Whether in books, movies, TV shows, or video games, samurais are depicted as being honorable warriors with both mental and physical fortitude.
Add swordsman to that list and you end up with a unique hero archetype that’s not only fun to play as but also allows for interesting stories to be told from the samurai perspective.
To illustrate just how great samurais can be, here we’re highlighting the best samurai games on Steam, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
Remember to bookmark this list and check back in the future for more recommendations of the top samurai games on PC and console.
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Platforms: Windows, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One
Elden Ring is one of the best new releases to include a samurai class for those looking to master the art of the blade.
Along with high dexterity, the Samurai starts the game at level 9 with a katana, bow and arrows, and one-handed shield.
Combine this with the Samurai’s Land of Reeds armor set and you end up with a fantastic starting class that will appeal to both Dark Souls veterans and newcomers.
Furthermore, players who pick this class can look forward to exploring the world to track down the best equipment for the ultimate Samurai build.
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
Hayai is an arcade-inspired indie action game that sees you attempting to survive an onslaught of enemies using a unique mouse-based combat system.
The way it works is enemies swoop in to surround you before you get to draw your sword’s line of attack by hovering over each one to create a chain.
Once released, you’ll see your samurai flash across the screen in the blink of an eye and fell all foes in one single swoop.
The game features five playable characters, each with distinct playstyles, along with leaderboards and achievements that encourage you to change up your tactics.
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Another samurai game we recommend is the online arena fighter For Honor, in which players pick from either Knight, Viking, or Samurai classes before heading into battle.
Each class can be customized and outfitted with a wide selection of melee weapons, emblems, and attacks that allow you to personalize your samurai’s fighting style.
For Honor currently offers 18 unique heroes and maps along with PvP and ranked modes where you can hone your skills while unlocking new gear for your character.
While it’s admittingly grown a bit long in the tooth and doesn’t have the most welcoming community, there’s a lot of fun to be had with the right group of players.
Platforms: Windows, PS5, PS4
Next up, Nioh 2 is a single-player action RPG that doubles down on the Soulslike design of its predecessor while allowing you to customize your own samurai character.
The game’s story takes place in Sengoku-era Japan prior to the original Nioh and sees you playing as Hide, a half-spirit half-samurai warrior with a long journey ahead of them.
In it, players can wield a vast arsenal of samurai-inspired weapons that includes odachi, kusarigama, and dual katanas among many others.
Each weapon features distinct characteristics that affect your samurai’s playstyle to reveal new attack combinations with pros and cons depending on the enemy you’re facing.
Ghost of Tsushima
Platforms: PS5, PS4
Of course, no samurai game list is complete without including Suckerpunch’s critically-acclaimed open-world title Ghost of Tsushima.
Set in 13th century Japan, the game sees you taking on the role of a samurai who’s forced to bear arms after his home is overrun by Mongol invaders.
Throughout the story, Jin is forced to toe the line between sacred samurai traditions and less-honorable ‘ghost’ tactics that rely on stealth and aggression.
This allows the player some flexibility in how they decide to tackle various obstacles, leading to a livelier gameplay designed for diverse playstyles.
Total War: Shogun 2
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Samurai fans who enjoy turn-based strategy games have likely already dabbled with the Total War series, in particular Total War: Shogun 2.
This game casts you as leader and general of one of nine clans belonging to different feudal Japanese provinces but you can raise that number to 12 by purchasing all the DLC.
Gameplay entails monitoring your clan and strengthening it by establishing settlements, training military units, researching technologies, and resolving political disputes.
Based on the clan chosen, players may be better equipped to handle conflicts diplomatically or with a swift hand of justice by sending troops into battle.
Onimusha: Warlords Remastered
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
An updated version of a samurai classic, Onimusha: Warlords original released in 2001 and sees you playing as various Sengoku-era Japanese historical figures trained in the art of combat.
Each of them must rely on tried-and-true samurai battle tactics as they go toe-to-toe with supernatural forces, solve environmental puzzles, and explore vibrant environments.
The game’s biggest selling point is its stylish hack and slash combat which still holds up in 2023 thanks to a remaster that preserves Warlords’ gameplay and dramatic storytelling.
What you get instead are updated controls, support for widescreen displays, a new soundtrack, and other enhancements that warrant revisiting one of the best samurai games of all time.
Samurai Gunn 2
Platforms: Windows, PS5, Switch
If you’re searching for a samurai game you can play with friends, look no further than Samurai Gunn 2, the follow-up to the chaotic multiplayer brawler created by Beau Blyth.
