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Ashigaru: The Last Shogun

Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: LGS Games Productions
Release Date: May 19, 2022


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PS4 Review - 'Ashigaru: The Last Shogun'

by Cody Medellin on Sept. 9, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Set during the Sengoku period, Ashigaru: The Last Shogun is an open-world samurai adventure where powerful daimyos fight for power and territories in a near-constant civil war across the country.

No matter the platform, every digital storefront has bad games, and there are times when you'll wonder how the games ever passed quality control. Since 2017, LGS Productions and Gilson B. Pontes seem to ensure that the PlayStation Store gets at least one of its titles a year. For 2022, that game is Ashigaru: The Last Shogun.

According to the lengthy introduction, the daimyos from the Takeda and Tokugawa clans were at constant war, and Shingen Takeda is gravely injured in battle. Sensing the imminent death of their leader, the members of the clan send forth their ashigaru to eliminate the members of the Tokugawa clan once and for all.

Once you gain control of your nameless character, you'll find yourself walking in a randomly generated abandoned area until you reach a weapon flanked by two torches. Touch that, and you'll be transported to a more open area, where you'll either go on foot or on horseback to a waypoint to locate another weapon surrounded by torches. Touch that, and you'll get new waypoints that show where your enemies are. Get near them, and you'll engage in combat with the hope of eliminating your opponent and seeking another one to kill.

It is no exaggeration to say that you will never beat the game. It's not because of a high difficulty level or the need to improve your skills; it's because nothing works as intended. You only have one attack button, R1, and pressing it can pull off any random attack. There are times when you'll attack and be repelled by an invisible force. There's no way to tell what your range is or how effective your attack is because the enemy only has to swing once, and you'll die instantly. Once you do, you'll be sent back to the start to try the whole thing all over again.

Aside from it being impossible to kill anyone, Ashigaru likes to do random things for no reason. Time titles given to each level are completely randomized, even though what you'll face is a Japan that is a barren wasteland with pagodas dotting the landscape, a constant storm every night, and high winds every day. It's normal to see two suns in the sky during the day and up to six moons at night. You'll sometimes have a wolf by your side who does nothing in combat and can't even be petted. Ride a horse, and you'll discover that you can walk faster. Touch the weapon needed to go into combat, and the horse will run away. Sometimes you'll spawn into two different villages before finally going into the battlefield. In short, nothing makes sense, and your journey to kill just one person is always going to be in vain.

The worst part is that this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has tried a Gilson B. Pontes game. Every game released by that developer and LGS Productions seems to have followed the same blueprint of a strange medieval setting in Europe or Japan; a long time walking around a barren setting looking for a checkpoint; dying from only one hit; and being sent to repeat the process with no modifiers, tutorial, or settings that can be modified. At this rate, the games are worse than asset flips with no sense of programming, and it wouldn't be surprising if 2023 brings yet another game from the producer/developer combo that has a slightly different look but behaves in exactly the same way.

Graphically, there are only two things that mildly impress. First, the game goes for a black and white aesthetic much like Trek to Yomi. Second, when running on a PS5, the PS4 game goes to 60fps. Things quickly devolve from there, as you'll quickly notice that any movement causes multiple screen tears that give the impression that the frame rate is dropping quickly. Get into the actual gameplay, and you'll notice that the walking animations for the characters are fairly decent, but the characters come with the deadest possible eyes, reminiscent of an early PS2 game. The fact that the character looks nothing like any Japanese person is indicative of the amount of expended effort. Attack animations look stiff with no transitions between frames, and the game doesn't bother to provide any death animations for the protagonist.

The first thing you'll note about the sound is that it is overly loud. No matter what your normal listening volume is, you'll need to turn it all the way down into the low single digits to be bearable. Even then, just about every sound comes out of the controller's speaker, and with no way to control that volume from the game, you'll curse the day that Sony added this feature to the hardware. Should you finally get things to an acceptable listening volume, you'll be greeted with the sounds of a constant howling wind and your own footsteps as you cross the wasteland. Encounter an enemy, and you'll get an echoed "Fight" prompt, as if this were a fighting game, and you'll hear a similarly echoed "Game Over" when you eventually die. Like everything else here, it feels out of place, like it was ripped from somewhere else. It represents the quality of the production as a whole.

The only saving grace to Ashiragu: The Last Shogun is that it runs, and you can get one Bronze Trophy out of it. Aside from that, there are no redeeming qualities. Under no circumstances should anyone play this. It's a mystery why Sony continues to let this and other games from the developer/producer exist in the marketplace at such a high price.

Score: 2.0/10

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