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Slot Asuka x Samurai — Game Review

Like a Dragon: Ishin Is the Best Samurai Game Ever Made

The town of Kyo is filled with all of my favorite friends, from “Vegetable Boy” who whines that his mom only feeds him tofu to a filthy cat that repeatedly falls in the mud.

Like a Dragon: Ishin absolutely revels in the Yakuza series’ weirdo humor, but that’s only one half of the equation. There’s also a genuinely dramatic samurai story sizzling with tension. Ishin has some of the best storytelling the series has ever seen. The only thing holding it back is a convoluted combat system that takes a while to find its groove.

Playing With History

Ishin fills a strange place in the Yakuza series, which now goes by “Like a Dragon.” The game was released in Japan back in 2014, but it didn’t receive a Western port until now. Developer Ryu Ga Gotoku long feared that Western fans would struggle with a narrative that focuses so heavily on Japanese history. Times have changed, of course.

Like a Dragon: Ishin tells the story of Sakamoto Ryoma, a real-life samurai that lived during the Bakumatsu Period (1853-1867) of Japan. After training in Edo, he returns to his homeland of Tosa only to find his adoptive father and brother in the initial stages of a rebellion. Before long, Ryoma finds himself smack dab in the middle of assassinations, conspiracies, and a battle for the future of Japan. Ishin’s story is stacked with twists and turns, but there’s a surprisingly methodical pacing to the entire affair.

There are certainly high-octane moments, but Ishin’s story slowly builds up to a massive thrilling climax, and the result is a story that has a ton of payoff for its well-written characters. There are tons of terms and concepts from the Bakumatsu period and Japanese history, but the game has a lengthy codex with explanations that can help keep players up to speed.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Ishin is that it ultimately feels like a period drama where the characters are all played by your favorite Yakuza characters. This is a full-fledged spinoff, but the characters all feel like reflections of their selves from the main series. Ryoma shares a lot of Kazuma Kiryu’s morals and tendencies, but he’s a bit sharper and more willing to use violence to meet his goals. By the same token, Okita Soji shares Goro Majima’s penchant for murder but with an interesting intellectual edge as well. Each voice actor gives an excellent melodramatic performance. Fans of the series will delight in seeing how these characters differ from their Yakuza counterparts.

Heating Things Up

While recent games in the franchise have moved to turn-based combat, Like a Dragon: Ishin returns to the classic beat-em-up formula, providing players with four distinct combat “styles” like in Yakuza 0. Ryoma can assume the style of a bare-handed Brawler, a melee-focused Swordsman, a ranged Gunman, and Wild Dancer, which is a speedy style that lets you wield a sword and gun at the same time.

While entertaining in its own right, the combat has a certain degree of jank, serving as a constant reminder that this is essentially a remaster of a 2014 game. It simply lacks a lot of the fluidity and polish found in later entries like Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. It all feels a bit choppier than it should be, but the bigger problem comes when you factor in Ryoma’s equipment and stats.

Each of the four styles earns experience independently, while you also have an overall level. Each level, both overall and of each style, awards a Soul Orb that you can slot into an ability grid to earn new moves, level up the style, and more. Apart from that, Ryoma can equip a sword, gun, and three pieces of equipment.

Progression winds up feeling like a needlessly complicated affair, and it takes ages to unlock the more useful abilities or access new equipment. The game also constantly throws side quests that are far more challenging than the main story, and these difficulty spikes really jeopardize your enjoyment of the experience. Once you get to some of the later abilities for your styles the combat drastically improves, but even simple moves like launching an attack right after a dodge are likely going to be locked out for hours.

Side-Questing Samurai

This iteration of Ishin introduces a new Trooper Cards system that adds some additional hilarious flair to combat. Once Ryoma joins the Shinsengumi he’ll unlock character cards that can be used during combat. Each style can equip a different set of cards, and these cards charge during combat and can provide a wide array of effects. One might boost the damage of the style you have equipped, while another summons an adorable dog that distracts all enemies in combat. Trooper Cards make your combat options feel even more dynamic, and it’s something that’s a welcome addition.

