With the release of Ghost of Tsushima, everyone has samurai on their mind, including us fine folks at Shacknews. That brings us directly to this week's Shack Chat topic; What is your favorite video game samurai? Our staff had a wide range of answers for you to dig into, and we expect the responses in Chatty to be equally as diverse. Let us know what you think of our answers, and give us your own.
Who is your favorite video game samurai?
Samurai Goroh, Pilot of the Fire Stingray - Asif Khan, Best in the universe
There is no pilot in F-Zero who I love more than the legendary Samurai Goroh. He has been piloting the Fire Stingray, one of the fastest vehicles in franchise history, since the game first released on the SNES. Everyone frequently assumes that all F-Zero fans just blatantly love Captain Falcon, since he has maintained the franchise’s relevance with appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series. This couldn’t be further from the truth in my case. While Captain Falcon serves as a decent ambassador for the franchise, Samurai Goroh is the best in the universe. Remember that!
You in Cyberpunk 2077 - Bill Lavoy, Spire of Stars
I have serious doubts about the main character in Cyberpunk 2077 being a samurai, but if Keanu says you are one, that’s probably going to hold up in court, right? I know that’s a very weak answer, but my other option was Agent 47 in Hitman (2016) on the Hokkaido map. That fell through once I loaded into the game and realized the costume was that of a ninja, and then Blake further ruined my good times by saying a samurai would never stab anyone in the back. Fine, Blake. If I can’t have Agent 47, you get an unnamed character in a unreleased video game who probably isn’t a samurai, but since Keanu said they were, take up any further beefs on the subject with Mr. Wick.
Yoshimitsu - Blake Morse, Cyber-Samurai
Me and old Yoshimitsu have been through a lot together. I think the first time I ever played as him in a video game was back when Soulcalibur was in arcades. When I started playing Tekken, it was easy to make the leap to him since he was already familiar to me. While we may have met initially in SC, Tekken is where my heart is as far as fighting game franchises go, so I’ve definitely spent more time honing my skills with the character there, but I love that it translates over to another fighting series. Also, no one else gets a katana in Tekken, just this one bad-ass robot samurai who loves to twirl around and take his own health for no apparent reason.
Hisako (Killer Instinct) - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor
Remember last week's Shack Chat where I was talking about some of the really neat ideas and really cool original characters that Iron Galaxy had come up with for Killer Instinct? That segues perfectly into my answer for this week's discussion. Hisako is a vengeful spirit (an Onryō) from the feudal Japanese era, the daughter of a powerful samurai warrior who was struck down by enemy soldiers. Hisako took up her father's sword and attempted to fight back, but was also cut down. And with her grave disturbed, she rose up to haunt the Killer Instinct roster.
Hisako sports one of the more unique designs of the new Killer Instinct fighters, looking like she was pulled straight out of The Ring. While I didn't use her often, just because she's more of a defensive parry fighter, I couldn't deny the coolness of her look. It's not often that they make samurai quite like this.
The Blue Lobster - Chris Jarrard, Swords are cool
My pick for top video game samurai is an oldie but a goldie. As the first boss you encounter in The Revenge of Shinobi, the Blue Lobster requires you to dispatch him by tossing ninja stars at his face during the short moments where he lowers his sword guard. As you accrue strikes against him, his appearance begins to change from blue to red before he succumbs to his injuries.
I chose The Blue Lobster because he clearly has the coolest name of all samurai. While it is unfortunate that he was unable to work his way into a spot of higher importance within the evil henchman hierarchy, I will still stan for him because lobsters are cool.
Isshin Ashina - Sam Chandler, Cat Mascot
Fair play to an old man who I thought was decrepit and near death to totally kick my ass, repeatedly. Whether he’s using a shorter katana or rinsing me at-range with a huge spear-like weapon, he’s got all the moves, even going so far as to harness lightning to try and kill me faster. Mad respect for this old bloke. And this is all before we even consider the fact he climbs out of his grandson as if he was some kind of skin suit. Sekiro is great.
Afro - Donovan Erskine, Contributing Editor
There is one samurai that stands as one of the coolest, most badass characters to grace a video game, and that’s the titular hero from Afro Samurai. With an emotional journey featuring some great combat and action, Afro Samurai became one of my favorite titles of the PS3/Xbox 360 generation. Afro deserves a full-scale reboot in the next generation of consoles.
