Way of the Samurai - I had wanted to try this game for a long time, long before I even had a PS2. And, after that it still took me some time to get it, but I did manage to get one recently, and it was sealed and everything, joy.
On with it: The main draw of the game is to play multiple times, because what you do and don't do, affect how the story unfolds, much more than in, say, Raw Danger or Shadow of Destiny, sometimes just being at a certain place at a certain time has an outcome, but of course, choices based on text options are present as well. The story takes place in just 2 days and revolves around Rokkotsu pass, and more or less 4 factions. On one side there's the Kurou family that are historically the rulers of the pass. Then there's the Akadama clan, who are ruled by the Kurou boss' illegitimate son and want to bring back samuraidom ruling to Japan. Then there's the Meiji government (who historically ended the shogunates, this is XIX century) who intend to take control of the pass. In the middle of it all are the people who Rokkotsu, mainly a restaurant, a foundry, a swordsmith and a railroad track.
To get the full understanding of what's going on, you really have to play through it at least twice. Thankfully, and while I did only beat the story on my third try (because when you die, it's really gameover and you have to start from the beggining, oops), you can play through the game in about 1 hour and 30 minutes, which is perfect, as you can do it all in one sitting.
What I liked the most about it, is how the characters, in small number, and the situation, resembled so much a play, in that they were quite multidimensional, and while some were holier than others, everything was justifiable and it all made sense. Tough but fair, weak but honourable.
What I didn't enjoy as much was that it included some atmosphere breaking elements. The whole of Akadama clan dress up in a typical JRPG fashion (and haircuts) and the inclusion of an english woman and an afro samurai was also more or less weird hehe.
A final note for the music. While there aren't many different tracks (after all, a single playthrough is very short) I found them to be quite interesting choices. It ranges from very pleasing more or less epic tunes to a very Shenmue-like ambience tune, to traditional japanese music, and the battle theme is also an atmosphere breaker, using a more rock-ish tune with guitars (both electric and spanish), but this, as a whole, gave it a certain flair and made it stand out from other games rooted in historical Japan like... Ôkami or Cosmology of Kyoto, for instance.
All in all a nice surprise (it didn't exactly get stellar reviews) and an interesting game to enjoy.