While it’s a shame that combat takes so long to find its groove, Ishin’s side content more than makes up for it. Ishin has some of the best substories and minigames this series has ever seen thanks in no small part to a “friendship” system that tracks your relationships with the various residents of Kyo. In his travels, Ryoma nurtures relationships with dozens of NPCs, from restaurant or shop owners to random strangers that roam the streets. Your bond increases over time with various interactions. Do it enough and it might unlock additional stories, useful rewards, or ties into an important system known as Virtue.

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Virtue is a currency that runs throughout the entire game, and you’re awarded it for pretty much everything, including eating at restaurants, shopping, completing substories, and a variety of challenges called Diligence Records. You can spend Virtue at shrines to unlock new features like increasing your sprinting speed.

It’s strange that Ishin’s progression for combat abilities feels so sluggish, as the progression tied to Virtue feels constantly rewarding. As you get to know the people of Kyo and see some fun side stories you’re constantly gaining points, which in turn opens up new aspects of the world. The whole system feels great, I just wish the other progression aspects of the game could match it.

The various stories you experience in side-quests strike that humorous and heartfelt balance Yakuza excels at. One sees Ryoma playing the wife in a game of house with some kids, while another has him teaching an American to be a samurai, who’s dressed in a jaw-dropping star-spangled banner Haori. Then you have the Another Life section that sees Ryoma meeting up with an Ishin version of Haruka, his adopted daughter from the main games, and gives you the ability to run a quaint little farm and cook meals to your heart’s content.

There’s an almost overwhelming amount of things to do, between substories, mini-games, friendships, and more, but Ishin does a good job of layering it all in across the story. More importantly, you can choose to pursue as much or as little as you want, at any time. There’s never pressure to break away from the main story, even though a lot of the little self-contained stories are where the real emotional storytelling lies.

What surprises me most about Like a Dragon: Ishin is how much it stands out from the rest of the franchise even though the core formula remains the same. The historical samurai theme seeps into every aspect of the game and gives Ishin a unique flair all its own, from the music that mixes traditional music with hard rock to the superbly directed cinematic scenes that just ooze with tension. It’s a wildly imaginative spinoff that perfectly captures the absurd blend of drama and weirdness Yakuza has built its name on.


Like a Dragon: Ishin launches on February 21 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Inverse reviewed the PS5 version.

INVERSE VIDEO GAME REVIEW ETHOS: Every Inverse video game review answers two questions: Is this game worth your time? Are you getting what you pay for? We have no tolerance for endless fetch quests, clunky mechanics, or bugs that dilute the experience. We care deeply about a game’s design, world-building, character arcs, and storytelling. Inverse will never punch down, but we aren’t afraid to punch up. We love magic and science-fiction in equal measure, and as much as we love experiencing rich stories and worlds through games, we won’t ignore the real-world context in which those games are made.

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A fun, lighthearted hack ‘n’ slasher with pretty girls and an atrocious framerate.

Going with the review FAQ format for this one, folks. I’ve done it for other waifu games and I think it works pretty well. Here are some past examples to get you acclimated to the format. This one’s pretty fun, but also pretty janky.

Hey Zach, a little bird told me you’re playing a new waifu game.

Oh hey, disembodied voice! I’m playing a hack ‘n’ slash game called Samurai Maiden in which 21st century high schooler Tsumugi Tamaori is transported back to the Sengoku period, where she finds out she’s the Princess of Harmony and starts working for Nobunaga Oda and his three multi-dimensional girlfriends to stop the Demon Lord from taking over the multiverse.

That sure sounds like a video game you’d like.

It sure does, and I sure do, despite its technical issues. This is a stage-based hack ‘n’ slash at its core, but I feel like we need to come up with a unique subgenre for games like this.

Games like what?

