Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Item - Life as a Samurai

Series: You Choose: Interactive History Adventures
Author: Doeden, Matt
Date: August 1, 2010
ISBN: 1429647833 / 9781429647830
Length: 112 pages
Number of Endings: 17
User Summary: As a samurai in feudal Japan, you may choose to fight in the Gempei War, to battle alongside Oda Nobunaga, or to have adventures as a wandering ronin.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

I found this book less interesting than other entries by Matt Doeden. Part of the reason may be that this book emphasizes honor more than strategy. This is in keeping with the type of character you are supposed to play but makes the outcomes of choices much more predictable. One of the three adventures included is also particularly unsatisfying since there is no ending that feels like a success. Maybe the author was trying to convey how difficult life was for real samurai, but the end result only leads to reader frustration. Sword of the Samurai in the Time Machine series, with all its flaws, was a much better experience.

Having read a couple of the historical You Choose books, I can say I like them less than the Time Machine series. That other series skillfully integrated historical facts into the adventure, so that the reader was simultaneously learning and being entertained. The You Choose series, on the other hand, places a stronger focus on action, with the historical facts tacked on in a series of appendices at the end of the book. This means that, in this series, learning feels more a chore than an adventure. I'm not saying they are bad gamebooks, but they do not compare favourably to what came before them.

More reviews by Guillermo

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the softback cover images and to Guillermo Paredes for the hardback cover image, plot summary and other details.

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