Samurai video games are pretty plentiful. Over the years we’ve seen some incredible video game titles released that feature samurai and feudal Japan. In this list, we’re going to highlight some of the best samurai video game titles available in the marketplace right now. Check out our list of video game titles down below and let us know if we missed out on any samurai-focused games that should be included.
Platform : PPS, PS2, Xbox, PS Portable, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Wii
Release Date :
First release : Tenchu: Stealth Assassins February 26, 1998
Latest release : Tenchu: Shadow Assassins February, 2009
Genre : Action, Third-Person
Tenchu might not necessarily be a samurai but it’s within the same kind of realm. Here in this franchise, we’re thrown back into a more feudal Japan era where we’re mainly following two protagonists who are Ninja’s so there’s your first big change up to this list. Still, samurai and ninjas are not all that different, Samurai are mainly warriors while ninjas are a bit like mercenaries. Both are experts in the art of combat using a variety of weapons although we mainly see these classes as sword-wielding.
Throughout the games, players are mainly serving their Lord as they keep the providence free from harm and potential hostile intruders. The first video game installment came out back in 1998 and while it had a pretty consistent release schedule, there was a stretch of relatively poor releases in terms of their reception. As a result, the game franchise has been dormant since 2009 but you can still find quite a bit of fun with the early release of the Tenchu franchise.
#19 Sword of the Samurai
Platform : PC
Release Date : December 31, 1990
Genre : RPG
Sword of the Samurai is one of the older video game titles on our list as this game came out in 1989 for the MS-DOS, how many of you know what that is? Despite its age, this was one of the more popular action-strategy samurai games that fans still look at fondly today. It was released once again in 2014 in a digital format allowing players to replay this game on modern PC platforms.
Within this game, players are working to go through the different ranks in command. You’ll start with picking a clan and from there, players are after honor as with more honor comes with more power. The better you are at not only battling but showing diplomacy and generalship will result in players slowly taking control of the clan. The more respected and honorable our protagonist becomes the better chance you’ll get at taking the role of Shogun. Again, this is an older title and it will show its age, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game, but it might not be for everyone.
#18 Samurai Shodown
Platform : Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Release Date : June 25, 2019
Genre : Fighting
Samurai Shodown is a straight-up fighting game and it’s been around since 1993. This is a series of video games from SNK who you may know best from Metal Slug, The King of Fighters, and Fatal Fury. This studio has been around for ages and they’ve gained a following for their arcade-like fighting games. When it comes to Samurai Shodown this is a game that usually takes place around 18th-century Japan.
One of the latest releases is simply just titled Samurai Shodown and it came out back in 2019. Again, this is a 3D fighting game where players take control of their fighters in an attempt to take out the competition. Meanwhile, you will find that this title is more of a reboot to the series so you could jump right into the game and not be thrown off by the campaign.
#17 Way of the Samurai
Platform : PS2, PlayStation Portable
Release Date : May 31, 2002
Genre : Action-adventure, action role-playing
Way of the Samurai is an action-adventure game with RPG elements. Players are taking the role of a wandering samurai during 1878 where samurai are dwindling in numbers. With modern advancements to weaponry and government control, samurai and their warlords are slowly being taken over. To do so, government armies are tasked with going throughout the country and getting rid of these warlords. Meanwhile, our protagonist wanders into a small village that is currently in a power struggle.
Within the village, you have the government looking to take control, a clan that’s seeking to gain funds from selling the villages foundry to the government, along with a second clan that wishes to not only rid the village from the clan in charge but also refrain from the government control altogether. What makes this game interesting is the fact that there are so many different pathways that players could go down in the narrative. Throughout the game, players can decide to join with either of the two clans along with the government, all of which will alter the storyline. Not to mention that simply not taking any sides and watching how things play out as more or less neutral party is an option as well. With that said, there are multiple endings that players can unlock in this game which means there’s plenty of replay value here.
#16 Afro Samurai
Platform : PS3 Xbox 360
Release Date : January 27, 2009
Genre : Action, hack and slash
Afro Samurai is a game based on the popular anime and manga series of the same name. This is a hack and slash brawler type of game and one that again is developed with some already established source material. In this game, players follow a narrative in which the world of warriors is constantly attempting to become the Number One, a title reserved for the most dangerous killer.
However, to become Number One warriors are forced into fighting a slew of combatants until they slaughter Number Two, who not only carries that specific title but is the only one allowed to challenge Number One. Within this game, players are following Afro Samurai, who was the son of the former Number One before he was slaughtered. Seeking revenge, our protagonist works up the ranks and attempts to track down Number One and successfully take his position.
#15 Muramasa The Demon Blade
Platform : Wii, PlayStation Vita
Release Date : September 8, 2009
Genre : Simulation
Muramasa The Demon Blade is a unique kind of hack and slash video game set in ancient Japan. This title focuses on a Shogun whose demand for power has taken up conflict with the demon blades. These are swords in which once a user wields them, they take over control and seek to destroy. Players are mainly following two protagonists in their somewhat intertwined stories.