You know, games where you’re an attractive anime girl teaming up with other cute anime girls, leaning hard into anime tropes, in a hack ‘n’ slash format with some light RPG elements and heavy on character dialogue. Other examples include Senran Kagura, Onechanbara, Neptunia, and Azure Lane (although the latter barely has “game” segments).

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How about Waifu Slasher?

That sounds like a horror movie, but you get the idea; we’ll workshop it. These are all variations on a theme. In Samurai Maiden, you control Tamaori as she slays her way—


…slays her way through undead hordes who put up very little resistance as she goes through an incredibly straightforward, purely decorative environment before running up against much larger miniboss enemies. As the game continues, more of these mini-bosses will be present in any given stage. Every few stages, you’ll fight an actual boss character solo—that is, without an undead entourage.

What about Nobunaga’s girlfriends?

To be fair, they don’t seem to be his actual girlfriends. They’re other maidens from other dimensions who are joining your cause to destroy the Demon Lord, although one of them (Iyo) does know Nobunaga personally. One of the three is always shadowing you, but you can (usually) swap them out at any time. They provide attack support and have some largely superfluous environmental actions. All three conform to deeply ingrained anime stereotypes and are simultaneously charming and exhausting.

Can you describe them?

Sure. Iyo is the spunky, enthusiastic shinobi who never questions her devotion to Nobunaga. Her normal attack involves throwing fireworks at enemies, but she can also carry explosives and healing items onto the battlefield, although it’s rarely helpful. In terms of personality, she’s similar to Asuka from Senran Kagura.

How come she’s rarely helpful?

You have to tell her where to place the bombs, which takes time. A bomb doesn’t just appear out of mid-air, she has to literally carry it over to the spot where you want it placed. Unfortunately, by the time she gets there, the enemy has probably moved somewhere else. Her healing pot is better, but you’ll have to break your focus on not getting killed to run over and take advantage of it before it disappears. Her one truly helpful item is the decoy, which draws mook attention so you can concentrate on the Big Bad.

Okay, so Iyo’s not great.

Then you’ve got Hagane, the older, “mature” girl with a voluptuous figure who doesn’t mind drawing attention to it. She’s got a mechanical arm and, allegedly, other mechanical parts, but her boobs are completely real in case Tamaori was wondering. She can pull enemies towards Tamaori and also electrify her extendable arm to do damage in a straight line in front of her. In the environment, she can use her arm like a grapple and swing Tamaori across gaps. She’s better in a fight than Iyo, but her attacks have very limited range. Her personality is similar to Haruka or Shiki in Senran.

But she has big boobs?

She does, and it’s especially obvious with the swimsuit DLC, where her boobs kind of pillow out of the sides of the suit, something I’ve never seen before with character models.

Never change, Zach.

And then you’ve got Komimi, a young “tough girl” who’s a kitsune character and hates having her ears or tail touched but secretly loves it. She’s all business, but is the most useful character in fights, because she has a big-ass hammer and can throw explosives on the field, which includes bombs dropped off by Iyo. Her Senran counterpart is probably Ikaruga or maybe Imu.

So you rely on Komimi a lot?

Yes, and that can be a problem. One of the core concepts of Samurai Maiden is developing a strong bond with all three of your companions.

Oh…how do you do that?

In theory, it’s pretty simple. The more you spend time with them in fights, and the more you have them help out during fights (you control when they attack), the more your bond increases, as shown by a heart leveling system. Remember the bonding system in Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed?

You can replay missions as much as you like to try and build up the bond with all three girls. I tried to keep it fairly even—no playing favorites here, although that’s obviously going to change with the swimsuit DLC (which is out already). For every ten levels of connection, you get a new ability or bonus stage for each girl. The downside here is that Tamaori’s new abilities are standard hack and slash maneuvers like a quick recovery, ground slam, rising slash attack, three-hit combo, and parry. And there’s no indication what you’ll receive at every bond level, so you can’t really plan ahead. That’s why I would recommend replaying levels and keeping all three girls within a level of two of each other.

