It’s not knowledge I often get to use, but I have a shodan in Iaido, the Japanese art of the drawing of the sword. I practised Musoshinden Ryu in a budoukan on the quiet side of Kagoshima city, Japan. It is a precise and very frustrating martial art to learn: one learns first how to tie the hakama, or plaited trousers, then one learns how to tie the obi so that the sword hilt sits almost horizontal, right at the navel for quick draw. Then one learns to sit, for hours, in seiza – folded knees. Then meditation, a bow to the sword on the floor in front of you.
But Kiai: Resonance gets right, aha, to the point. It’s a samurai duelling game about one hit kills. One hit kills were the speciality of the samurai in the Kagoshima region, where I studied.
Kiai: Resonance is a “samurai fighting game where one hit off-guard is fatal”. Players have to adjust their sword position to counter their opponent’s, making it about “creating a mind game where you have to anticipate [the] next attack” according to Belgian developers Absorb Reality. Graphics are of course meant to evoke old Japanese traditional prints. Devs say that “classic one vs. one, either alone against the AI, two on the same screen, or online” modes will be available, among various other challenges.
Also no sign of the after-kill chi-buri – the blood flick – which is really my favourite part of samurai sword arts. Ah well. There were no tampon dispensers in Alien: Isolation either.