The way of the samurai has always been a subject of fascination for fiction. Anything from their iconic swords to their code of honor makes them just as interesting, if not more so than knights, especially when it comes to video games. That's something Ghost of Tsushima has proven, and it ought to spark renewed interest towards these obsolete Japanese warriors.
Now, if Ghost of Tsushima has left many players wanting for more bushido action or even just the signature Japanese aesthetics involved, then fret not, because there are other samurai-themed games rated well by Metacritic. There's not exactly plenty of them, but, nonetheless, they should offer more gameplay involving katanas and cool ponytails.
Updated January 13, 2022 by Ritwik Mitra: Ghost of Tsushima absolutely burst onto the scene and established itself as one of the greatest games in PlayStation's elite library. The game was a great open-world adventure with breathtaking visuals and amazing combat, making it a truly unique title that fans simply can't get enough of. If you wish to play more samurai games that feel just like Ghost of Tsushima, then the following titles will be right up your alley.
20 Katana Zero
Fans of hard titles with great combat will fall in love with the brutal gameplay of Katana Zero. The game places you in the shoes of a skilled swordsman who uses a katana to deal death and destruction all around him.
Katana Zero is definitely not an easy game, with your character being downed in a single hit. However, dealing with multiple failed runs only to settle upon the perfect one never ceases to be satisfying.
19 Mark Of The Ninja
Another indie game that places you in the shoes of a powerful yet fragile character is Mark of the Ninja. Fans of stealth games will absolutely love the tight mechanics of this brilliant game.
The simple yet engaging mechanics of Mark of the Ninja is what makes it such a great game. Players who love good stealth gameplay will definitely adore the gameplay of this amazing indie title.
18 Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin
The Yakuza series has absolutely blown up in the West following the release of Yakuza 0. Several games have been localized in English, although Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin is an exception to this rule.
The idea of playing a spinoff of the Yakuza franchise in ancient Japan is an incredibly enticing prospect. Unless an official release somehow gets on the cards, players will either have to learn Japanese or power through the game with little to no knowledge of what's happening.
17 Samurai Gunn
An indie party game featuring powerful warriors, Samurai Gunn is a fun title to whip out at a moment's notice. It might not have the deepest gameplay around, but the systems are competent enough to serve up some fun rounds that you can enjoy with friends.
It's easily one of the most underrated games on this list. The game deserves more love, especially given how fun its combat can really be.
Aragami is another indie title with a major focus on stealth. While this title might've faced more of a mixed reception, it's still a fun game regardless.
There's a sequel to this game as well if you get hooked on the first game, which is pretty welcome indeed. It might not be the deepest game around, but Aragami will definitely leave stealth fans with a satisfied smile on their face after clearing some challenging levels.
15 Brave Fencer Musashi
Squaresoft was on a roll in the 90s, releasing a wave of amazing games that are still held in high regard to this day. Brave Fencer Musashi is one of their many releases during this time period that was absolutely stellar.
The game features a main character who's a reincarnation of the famed swordsman, Musashi. It's a light-hearted game that fans of entertaining JRPGs will find to be right up their alley.
14 Afro Samurai
Well, he might not have a ponytail, and he might not be Japanese, but the titular Afro Samurai is voiced by none other than Samuel Jackson—can't say no to that! It's a rather simple game based on the animated series of the same name.
This time around, players take on the role of Afro in his quest to become the number one warrior. It just so happens that the current number one is a dude named Justice who killed his father. It's a two-for-one revenge story that's worth playing for Samuel Jackson's voice alone.
13 Way Of Samurai 4
Now, for a samurai-themed game where the protagonist is actually a Japanese samurai, and the whole thing takes place in Japan, Way of the Samurai 4 should do the trick. It's the latest entry in the series, and it was released in 2012.
It might not be as highly-acclaimed as Ghost of Tsushima, but the time period Way of the Samurai 4 takes place in is interesting. That would be the post-isolationist era of Japan, around the same time period the Rurouni Kenshin anime is based on.
Speaking of Japanese history, the Kessen games should attract any interested audience. It's a real-time strategy released back in the year 2000 for the PlayStation 2, a console that didn't see many entries in the genre.
Kessen — the first one, at least — is a digital battleground where players get to control the outcome of the Battle of Sekigahara and many other conflicts between the Tokugawa Clan and the Toyotomi Clan during the Sengoku period.
11 Samurai Warriors
If China has Dynasty Warriors, then Japan has Samurai Warriors. The fourth entry in the series is the highest-rated among the bunch and continues the Dynasty Warriors-Esque gameplay of lone warriors hacking down enemy hordes like lawnmowers.
Of course, Samurai Warriors also has its own stars in the form of the most popular samurai icons in Japanese history. Like most Japanese games involving samurai, it takes place during the warring states period of Japan. It's worth noting that this game has the same publisher/developer as Dynasty Warriors.
