Way of the Thief evaluation — Frightfully unclear

Again within the day, Purchase was the king of the 3D stealth style. The developer was answerable for the primary two Tenchu video games, in spite of everything. However, seemingly unknown for some, it additionally made a PlayStation 2 sport in 2006 that was solely launched in Japan — till now. Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief, the sport in query, has made it to the West, remastered for launch throughout fashionable platforms. The sport has lots of compelling options and a few actually distinctive gameplay, however is total far too keen on withholding helpful data. And it incorporates sufficient awkward decisions that make it unusual for it to have been re-released with so few enhancements. The sport positively wanted extra of an overhaul. As it’s, Kamiwaza is an immensely irritating expertise that I actually needed to like.

Kamiwaza truthfully has a robust setup. The sport begins with you within the footwear of the younger thief Ebizo, a member of the Silver Ravens — a noble thief group. His superior within the group, Ainosuke, is instructing him the instruments of the commerce when Ebizo comes throughout a small youngster wandering the property they’re burglarizing. When the leaders of the Silver Ravens find yourself executing the property’s homeowners, Ebizo escapes with the kid, giving up his thieving methods and swearing to lift the woman peacefully and fortunately. But it surely was to not be.


The woman, named Suzuna, lives for years with Ebizo, who takes up work as a carpenter. However when she comes down with an sickness that threatens to take her life, Ebizo realizes that he wants to return to stealing to be able to pay for the drugs Suzuna must get higher. It appears Useless Rising 2 borrowed its central mechanic from this sport, as you’ll want to purchase drugs and provides it to Suzuna to get her wholesome. When you don’t give her the drugs steadily sufficient, she’ll die and also you’ll get a sport over. Bummer, huh?

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Flipped out of the best way

Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief is kind of paying homage to Purchase’s Way of the Samurai video games. After the prologue, you’re lower free into the realm of Mikado the place you’ve got free rein to discover or steal items at your leisure. The general map is kind of small however the expertise remains to be a promising one early on, regardless of how archaic the visualsa are.

This appeared like a PSP sport in 2006, and time has not been type. Textures and character fashions don’t seem to have been up to date a lot or in any respect. The shadows, nevertheless, are an enchancment, seemingly because of the sport being ported utilizing the Unreal 4 engine.

Ebizo wants a traditional Japanese thief bag to steal something. You’ll be able to unlock completely different ones that may both maintain extra objects or knock out enemies. In lieu of an assault, Ebizo steals. Bigger objects have what are principally well being bars it is advisable to whittle down earlier than putting them in your bag. Equally, you may pickpocket items and cash from NPCs straight. This pickpocketing is horribly awkward, as you may solely accomplish that from the entrance. When you strive it from behind, Ebizo will pointlessly hit his goal.

The perfect half about Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief is the “just stealth” system. You may have a cartwheel transfer that provides invincibility frames when utilizing it to dodge. But it surely has one other function. When noticed by an enemy, time will sluggish a bit and the display will get tinted crimson. When you cartwheel at this second, NPCs will lose sight of you and Ebizo will start to sparkle. Making an attempt to pickpocket or seize objects whereas glittering will see the act of thievery be instantly profitable and grant you a bonus that goes towards your ability factors. It’s fairly implausible. This may be chained, permitting you to multiply your rating and get much more ability factors. It’s a implausible thought with stable implementation.

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Near the chest

You’ll be going to the bathhouse to dump your items in Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief. Doing so will allow you to trade them for cash. Or you may drop them in The Individuals’s Field in your village which can trigger of us to treat you effectively. They’ll react enthusiastically after they see you and depart presents exterior your door, amongst different issues. You’ll additionally tackle missions from the bathhouse informant, who means that you can purchase tips about valuables to steal.

Throughout my first couple of hours with the sport, I assumed all of this was sensible. Having slightly sandbox the place you may go round stealing and taking over missions for money and serving to the individuals is really an incredible thought. However the extra I performed, the extra it grew to become clear that Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief provides an exceptionally shallow expertise. Missions will always process you with stealing from the identical tiny handful of places, and there simply isn’t a lot depth to the sport’s stealth mechanics. As an illustration, you may sneak, however doing so isn’t all that a lot stealthier than operating full velocity forward.