In it, up to four players battle to the death across tiny platform arenas where each character is given a sword and gun with only three bullets.
While combat is easy to pick up, it offers enough complexity to devise new strategies on the fly by climbing walls, dashing, playing dead, and turning invisible.
The sequel introduces a new Adventure mode where players can carve out their own path in challenging levels designed for both solo and cooperative play.
Our next samurai recommendation is the brutal open-world survival RPG Kenshi, which sees players exploring a harsh wasteland teeming with adversity and rewards for those willing to struggle.
While it may not exclusively be a samurai game, it supports a wide range of character builds with unique weapons, including katanas.
Combat in Kenshi is as intricate and merciless as its other gameplay systems, necessitating players to dedicate time to hone their attacks and only engage in battles that they know they can prevail in.
With that said, the game is very open-ended in terms of what you can do and where you can go, allowing you to join different factions, travel from town to town, and stir up trouble everywhere you go.
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, iOS
Many will recognize Samurai Jack from his Cartoon Network series and appearance in several licensed games, with Battle Through Time being the latest one.
In it, players follow Jack as he’s forced to travel through a timeless void by his arch-nemesis Aku and face off against his biggest foes with help from trusted allies.
The game functions as a retelling of sorts that chronicles Jack’s greatest exploits while introducing new elements to keep combat feeling fresh.
This includes over a dozen different samurai weapons along with a host of unlockable skills and a training mode to practice and get better.
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Switch
Having hit its console peak in the 1990s, Samurai Shodown has spent the past few decades as an exclusively arcade and mobile fighting game franchise.
However, the recent Samurai Shodown reboot revisits the series’ console roots alongside a PC port that sees players duking it out on the world stage.
In it, warriors from different backgrounds and styles come together to engage in intense sword-based combat unmatched by any other fighting game.
Considering the game’s community is split among console, Steam, and Epic platforms, your best bet for finding a match is using Reddit or Discord to find other players.
Samurai Warriors 5
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Although Dynasty Warriors is Koei Tecmo’s premiere Musou franchise, the Samurai Warriors games are also good for some hack and slash fun.
The entry we’re recommending to players is Samurai Warriors 5, which reimagines the series with updated painterly visuals that make environments and characters come to life.
On the gameplay side of things, SW5 features a revamped roster of characters and tactical action-driven combat that lets you beat mobs of enemies to a pulp using an array of weapons and abilities.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for satisfying and fast-paced samurai combat that makes you feel like a powerful warrior, this is probably your best option.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Switch, Mac
Switching from 3D to 2D samurai games, Katana Zero is a stylish action-platformer that sees you playing as a katana-wielding assassin struggling with his mental health.
The game swaps back and forth between therapy sessions and challenging side-scrolling levels where players will have to deflect bullets, dodge attacks, and slice through enemies to survive.
Your character can also take a special drug that slows down time and lets them see into the future to anticipate their foe’s next move.
It’s definitely one of the more challenging samurai games on this list but is worth checking out for its visual presentation and writing alone.
Mark of the Ninja: Remastered
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Mac, Linux
Mark of the Ninja: Remastered is another well-received samurai game that incorporates ninja strategies into its combat while telling a unique story.
In it, players are cast as a warrior torn between ancient customs and modern technology in a world plagued by corruption.
Each of the game’s 2D side-scrolling levels presents multiple paths to take depending on whether you want to play things stealthy or go in hot.
The Remastered version updates the now 10-year-old title with enhanced visuals, audio, developer commentary, and bonus story content.
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Linux
The next title we suggest samurai fans check out is Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, a hardcore tactical stealth game that has you managing a team of samurai spies.
Its story takes place during the Japanese Edo period when a new Shogun has risen to power and organized a task force to help squash a rebellion.
To be successful in your mission, you’ll have to combine the spies’ weapons, abilities, traps, and tools while eliminating targets and avoiding detection whenever possible.
There’s a good amount of variety in the characters’ playstyle and solutions for tackling just about every challenge the game throws your way.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Our final samurai recommendation is FromSoftware’s hit action-adventure Soulslike game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Like many of the titles already mentioned, the game is set in Sengoku-era Japan and has you playing as a deadly Shinobi warrior on a quest to get revenge against the samurai who severed his arm.
This entails carrying a katana and other traditional Japanese weapons into battle against larger-than-life enemies and bosses that benefit from From’s demanding combat mechanics.
At the same time, Sekiro stands out from other Soulslike titles for its fluid traversal in which your character’s prosthetic arm doubles as a grappling hook and various tools.