Mikado (Bushido Blade) - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor
I spent an inordinate amount of hours in Bushido Blade and Bushido Blade 2 when I was a kid and continued to play into my teenage years. I always chose to use Mikado, the 22-year-old former shrine maiden from Japan. She used the Aikuchi as a weapon and speared those unfortunate enough to cross her path. I appreciated her classic shrine maiden outfit as well as her modern costume choices, and I spent so many hours with her, it really feels like the honor of my favorite game samurai has to go to her just by virtue of how long I played with her. But honestly, Yojimbo from Final Fantasy is a close second.
Jinno/Kuma - Josh Hawkins, Guides Guy
While he might have technically been a bad guy, Jinno from the Afro Samurai series is probably one of my favorite video game samurai. Everything from his motivations to the way that he carries himself and even his outfit is unique and fantastic. He’s a bit different from the other samurai you might expect to see on this list, but I still feel like the uniqueness and overall quirkiness of this character makes him stand out above the rest – at least for me.
Miyamoto Musashi - TJ Denzer, awaiting a duel on Ganryu Island
There’s only one eternally correct answer to this question for me because he’s my favorite swordsman outside of video games too: the undefeated dual-wielding legend, Miyamoto Musashi. “But hey, TJ, you have three different characters up there in your picture.” Yes, that’s because every one of them and more either are or are based on Musashi. Haohmaru from Samurai Shodown is, in fact, so based on Musashi that his stage is Ganryu Island and its morning, evening, and night states are references to his propensity to show up late to duels to infuriate his opponents, particularly his duel with rival swordsman Sasaki Kojiro which also took place on the shores of the same island.
There are quite a few characters that either portray Musashi or are based on him. A number of them, such as Haohmaru and Mitsurugi from Soul Calibur, are icons of gaming and often share the attribute of being virtuosos of the katana. However, my favorite renditions are the ones like Squaresoft’s Brave Fencer Musashi, who pay homage to the fact that Musashi was a master of using two swords at once, often a full-sized katana and the shorter wakizashi “companion sword.”
Musashi actually abhorred the idea of using one sword with both hands for the restriction of arm movement it posed. Bonus points if they use an oar like the one Musashi carved on his way to Ganryu to overcome the length of Kojiro’s Nodachi (a Japanese greatsword) and defeat him. Good work, Musashi: Samurai Legend on PS2. Truly Musashi is an endless well of inspiration for the ideal samurai duelist and I always appreciate seeing different portrayals of his legend in games. He was the best. Accept no substitute.
Yoshimitsu (Tekken) - Greg Burke, Back to the video mines
My brother and I always used to play Tekken II, and we thought Yoshimitsu was awesome and also hilarious. We loved to do his spin attack and watch him get dizzy and fall to the ground. We were also puzzled that he would first punch with his hands, when he was clearly holding a sword with the same hand. It’s really cool to see this character evolve and change and continue to be apart of the tekken franchise.
Jubei Yagyu, Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny - David L. Craddock, long reads editor
Hey, Capcom. As long as you’re turning out (fantastic) remakes of classic Resident Evil games in the RE Engine, how about giving Onimusha some love? If you missed the franchise during its turn on PS2, Onimusha is a Resident Evil-style survival horror franchise but rooted in Japanese mythology and supernatural elements. Ninja, samurai, ghosts--Onimusha has it all, and it could again on next-gen hardware.
Yamato Man: Mega Man 6-Steve Tyminski, Contributing Editor
I was all prepared to talk about Ninjas in this Shack Chat but I had to make sure ninja and samurai were the same thing. Turns out, they aren’t and that threw my whole plan of talking about Ninja Turtles and a certain Pokémon Gym Leader out the window. Anyway, who is my favorite video game samurai? I don’t have much experience in the way of the “video game samurai” but I’m going with Yamato Man from Mega Man 6. The robot master is based off of a samurai and attacks with a spear that he has to pick up after each throw. Hard work appeals to this robot and what’s a better mantra for a samurai than hard work? The music for the level also fits the feel of samurai fighting. Bonus shout outs to Sam-R-I from Dexter’s Lab and Samurai Jack.
What do you think? Who is your favorite video game samurai? We'd love to find out, so make sure you shoot us a response down in the Chatty comments below. As always, thanks to all of our supporters for continuing to do it for Shacknews and we'll see you next week with a brand-new topic to discuss!
Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your favorite video game samurai?
Does Cyan from FF6 count?