Samurai games offer something for both history and mythology fanatics. They make players don the iconic samurai armor and place them in bloody historic battles where only the most honorable is the last man standing.
Prepare to embark on an epic journey filled with breathtaking landscapes of feudal Japan and noble warriors as we count down some of the best samurai games.
Best Samurai Games, Ranked
Over the years we have seen a plethora of samurai games and this list tries to feature the absolute finest. Since some personal preference will inevitably find its way in here, be sure to let us know which entries you would rank differently in the comments.
A samurai game in a sci-fi setting is the last thing you’d expect to see on a list of the best samurai games but Katana-Zero has good reason for being here. Katana-zero is a 2D noir action-packed adventure that lets players control an assassin on a journey to assassinate various figures involved in a conspiracy.
The incredibly fast-paced gameplay will give you no time to rest as Katana-Zero follows the one-hit-death formula. Your badass katana lets you deflect incoming projectiles like a Jedi and the slowing down time ability allows for some slick maneuvering. Overall, Katana-zero is a package built for an unhealthy amount of dopamine rush.
Like a Dragon: Ishin! is a samurai-themed spin-off of the long-running Yakuza series that will captivate any gamer with its thrilling gameplay. The meticulously crafted world of Ishin immerses players in the rich tapestry of 19th-century Japan, showcasing a seamless fusion of historical accuracy and the series’ trademark absurdity.
The combat takes a sidestep from Kiryu’s fists to Ryoma’s dancing blend of blades and bullets. The top-notch narrative set in the Bakumatsu period of Japan on the brink of a civil war is all the more reason why Like a Dragon: Ishin! is one of the best samurai games ever.
3. Nioh 2
Team Ninja’s Nioh 2 definitely deserves a spot on this list. It takes inspiration from the soulslike genre yet forges its own unique identity. In Nioh 2, characters can be highly customized, allowing for more than a handful of ways to play.
The unforgiving bosses demand mastery of different weapons and stances. While the combat is further fueled by the Yokai Shift mechanic which adds a supernatural element to it. The Yokai-infested world of Nioh 2 is intricately designed, historically detailed, and littered with Japanese folklore, making anyone looking for the samurai aesthetic feel right at home.
FromSoftware, the creators of the agonizing Souls series, delivered another masterpiece with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Sekiro’s challenging combat system is as good as it gets. Precision is the core skill of any samurai, and in Sekiro’s combat, it’s fundamental to master. Unless, well, you like getting decimated by mythical creatures.
There’s no other game that does swordplay so well. However, while it’s true that combat is Sekiro’s strongest feature, it does not hold back with its mesmerizing environments, intense boss encounters, and deep lore that will have you exploring for hours. Sekiro is simply the complete package for all samurai fans and one of the best samurai games available now.
1. Ghost of Tsushima
A lone samurai struggling against his moral code to protect his homeland of Tsushima from the invading Mongols. This premise alone is intriguing enough to get you on board for Ghost of Tsushima. Writing haikus while wandering the astounding and diverse island of Tsushima will surely make you lose yourself in its serenity as you ride atop your trusty horse in what is one of the best samurai games.
Ghost of Tsushima boasts an incredibly realistic combat system as you embody Jin Sakai and master four stances of combat. Each stance represents a pillar of a samurai’s fighting style and lets you gain an edge over specific enemy types. Not just that, if you feel overwhelmed you are free to take a stealthy approach as well. Ghost of Tsushima has something for every samurai fan. Whether it’s the sword-slashing action you want from the samurai era or the beauty of feudal Japan, you’ll find it all here.