10 Warriors Orochi
What if Dynasty Warriors crossed over with Samurai Warriors? The answer is Warriors Orochi, a series that also has a habit of persisting into multiple sequels while keeping the same gameplay formula. Warriors Orochi 4 is the latest among them.
Anyone who has played both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games should be familiar with the game and the characters. This time, however, the variety goes up through the roof with the combined roster of heroes.
9 Samurai Shodown (2019)
On the surface, Samurai Shodown looks like another 2.5D anime-style fighting game, like Street Fighter IV but with weapons. Delve deeper and players will find that’s it’s a far more strategic and tactical fighting game that requires timing and patience.
There’s a certain rhythm to Samurai Shodown’s combat system that makes the game feel totally unique. There are counter-attacks and defensive moves like rolls, parrying that can change the tide of battle in an instant. Yet despite these hardcore mechanics, Shodown is very accessible and easy to pick up for brand new players.
8 For Honor
By far one of the prettiest games here, For Honor isn't exactly focused on samurai, but, since a third of the game gives them a spotlight, then it may as well count. Being one of the playable factions in this competitive melee action game, For Honor is a breath of fresh air coming from single-player games.
It allows players to command different types of samurai or ninja archetypes to duke it out against other samurai or knights or Vikings. It doesn't make sense in the slightest, and it's best to just play it for the thematic fun.
7 Bushido Blade
Released on the PS1 in 1997, Bushido Blade is a purist's dream and a sword fighting game that was the polar opposite to the arcade-style mechanics of the SoulCalibur series. It remains as close to a samurai combat simulator as it can possibly get.
Every fight is about targeting body parts to weaken the opponent or going for an instant kill strike. Players need to learn how to time their parries and deflect attacks with precision-perfect timing while also honoring the Samurai code of Bushido.
6 Onimusha 3: Demon Siege
For a samurai-themed game with a fantasy twist, then players can't go wrong with the Onimusha series. Onimusha 3: Demon Siege is the latest among all three games and is also the highest-rated of the lot.
Onimusha 3 isn't just content with the fantasy spin, but it also adds in a modern-day time-travel flavor by incorporating a French soldier voiced by Jean Reno who somehow got stuck in 16th-century demon-infested Japan. That ought to be interesting.
5 Shadow Tactics: Blades Of The Shogun
Although it’s visually different, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is the perfect game for those players of Ghost of Tsushima that loved tackling every enemy camp and base with a tactical mind. It’s a real-time tactical stealth game with mechanics that are very similar to the critically acclaimed Commandos and Desperados series.
Instead of a World War II or an American Wild West setting, Shadow Tactics takes place during Japan’s Edo period. The player takes control of a Samurai warrior, ninjas, a trap expert, and a rifleman who are tasked with infiltrating fortresses and camps using espionage, sabotage, and the element of surprise.
4 Nioh 2
Another fantasy samurai game would be the Souls-like Nioh series, the latest being Nioh 2. It's more liberal in its use of monsters and demons compared to Onimusha, and it's certainly not a game for those looking to have casual fun and fulfillment.
Nioh 2 being a Souls-like makes it frustrating and more challenging than the typical game. However, nothing should stop a good hardcore action RPG fan from trying it out. Besides, it has some of the best samurai fashion armor pieces ever in a video game.
3 SoulCalibur VI
Even though it’s a game that combines fighting styles from all over the world, SoulCalibur VI features one of the most iconic Samurai fighters in the history of video games in Mitsurugi. He has been a mainstay of the series and has featured in every entry for the franchise.
As a result, he is one of the most refined and powerful characters in the series. He has different stances to master which will feel familiar to fans of Ghost of Tsushima’s various stances and fighting styles.
2 Total War: Shogun 2
Sadly, this one is only available on the PC, but anyone with a decent laptop these days has a good chance of running it. Total War: Shogun 2 is the best and most intricate samurai strategy game out there. It features the most massive and stunningly beautiful battles in all strategy games, too.
The fact that this one takes place in several time periods in feudal Japan just makes it all the better. The main campaign lets players take control of one of the powerful clans in feudal Japan vying for the Shogun's favor or trying to become the Shogun themselves. Expansions also encompass other time periods, including the gunpowder-dominated Meiji era.
1 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Technically the protagonist of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a shinobi or a ninja, but that could be forgiven, as the game is chock full of samurai looking to kill him anyway. It involves Wolf, a fallen dishonored shinobi tasked with retrieving his kidnapped lord from power-hungry clan leaders.
Though they aren't all that similar, FromSoft's most recent Souls-like does bear a resemblance to Sucker Punch's Ghost of Tsushima. The former is far more unforgiving than the latter, however, and players without extensive experience in the Souls games will likely find progressing to be pretty difficult.
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