This game is better than the GF review so I felt compelled to give one of my own. The original way of the samurai was really interesting in that you enter a small town during the Meiji reformation era which is when The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise is supposed to take place. The first game plays out very much like a classic american western does except with samurai- go figure since a good deal of westerns were based on classic Kurasawa samurai movies. But from the western cultural reference it plays very much like a western... there are something like 20-30 endings to the game depending on who you side with who you defend, who you spare or kill, who you talk to etc.
The 3rd installment of The Way of the Samurai takes place during an earlier period and the game is a lot larger in scale than the original Way of the Samurai. This may be daunting to those that never played the original or who have never played a choice based action adventure. At first you may just want to fight everyone you come across and this will likely get you killed. But in fact these games are the last few pure adventure games around in that the character drives the story based on choices they make, so if you run around and mindlessly attack everyone you will get a meaningless story in return. But if you do favors for people or hire yourself out to the lords and do missions in the area then you'll see a storyline, and what's great about this is the re-playability factor of the game. So for these reasons I give it a solid 8 out of 10. These are the kinds of games that should be made because they are more like interactive novels as opposed to a very linear action packed interactive throw away movie as some games are nowadays.
Graphics are terrible and 30 seconds into the game I was prompted with a sidequest to like recover some old lady's stolen underwear or something (not even a joke). 30 seconds more was about all I could handle. Although not a samurai game, Summoner for PS2 is like 10 years older and still a far better choice for this style of game.