Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Samurai Shodown is one of the latest tournament styled 1v1 fighting versus to get the “next-gen” treatment. Hosting a story mode alongside both offline and online versus modes, this slower paced yet difficult to master fighter was a treat to dive into.
I’m not normally one to pick up a fighting versus title, and if I do, it’s generally to play either single player or against my brother. Let’s just say that against my brother I generally lose so it’s normally for me to experience some sort of story. That said, sometimes I get an itch and I think that maybe now is the time that I can pick up said fighting versus title and do well. Well… I did ok on my first run through and then decided maybe it was a good idea to run through the tutorial to learn some neat tricks.
Samurai Shodown is a classic style 1v1 arcade based fighter. Set on a single line to go left and right, the moves that you have at your disposal aren’t inherently designed to be chained together unless you’ve started to get a hang of the system. Now it’s not to say that the combat is slow, but, each move is designed to be performed “one at a time” so going on for a sliding kick may not immediately result in a flying uppercut combo. Instead, you can chain some attacks together such as a light into a medium into a heavy but generally after a heavy the blowback is enough that you won’t be hitting your opponent again until they get back off of the ground.
The overall gist of the combat is basically that button mashing will not save you. Period. You have to learn the system. You have to get to know the characters and their move sets. Some are faster than others. Some are stronger than others. From the time that I spent with Samurai Shodown some characters seemed to be a tad “broken” but after figuring out some new moves and counters, the only character that really seemed broken was the final boss of the story mode. That however, is par for the course.
In terms of modes, side to that of the offline story mode, there’s also a Time Trial, Survival, Gauntlet and the well known Versus to fight against someone else sitting right beside you. Starting with the time trial mode, you’ll have to go up against a series of enemies on an ever decreasing timer. Thankfully for every defeated opponent the clock will add a bit more time to it capping out at 99 seconds should you need it. as it is almost tradition to the style, the beginning opponents are fairly easy ramping up in difficulty as you work your way through the roster.
Unlike Time Trial, Survival Mode will have you go through the same motions but without having to worry about a clock that continuously counts down and doesn’t reset. Instead, you’ll have to worry about only getting back a portion of lost health. Finally, in Gauntlet Mode, you’ll go up against every other character, finishing it off with both forms of the story’s final boss.
Moving into the multiplayer modes, you can choose from one of two styles of opponents. The first and easiest to explain is that you can face off against other players online. The second mode is a little bit different than your norm and can be found within the Dojo. Entering the Dojo you can either face off against “ghosts” which are CPU that have the ability to learn from players one at a time or if you’re really feeling brave, head into an Ironman Challenge to fight one-hundred in a row. I found this mode a perfect idea to get your feet wet against what you could find against other players online as there is only so much you’ll get to learn from the standard CPU.
If I had any issues with Samurai Shodown it would be in the performance on the Series X. Load times for the console felt much longer than they should have. More than that, I’m finally beginning to appreciate the beginnings of vertical sync options on the consoles that used to only be present on the PC. The reason for this is that the videos had a bit of a screen tearing across the 35 to 50% mark that made videos a bit harder to view which was unfortunate with how great the graphics looked.
Overall Samurai Shodown for the Xbox Series X is a pretty good 1v1 versus fighter. While I may not be able to compare it to the previous generation, it does a fairly good job at what it sets out to do whether you’re planning for a night in for some couch versus or if you’re feeling confident enough to take your skills online.Score: 8 / 10