Way of the Samurai 4

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  • There's no way to increase your max life or vitality. Because of this, it's quite possible to get one-shot on Hard difficulty and up. Counteract it with defensive abilities or items: most styles have a 'all attacks reduced by x%' move you can learn, and you should always be carrying around lots of Medicine (bought from the medicine shop on Great crime rate on the 4th day or later) which is an auto-revive. Alternatively, you can tote around a Fortune x 3 sword, but making swords of that calibre isn't really doable on your first run.
  • What you should make on your first run, and keep with you forever, is a Life+Death sword. Enter the smith's shop repeatedly until you have a blade, a guard, and a grip with Life+Death runes on them, then craft that sword. The charms have to be in the right position so that they make a line when the three parts are put together. This'll net you a sword that regenerates Vitality - not enough to really use in combat, but it'll save you a ton of food and inn fees.
  • If you get a Blank Book from the casino you can bring it to the dojo and make your own style. This will let you pull together three different stances and any combination of moves and abilities you know from those stances into one style, so it's definitely in your best interests to unlock as many moves as you can.
  • The event tree is simpler than it looks. It's divided into three main trees, the nationalists, the British consulate, and the Empire. By and large, there's nothing to lock you out of those paths until you get into minor requirements that determine whether you're on the 'good' or 'bad' path for that faction. There's also the true ending path, which is well hidden and almost completely separate.
  • Several events in Day 2 determine whether three facilities are open or closed, and this carries over between games. Most importantly: if the Language School is closed, you can't understand random British people, and if the Casino is closed, you can't use it to gamble. Generally the faction-specific paths don't really care if something's already opened or closed, they'll just slightly change their mission to cope, but it's very important for the true ending.
  • Blacksmith stuff: stat caps are 500 attack, 2000 durability. Raising attack gives between 15 and 50 attack, with a slightly exponential curve - more attack, more attack from forging. Raising durability always gives +500. Save swords if their durability is good (15+), otherwise melt them down with 'Extract'. Collect enough of a type of metal and you can 'Recast' a sword, which spends metal to temper a sword past its durability limit.
  • There are four people who give non-random sidequests: the Thief in the harbour, the samurai in the magistrate's grounds, the Mistress in town, and Gramps in Little Britain. Completing quests for the Thief or Mistress will lower public order, while the other two will raise it. Public order affects how often you see thugs or constables around town but generally you want it high, because you'll get discounts and more choice in shops.
  • It's not obvious, but you have a limit on how many styles you can carry as well as how many weapons and items. Stash ones you're not using in the dojo or else you too will be unable to pick up that style you've been grinding for.
  • If you want to end a playthrough early, you've got a couple options. If you've done a lot of events and good sidequests, consider getting yourself killed, because that way you'll earn samurai points for the run. Otherwise, go talk to the boatman in Amihara anytime and he'll offer you a lift.
  • Jump kick everyone in the face.