inside. As born warriors, samurai regularly compete in duels - and this is exactly what the fighting game series from SNK has been staging for around 30 years. As with real swordsmen, hundreds of hours of practice are on the agenda before you truly become a master. The Rage Gauge enables a variety of tactical approaches. If you are hit, the bar fills up, and your fighting power increases. Who doesn't know the moment when the hero looks like he's at the end of his tether, but finally gathers all his strength for a final blow.

7th place: Way of the Samurai

Rōnin was the name given to samurai who roamed the country without a master. You control exactly one of these in the Acquire series. The offshoots are set in different historical eras, but they have one thing in common: the branching stories change depending on how you behave in certain situations. You choose to avoid fighting, alternatively, a tactical and careful approach is recommended. Targeted blows lead to victory and honor. Randomly executed attack chains, on the other hand, will send you to the grave faster than you can shout "EDO".

6th place: Samurai Warriors

Of course, the connoisseurs among you know it: where Warriors is in the name, there is hearty Musou beating action inside. That means you will look in vain for honorable sword fights between two warriors. Instead, you clean hundreds of enemies out of the arenas every second and finally face a commander. Now one could complain that the finesse of tactical duels did not exist in the Dynasty Warriors offshoots. But the appeal of simply switching off for half an hour and transporting thousands of common foot soldiers to the afterlife cannot be argued away.

5th place: Nioh 2

Life as a samurai is often tough. This Souls-like from Team Ninja gives you very little. At the latest when you face one of the fierce bosses, your martial arts must be perfected. The new demon powers, with which you summon burning whips or protective force fields, help with this. The environments radiate samurai feeling with every pixel, even if the high-fantasy setting of the Sengoku era is anything but realistic. But it doesn't matter, because after all there is hardly anything more heroic than protecting the world from evil Yokai.

4th place: Onimusha

We don't understand why Capcom has been letting the survival horror series lie idle for years. Because the mix of samurai setting and Resident Evil unfolds its very own fascination. As in the zombie relatives, you solve smaller puzzles and face sinister creatures. Of course, you defend yourself with swords and other contemporary weapons of the Sengoku period. The fights are surprisingly fast for a horror game. From today's perspective, the technology may still frighten you, but Onimusha marked a valid Resi alternative for samurai fans.

3rd place: Total War: Shogun 2

The pen is mightier than the sword. That's why in this global strategy heavyweight you don't grab the blade but take a seat in the commander's chair. You choose your favorites from various clans, which are based on actually real groups. In general, developers attach great importance to authenticity. Finally, after building settlements, training military units, and decent economic growth, huge battles are on the agenda. Your troops call for a capable leader, and the term "Endless Game" is quite literal. A game can easily last several weeks.

2nd place: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Hold on, no complaints please, of course, we know that Sekiro is technically a shinobi. Almost a silent assassin. In the From-Software title, silent action is also recommended whenever possible. But often enough you face the enemies in single combat, blade against blade. The system does not forgive mistakes, you only survive if you skillfully parry the blows of your opponent and read attacks correctly and react accordingly. At times it all feels more like dancing than fighting. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice may be a tough piece of software, but it rewards your perseverance with incredible endorphin rushes and an ingenious game world between reality and fiction.

1st place: Ghost of Tsushima

The trip with Jin Sakai to the eponymous island is brimming with love for Japan, the samurai, and Akira Kurosawa. Almost every scene from the title could have appeared in a film by the cult director. Through multiple visits to the island, Sucker Punch's developers were able to depict Tsushima as faithfully as possible. In the fights, you use various attitudes, depending on the type of opponent. The duels require quick reactions, the right equipment, and some training from you. For this, they reward you with what is probably the most authentic samurai game currently available. We're happy to let the developers get away with the largely generic open world.