What are the bonus stages?

These are stages where you can only bring along the subject gal pal, and they’re usually fairly nightmarish platforming challenges with some light puzzle solving. Remember how frustrating the “Retro Stages” were in Super Mario Sunshine?

Having recently suffered through them on the Super Mario 3D All-Stars Collection, yes. Awful.

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Well, imagine platforming challenges in a game that is NOT built for platforming! Tamaori’s double-jump is imprecise, so landing on smaller platforms—narrow ones especially—is a problem! You also have to manhandle the camera during these areas, which in some cases means changing your view while also leaping off rapidly-flipping platforms. The puzzles are generally quite easy, though: have Komimi throw bombs at targets, or stand on a switch before directing Iyo to go stand on another switch. Most of Hagane’s bonus areas involve her grapple arm. The prizes for these bonus stages usually involve new gal pal abilities or weapons.

Ooh, you can equip different weapons?

Yes, and you can enhance existing weapons!

Indeed! While murderizing monsters, you gain purple orbs, which you’ll pour into enhancing Tamaori’s weapons and the weapons of her friends. Her own weapons upgrade pretty cheaply, and I think they only go up to Level 20. The trio’s weapons, however, cost much more to upgrade, so I found myself farming orbs in early missions to afford their enhancements.

Do the enhancements help?

Sorta? It was hard to tell during actual gameplay. I rarely switched away from their default stuff because those were the weapons I upgraded; each weapon has to be leveled up by itself. Each weapon has abilities which unlock as you upgrade them but, again, it’s not obvious what’s changing during combat.

Hmmm. How IS the combat?

Once you unlock more attack slots for each girl (they all have cooldown periods) and unlock a handful of Tamaori’s standard attacks, the combat is pretty fun…but mindless. Normal undead enemies rarely put up a fight—their attack patterns can be identified by their color—but the minibosses put up a bigger fight. Auto-targeting is essential, but you have to be fairly close to the enemies for your companions’ attacks to be useful. Minibosses also have a nasty habit of breaking away from your auto-target, and YOU will have to break away from it to take advantage of Iyo’s healing pots. However, there’s something very satisfying about locking these minibosses into a stun cycle when you’re spamming helper attacks while slashing them to smithereens with Tamaori.

How about normal bosses?

Normal boss fights require a lot more diligence, but thankfully they lack the lackeys. They hit much harder and you need to pay attention to their windups. Once you figure out their patterns, though, it’s just a matter of keeping the pressure on.

That all sounds great, honestly. What’s the downside?

Oh, there’s a downside.

This is where we talk about the game’s technical performance. While I have to praise the character models (and hair effects) of Samurai Maiden, I’ve seen Waifu Slashers perform much better on other systems, including the PlayStation Vita.

Hey, I remember the Vita.

Right? I powered it up last night just to play some Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien! Man, what a good game. Shame about Runner3.

So what’s the deal with Samurai Maiden?

For a game with bare bones environments, water textures that are literally just a flat texture without any movement or opacity, backgrounds that are functionally empty, and level topography that makes Pokémon Legends: Arceus look like an Xbox Series X game, Samurai Maiden is extremely framey. The framerate drops while Tamaori is just running through the stage. It drops more when enemies show up, even more when she starts attacking those enemies, and it turns into a slideshow when she and her girlfriends are wreaking havoc on the whole group of enemies.

And some battlefields have a lot going on—in addition to more enemies than probably need to exist, you sometimes have environmental obstacles, explosions, shocking effects, somebody swinging a giant ice hammer, and Tamaori doing the kinds of swordplay acrobatics that would make the average Senran girl stand up and take notes. And of course, her sword swipes have particle effects, too. It’s all way too much for the Switch to handle, so while I usually came out the other side of each fight without much trouble, the actual fighting process was almost comical in its brokenness.