You have a young female princess that has been possessed by a vengeful ronin spirit along with a young ninja warrior suffering from amnesia. Visually the game looks rather stunning with its art style, while the gameplay is a traditional 2D side-scrolling platformer. Unfortunately, the game only launched on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Vita, so there might be some limitations as to who was able to pick this game up at launch.
#14 Cyberpunk 2077
Platform : PC, PS4, Stadia, Xbox One,PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date : PC PS4, Stadia, XBOX ONE, 10 December 2020
PS5, XSXS 2021
Genre : Action role-playing
Cyberpunk 2077 was a big letdown at launch. Despite all the hype and presentations that CD Projekt Red delivered, the actual launch was a pretty hot mess. There were all kinds of bugs and technical issues, some of which made the game completely unplayable on base model console platforms. Despite that, the studio has continued to work on different patches to bring this game up to a level that not only met their expectations but the expectations of fans as well.
Fortunately, it looks like the patches are moving in the right direction and this could be a solid video game to enjoy this year. I’m sure you already know a ton about this title as again Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most anticipated video game launches ever. With that said, players could tweak their protagonist character, V, into being more of an agile samurai warrior using blades as your main weapon of choice.
#13 Samurai Jack Battle Through Time
Platform : PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, macOS, iOS
Release Date : August 21, 2020
Genre : Action-adventure, Hack and slash
Do you remember Samurai Jack? This was an animated series that ran from 2001 to 2004, though it was picked back up in 2017 to create a final season that wrapped up the narrative. Overall, the show followed a samurai named Jack who was tossed into different timelines after facing against an evil demonic character named Aku.
Jack is then forced into finding a way back to his timeline to defeat Aku. Last year, in 2020, we received a new video game installment for the IP that once again follows the same overall plot as the anime series. Players can expect an action-adventure hack and slash video game where we once again attempt to track down and defeat Aku once and for all.
#12 Genji: Dawn of the Samurai
Platform : PS2
Release Date : September 20, 2005
Genre : Action-adventure, hack and slash
On PlayStation 2 we had Genji: Dawn of the Samurai, this is a video game that was based around the Tale of the Heike. Essentially, this is a narrative storyline that follows a struggle between the Taira Clan and the Minamoto Clan. Players are following two-characters, each with their own unique attributes. While one is more nimble and fast with its attacks, the other provides more strength-based moves.
It’s a hack and slash game that’s a bit like the Dynasty Warriors franchise as you’ll have to face multiple enemies at a time or more complex boss fights. It was a fun game at the time but I feel like this was one IP that was a bit overlooked.
Platform : PC
Release Date : December 6, 2018
Genre : RPG
Kenshi is everything that you make it to be. It takes place in an open-world post-apocalyptic setting with no real storyline. The game was created to be more of a sandbox title that allows players to do, or live, out their protagonist’s life however they see fit. While the world is harsh and full of dangers, players can survive with ease just as long as they put in the effort of gathering resources, building up a squad, and carving out a piece of land to call your own.
As a result, you could be a thief, go into politics, or become an incredible warrior. This game can be a bit difficult to explain, but its one title well worth checking out and trying for yourself. Also, we know that this title is getting a sequel, although at the time of writing this description, we’re uncertain just when we can expect Kenshi 2 will release.
#10 For Honor
Platform : PC PS4 Xbox One
Release Date : February 14, 2017
Genre : Action, fighting
Chances are you already know about For Honor at this point. It’s a popular MMO title that focuses on faction battles. Here you can join a group seeking to take out other factions. You could join in with the samurai and use their various weapons again Vikings or knights. It’s all about teamwork and precision-based attacks as you attempt to swing your sword into an opponent’s body or perfectly block a devistating hit. With that said, this game does feature a few different expansions which will grant players with more characters to pick from and even some storylines.
Platform : Android, Game Boy Advance, iOS, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox One
Release Date :
First release : Onimusha: Warlords January 25, 2001
Latest release : Onimusha: Warlords HD remaster January 15, 2019
Onimusha takes place within Japan where we get a narrative story that mixes historical events with supernatural elements. Here players will be stepping into the role of a samurai that has to face demonic enemies. Interestingly enough, the developers were trying to bring out a Resident Evil alternative that focused around samurai and ninjas.
Although it’s not a game that captured too many players’ attention compared to the likes of Resident Evil, it’s still a series that has a decent following. With that said, Onimusha has a few installments available with the first one being Onimusha: Warlords that came out 2001. However, in 2019 we received an HD remastered edition so you can enjoy this game on modern platforms today.
#8 Ghost of Tsushima
Platform : PS4
Release Date : July 17, 2020
Genre : Action-adventure, stealth
Development studio Sucker Punch Productions brought out Ghost of Tsushima exclusively for the PlayStation 4. This is a game that follows the last samurai on the remote Tsushima Island. Set in 1274, players step into the role of Jin Sakai, who is the last person fighting back for the islands citizens after it was invaded by the Mongols.
With samurai no longer being the prime threat, Jin quickly understands that he will need to resort to a new fighting technique in order to get the edge back in his favor. This game is rather gorgeous to take in and it’s grown to be a huge hit. I wouldn’t be surprised to see if we get another installment released but for now, we’ll have to wait and see just what Sucker Punch Productions brings out next.