There’s a system the place needed indicators present Ebizo’s face extra precisely based mostly on how usually you’re seen doing the deed. You have to steal indicators to not get hassled whereas strolling down the road. But when your bag is even slightly full, guards will begin attacking you. I spent many of the sport at max needed degree and it didn’t actually really feel prefer it mattered, as I might use simply stealth to keep away from enemies it doesn’t matter what. And that’s one of many largest issues with this sport: it has all these methods, however they don’t really feel like they matter.

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How a couple of trace?

What’s worse is that the sport does a fully atrocious job of explaining a lot of its finer particulars. The needed system, how alerted the guards within the space are, Suzuna’s well being, the sport’s a number of endings, virtually none are defined. Even the finer factors of ‘just stealth’ aren’t taught all that effectively. There’s no excuse for this lack of readability. The sport might have included new tutorials and even notes within the digital guide. As a substitute, there’s little or no cluing you into the finer factors.

I’m undecided when you can treatment Suzuna or not. I gave her 15 panaceas and she or he received lots higher, however Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief locks you out of having the ability to work together together with her it doesn’t matter what in the course of the endgame. In case your needed degree is maxed out, guards are  randomly ready in your home — resulting in an prompt sport over. There have been durations the place I couldn’t go dwelling in any respect. This implies no giving Suzuna drugs and no saving.

And it’s completely random. As soon as, I loaded a save and left my home earlier than realizing that I needed to do another factor. I entered the door that I had simply walked by way of and it triggered a cutscene the place Ebizo received caught despite the fact that it was not possible for anybody to have entered.

What even is that?

Later missions inform you to steal objects in an space with out telling you the place or essentially what they’re. I wasted period of time looking for a “bladed top” in a few missions. The sport offers zero indication as to what a bladed high even is. There are additionally lots of awkward, clumsy components at play. Generally you’ll enter an space and get noticed instantly as a result of a guard will likely be trying your method when the realm masses. The ‘just stealth’ immediate doesn’t at all times work. Generally I’d completely ‘just stealth’ my method out of a guard recognizing me, however then they’d spot me anyway.

You get captured and put in jail, and have to select between escaping or serving time and shedding the contents of your bag. However the escape from jail is horrid, because the map makes it unclear what leads the place and the slim corridors make it annoying to navigate whereas dodging guards. One story part forces you to flee and it’s simply dreadful.

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The controls are first rate and are fairly a bit extra correct and responsive than within the first Shinobido, which launched a yr earlier. However you may’t lock onto enemies and since your pickpocket solely works from the entrance, really hitting something can really feel like a crapshoot. Once more, although, it’s much better than the terrible ineffective flailing in Shinobido. However that doesn’t do a lot to erase my agitation when a guard sees me by way of a wall. Or assaults me by way of a wall. 

Consumer unfriendly

You should use ability factors to buy new strikes or licenses to unlock equipment, which is all effectively and good. However when you put a license into your stock earlier than you full its goal, you lose it till you begin a brand new sport plus. The sport makes no try to inform you this. When beginning a brand new sport plus, you lose all your bought abilities as effectively. Once more, the sport makes no try to inform you this. However the factor that made me the angriest was the ending.

The primary time I beat Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief, the individuals didn’t like me and I had the max needed degree. I received the worst ending, which made some sense, I suppose. So, I went again and maxed out the individuals’s approval and stole needed indicators till I wasn’t needed, after which beat the sport once more. I received the identical ending. Both higher endings can solely be achieved on subsequent playthroughs or there was some secret requirement to get a greater ending. However I don’t know as a result of the goddamn sport doesn’t inform you. There’s no excuse for all of this unnecessary secrecy.

Kamiwaza might have been improved sooner or later within the 16 years since its launch. As a substitute, it was thrown into a brand new engine and little appears to have been completed to mitigate its points. That is immensely disappointing, as a result of it’s nearly  sport and solely stays a blended one because of the lack of wanted quality-of-life adjustments. It’s additionally locked at 30 fps. I reached that unhealthy ending lower than eight hours into my playthrough, and the sport’s content material had already began rising stale by that time. 

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Sneaking your method

There seem like 4 endings, however I’m not going to wander round aimlessly and hope to stumble onto tips on how to unlock these endings. It doesn’t assist that the sport is being bought for an steep $40 USD, regardless of being a largely no-frills port of a 16-year-old sport.

There are lots of issues I do admire about Kamiwaza: Way of the Thief, however the sport wanted a hell of much more love than what it was given. When you love video games about stealing, look forward to a deep low cost. When you don’t, do a cartwheel when you see this sport on the street and pray your simply stealth works prefer it’s alleged to.

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