It’s been almost 10 years since we had a new episode of Samurai Shodown, and we remember the last one, SEN, especially for the mockery it suffered when it was released. At the time, the game of fighting was reborn from its ashes, and years later, the series made a real comeback, with a title awaited by a whole fringe of players, fans of the Osaka studio come back to life: SNK.
It will be available on Tuesday, June 25 for purchase on Xbox One and PS4. The Switch and PC versions are expected to arrive later this year. We have a digital version on Xbox One S that we sintered with great sword blows, and we tell you everything!
Samurai Show Down
Already, Samurai Shodown comes back in 2019, but technically, he is almost a decade behind. The 3D has frankly passed, the lighting isn’t great, it really aliases quite a bit, but a light cel-shadé filter fortunately reduces all that. Special mention to the visual effects, for their part rather stylish, with knocks of the blade that lend themselves rather well to the game. In terms of the design adopted, we’re on something a little ugly, with distorted characters, with huge hands and feet, a little like in the last Street Fighters. Except that here, unfortunately, we are closer to SFIV than SFV, and that’s a little spotty.
The animations of the special moves are quite spectacular, and these are about the only moments when the game will make us wonder. But the same cannot be said of the “fatalities” where you cut your opponent in half, downright cheap. As for the internships, visually, they range from mediocre to rather pretty, and we still notice some very retro processes in their construction, which is a bit of a pasteboard. Before the matches, you are allowed to load a little long hair, which is quite practical to take notes for your test, but can also quickly become annoying. The texts are translated into French in their entirety, as well as Japanese voices. Frankly, technically, as for King of Fighters XIV, the technical assessment of this Samurai Shodown version 2019 is really not flattering, it’s a shame.
Hitting the Dojo
Fortunately, the gameplay level is a little more reassuring, and we’re staying on something pretty classic in the saga. That is, rather rigid movements, where placement is one of the keys, and attack commands with 3 sword blows, more and more powerful, and a kick. Each character has a palette of special moves that he can release with classic manipulations, based on quarter circles and dragons. The rage gauge is still in the game, and the more it climbs, the more the opponent is in danger: once a game, with a simple press on the three sword attack keys, we enter a mode where our statistics are increased. And if you press the three buttons a second time, it’s a super special blow that comes out, ultra devastating, up to 70% of the opponent’s life. Very accessible for a novice, even if an experienced player will be able to see it coming and counter it more easily. Ah, on the other hand, once used, you definitely lose your rage gauge.
Samurai Shodown is a very technical game, quite rigid, with tight timings and millimetre distances, with multiple possibilities of counter-attacks, and it will take you time to master all the subtleties. During clashes, the mindgame abounds, we try to guess the strategy of our opponent to better counter him. Clearly, at the gameplay level, Samurai Shodown makes a very appreciable copy, although not very accessible for novices. The game remains intractable, fast, and some basic moves can cause a rather insane part of the life gauge to fall.