To be fair, this has always been an issue on Switch.

Sure, but it’s still annoying.

Anything else? Isn’t there some controversy about the game?

Oh, do you mean the smooching?

So once you accrue enough of a connection with each girl, Tamaori (who’s apparently polyamorous) will be able to active something called “Devotion Heart” during battle, which briefly increases certain stats depending on which of her friends are on the field with her. This activation is preceded by a brief cutscene in which she…KISS de girl (whoa whoa).

Oh my stars and garters!

Right? I think it’s probably meant to be titillating, but here in North America, at least, same-sex smooching is pretty blasé. Now, if Tamaori buried her face in Hagane’s cleavage or something…

Stop picturing that. STOP IT.

So with all that in mind, would you recommend Samurai Maiden?

I actually would recommend it if you’re a fan of Waifu Hack ‘n’ Slashers, but the Switch’s framerate issues keep me from issuing a full-throated endorsement. If you have access to other modern consoles, maybe check out some gameplay videos. If it’s way smoother during combat situations, maybe go for that version. I’m enjoying the game on Switch, and will be buying some of the DLC, but it suffers a lot on the performance side. That and the terrible platforming segments that, thankfully, are pretty rare.

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Cool cool cool. Thanks, I’ll check out some videos.

Maybe somebody will make a Hagane figure.

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin Slot — Review, Free & Demo Play

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin Slot - Review, Free & Demo Play

There is always something very cool and appealing about the world of noble Samurai, so it’s no surprise that a lot of Asian slots are dedicated to these warriors. The brand new slot we take a look at today is the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin, released on 05/09/2022! In this great game, you have a lot of goodies to enjoy: respins, free spins, bonus symbols, Bonus features, and even a possibility to purchase free spins!

Plus, the game has a fine RTP level and graphics and we will discuss all these and more in the following Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin review!

Release Date: 05.09.2022
Volatility: High
Max. win:1,000x
Bonus game:Yes
Free spins:Yes
Scatter Symbol:Yes
Wild symbol:Yes
Symbol Stacked:Yes
Jackpot Game: No
Slot lines:25
Slot reels:6
Stakes range (€/£/$):0.25 to 250
Slot Theme:Asia, Japan

Best Casino Bonus for Real Money on this Slot Welcome offer: up to €400 + 150 Free Spins

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin Free Play

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin Slot - Review, Free & Demo Play preview

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Best Casinos to Play Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin for Real Money

To play Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin for real money and win real cash, you will need to find a casino that has this game in its catalog. And note that simply having this slot is not enough, and the casino of your choice must also be reliable and safe. It must be licensed, have good feedback, a fine, clear interface, offer different bonuses, and more. Lucky for you, we have managed to find such the best casinos that follow all that criteria of good quality, and now we would be glad to share these places with you, to make your search for casinos a lot easier!


How to Play

In the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin game, you will play on a 6×3 layout, and while it is less common than, let’s say, 5×3 or 5×4, don’t worry. The gameplay of this Oriental slot is very simple, and you will learn how to play very quickly, especially with our help. What we should also note is that Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin has 25 paylines which provides a lot of winning chances. But do you know what will help to win even more? Bonus Features! Below we will take a look at them in more detail, but for now, let’s look at the basics of how to play Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin.

  1. After you have launched the game, you first need to set your bet. The lowest stake here is €0.25 and the highest is €250
  2. Next, make sure that you take a look at the paytable and rules menu, which you can do by clicking the question mark symbol next to the betting options
  3. Note that The Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin slot has a Bonus Buy, with the help of which you can activate the Free Spins feature right away. So if you want, you can buy this option, and then the game will automatically start with free spins
  4. Otherwise, you can just press the red spin button in the middle, and set the reels in motion!

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin RTP and Volatility


The RTP of the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin is 96.31% and the volatility is medium-high.

Since the volatility of the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin is medium-high, it means that here you will get the wins and prizes not as often as in the low volatility games, but said prizes will be more valuable as well.