#7 Bushido Blade
Platform : PS
Release Date : September 30, 1997
Genre : Fighting
Bushido Blade is an older PlayStation video game that was released in 1997. This was a different kind of fighting game with players taking the role of samurai warriors battling against each other on some pretty large levels. It was also a bit different in how players were able to execute a win. Rather than mindless button mashing and hoping to strike against the opponent by any means necessary, this was a title that focused around honor.
Here players had to wait until their opponent was ready as they would sometimes start with a conversation. Afterward, it was a battle of skills through swinging your blade and blocking attacks. You couldn’t just jump around and slice into their body from behind. Instead, you had to go head-to-head and carefully battle with your sword.
Platform : Arcade, PlayStation, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Portable, Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date :
First release : Soul Edge December 1995
Latest release : Soulcalibur VI October 19, 2018
Soulcalibur is a popular fighting game and it’s not one that’s strictly based around samurai. Instead, here you get a large roster of fighters that all have their unique play style and blade weapons to use. It’s an arcade fighting game so you’re able to jump around and attack with some over-the-top move sets compared to our previous pick, Bushido Blade.
However, again this is not strictly only samurai-like characters that you can either take control of or battle against. This is also a pretty lengthy series as it first got its start back in 1995 but continued to see new installments over the years. The latest of which came out in 2018 is called Soulcalibur VI which features over twenty fighters including some guest combatants such as Geralt of Rivia.
#5 Shadow Tactics
Platform : PC, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date : December 6, 2016
PS4, Xbox One August 1, 2017
Genre : Real-time tactics
Those of you looking for a new real-time tactics game might find some interest in Shadow Tactics. This is a game that plays out during the Edo period in which Japan has finally been unified thanks to a shogun warrior. However, now a new warlord has appeared which could threaten the countries peaceful stability. To prevent a new brewing war that could once again throw Japan into a whirlwind of chaos, the shogun sends out a team of assassins who are tasked with finding this new warlord and taking the enemy out before any more trouble comes up.
Generally, across the board, it looks like critics and fans alike are loving this game and it’s relatively new being released back in 2016. If you haven’t given this title a chance then it’s currently available for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms.
#4 Nioh 2
Platform : PC, PS4, PS5
Release Date :
PS4 March 13, 2020
PC, PS5 February 5, 2021
Genre : Action role-playing, hack and slash
Nioh 2 is a prequel to the original installment in that it takes place fifty years before the events of the first installment. Within the game, players take the role of a mercenary who is half-human and half-demon. Even though our protagonist may be pumping demon blood inside, he takes on contacts to kill off other demons that prove to be troublesome.
If you’re familiar with the first installment then you’re going to feel pretty much right at home with the sequel. Combat is a bit like a Souls game in that you’re going to be focusing on the battle and making adjustments while fighting. It’s not a hack-and-slash, so definitely looking at your equipment, knowing how to properly dodge attacks and when to strike is key here.
Platform : PC, PS4, PS5
Release Date :
PS4 7 February 2017
PC 7 November 2017
PS5 5 February 2021
Genre : Action role-playing, hack and slash
Speaking of Nioh 2 you also have the first installment. Again the video game is an action role-playing video game set in the early 1600s. Players take on the role of William, a blonde-haired westerner who arrives in Japan seeking out a particular foe. This is a Dark Souls-style video game so expect plenty of tough enemies to face against along with ensuring you’re capable of blocking attacks or dodging out of the way.
#2 Total War: Shogun 2
Platform : PC, OS X, Linux
Release Date :
PC 15 March 2011
OS X 31 July 2014
Linux 23 May 2017
Genre : Turn-based strategy, real-time tactics
The Total War franchise got its start with feudal japan before being moved on to other parts of the world. That original video game came out back in 2000 so it was a bit of a welcomed surprise for fans to see that development studio Creative Assembly was bringing the IP back to feudal Japan once again with Total War: Shogun 2.
A new war is brewing across the land and several factions are battling to take control. Here players are managing one of the factions in hopes of successfully taking out the opposing warlords and establishing themselves as a shogun. However, to win players will need to overlook not only the battles but their technology research, manage the population and your various resources to ensure that you’re in a good position against your opponents.
#1 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Platform : PS4, PC, Xbox One, Stadia
Release Date :
PC, PS4, Xbox One 22 March 2019
Stadia 28 October 2020
FromSoftware, known best for their Souls series, had released a brand new IP into the marketplace back in 2019 called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. This is a third-person RPG title with brutal samurai-style swordplay. Players take the role of a shinobi who finds his lord was kidnapped and during the scuffle, our protagonist was left battered along with his arm severed.
After gaining some help from a busshi, our protagonist manages to live and in place of his missing arm, we have a prosthetic that players can use to attach something like a blade to battle against the swarms of enemies you’ll have to face against. With that said, it seems like most fans will find this game a bit easier to manage than some of the past Souls games which may open this game up to some newcomers that might have found the Souls franchise just a bit too difficult to manage.