Way of the Samurai 3 is the tale of you as a samurai who has just been through a violent and horrific battle, trying to discover what your place in the world was, and what you want it to be now. It seems to be set pretty concretely within the Warring States period, with that kind of historical chaos reflected in the game.
Here’s what I did in my playtime: Picked radishes, slept in a shack, defeated a bandit on the road, joined the local regent to shore up castle defenses, fetched supplies, wandered for a while, joined a bandit clan, took over the bandit clan, and made war on the local regent.
In 3 in-game days. In Skyrim I’d still have been learning to smith iron.
Way of the Samurai 3 comes off like it’s a Japanese Skyrim experience, promising a growing character and changing open world, but it doesn’t deliver in an accessible way. When I spend hours building my character, acquiring weapons and slick sunglasses, I want that character to stick around; I’m invested in him. When he dies and is effectively gone forever, that’s running seriously counter to that desire.
Is this a Binding of Isaac style iterative attack on a varied and practicable gamespace, or is it a Skyrim style empowerment fantasy where I, a lowly wounded warrior, grow to be the greatest Samurai in the land, on the backs of my power and servants? Way of the Samurai 3 balances precariously somewhere between, in a way that I don’t think is meant for me. I would like to delve into this kind of world, but preferably with options beyond “fight” or “grovel.”
Extra note, while searching for an image to accompany this post, I saw some nutty things. I don't think there's really supposed to be any historical accuracy here.