Other than that, Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin has a very good Return to Player rate, and after your win, 96.31% will be paid back to you. This is a percentage that is a bit above average.


Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin

The Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin is an Asian slot with a very beautiful design, set in a lovely Japanese environment. Not only is the quality of this game very pretty, with vibrant color and details, but in general the design here is good: you have the reels with detailed golden lines, the scenery of the night town with beautiful skies and flying sakura petals. Plus, the soothing music that accompanies the gameplay creates even more sense of immersion into the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin slot. So as far as the design goes, we like the one presented here.

Now the symbols in the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin are divided into 3 categories: low, medium, and high. The low symbols here are J, Q (these are the lowest paying ones on the game), K, and A. The medium symbols are the tower, geta (wooden flip flops), the samurai helmet, and the katana.

Finally, the high symbols in this game are Wild, Free Spins symbol, Bonus, Countdown Wild, and Mystery Symbols. The Wild does the same thing it always does and substitutes for all symbols except free spins and bonus ones. Plus, it will pay 1,000x your stake. The Free Spins symbol will help trigger the free spins feature if you collect 3 of them, and the Bonus will activate the Bonus Game feature if you land on 3 of them.

Other than that, there is a Mystery symbol that will uncover and reveal 1 random symbol (except Bonus, Free Spins, and Wild) after the reels have stopped. Meanwhile Countdown Wild will launch the Respin mode.

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin slot paytable

Mobile Compatibility

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin slot mobile

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin is also made with HTML5 technology, and, just like all the slot machines of Spinomenal, it will run perfectly fine on all mobile gadgets, no matter which OC your device runs on. What is also very good is that no matter if you play on the computer, smartphone, or tablet, the performance of the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin slot still remains the same as long as you have a good internet connection.

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The Spinomenal has been making phenomenal games since 2014, and as of now, they have over 300 fantastic titles, such as their Demi Gods and Book Of… series as well as Snegurochka, Poseidon’s Rising, Blue Panther, Mammoth Rampage, Majestic King and others. All of these games are known for their high quality, beautiful design, a wide variety of features, and mobile compatibility. Moreover, not only does Spinomenal has a reputation as one of the most reputable providers in the industry, but it is also licensed by MGA and certified by BMM and eCOGRA.

Bonus Rounds & Free Spins


Countdown Wild

The Countdown Wild is a special symbol that activates the Respin Mode feature after the reels have stopped, and this special is present on the reels. In the Respin mode, the Countdown Wild will remain locked for the next respin and the count of the symbol will go down by 1. Once there are no more Countdown Wilds on the reels, the Respin feature end.

Free Spins

After landing on 3+ Scatters, they will trigger the special feature – Free Spins. When this mode is active, the Wild symbol will expand on one of the reels and will remain locked until the end of the feature. Now when the Free Spins mode starts, you will be able to choose 1 out of 6 offered options of 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, or 22 free spins. Depending on the option, the Stacked Wild symbol will be located on a different reel and the number of free spins will change accordingly.

Bonus Game

To start the Bonus Game you need to land on 3 Scatters. In this feature, the game will present you with 3 levels and you will have 3 attempts to spin the wheel and win different prizes. These include extra spins, level up, or multipliers. What the level up does is that it moves you up one level of the wheel, where the prices are much more valuable.

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin slot bonus game

Bonus Buy

With the Bonus Buy it will be possible to skip the wait and collecting symbols process and jump into the Free Spins feature right away. How much this option will cost depends on the stake you’ve set, so the game will automatically calculate the price of the Bonus Buy.

Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin Demo Play

Thanks to the demo it is possible to play the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin for free, and test everything this slot has to offer. While you will not be able to win real cash in the demo, it does permit you to try all the game modes of the Story of the Samurai The Last Ronin and learn how they work. Also, you don’t need to register at a casino, since the demo requires no deposit; instead, you will only use the demo coins the game provides.

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