Rise Of The Ronin Is A Cat Lover’s Paradise

Rise Of The Ronin Is A Cat Lover’s Paradise

Just as I arrive in Yokohama, one of Rise of the Ronin’s three major cities, I hear a soft meowing in the distance. Spurred by what must be the cutest of cats, I sprint off in the direction of the mews when I encounter a dilapidated bandit camp. I kill everyone there, not just because the game’s swordplay is fantastic, but because I so very desperately wanna pet the kitty. This has become my obsession in Team Ninja’s latest RPG, and as a cat parent myself, I believe this game—and this feline-hunting objective—will make cat lovers swoon.

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Rise of the Ronin is the upcoming action-adventure game by Nioh and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty developer Team Ninja. Coming out on March 22 for PlayStation 5, this open-world samurai RPG takes place during the Bakumatsu era, the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and policies of cultural isolation that gave way to the modernization of Japan as we know it. As a nameless and masterless warrior, known as “ronin” in the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll take part in key events during Japan’s late 19th century, meeting historically pivotal figures, such as the American naval officer Matthew C. Perry and the anti-Shogunate nationalist Ryoma Sakamoto (yep, the same guy played by Kazuma Kiryu in last year’s Like A Dragon: Ishin). I’ve been having a great time with this politically charged story about revolution and upheaval at a time when a cholera outbreak sparked by an influx of foreigners is plaguing the country. Learning about history is great and all, but the best part might be scouring the world for cats.

Rise of the Ronin’s cats make you stronger

Felines are everywhere in Rise of the Ronin, just kinda hanging out, doing cat stuff: cleaning, hissing, meowing, sleeping. Every one of them beckons you to find and pet them, though knowing cats, I’m sure they’d rather be left alone. Regardless, when you do manage to get some snuggle time with these furbabies, you get some solid rewards for your troubles. For starters, it’s just pure satisfaction and a thrilling adventure to track down these felines either atop mountains, on the road, in houses, or even deep within enemy caves. By holding down R1 on the DualSense controller, you can “pet” the cat, which gives you a short petting animation as the camera pulls into the loving embrace the two of you share. It’s adorably cute and heartwarming, particularly as the cat purrs and nestles its head into your cubital fossa (or the space between your arm and forearm). It’s kind of like coming home after a long day and petting your cat. You worked hard for this moment, you know?

My Rise of the Ronin character pets a multi-colored calico cat.

Screenshot: Team Ninja / Kotaku

Outside of the satisfaction of holding a (digital) cat, Rise of the Ronin rewards you for finding and petting them. Early on, you’ll encounter a female entertainer who has a particular affection for felines. This character sells all sorts of special items in exchange for silver coins, a currency you get by completing open-world objectives like finding lost cats and hunting down fugitives. You can buy regular old gear from her, like armor and weapons, and you can also purchase stat-increasing scrolls to get experience points for the Charm attribute, which affects your poise, Ki recovery, and luck stats. In this way, locating the felines is both heartwarming and rewarding, making it a fantastic method to grow stronger while filling your heart with love.

There’s also some historical context for why locating those missing cats strengthens your powers in Rise of the Ronin. As Smithsonian Magazine explained in a September 2020 post, cats have featured prominently in Japanese folklore for centuries, ranging from corpse-eating monsters to the ubiquitous Maneki Neko (or “lucky cat”). But I have my own suspicions for why Rise of the Ronin places such an emphasis on finding cats: We need them more than they need us as they warm our souls and give positive benefits throughout our lifetimes. It’s sweet.

Read More: I’m Here For Everything Rise Of The Ronin Is Serving
Buy Rise of the Ronin: Amazon | Best Buy | Target | Walmart

“What a relief it is to see even a small number of my beloved cats come back to me,” the merchant tells me early on in Rise of the Ronin. “I cannot imagine a life without them…To feel their weight upon my lap is enough to raise my spirits.” I feel the same way when my cat, Loquacious “Loki” Winslow, decides I can pet him—but just this one time. There’s something about their furry coats, their ticklish whiskers, their sharp claws, their adorable meows, that raises my spirits when things get tough. And things are tough in Rise of the Ronin, in a period marked by political turmoil and wanton bloodshed. We could all stand to pet the kitty every now and then, especially if it makes us stronger along the way.

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