Samurai Shodown - a return of a king. A game whose history is as extensive as the praise it received in the arcades, but that king has long since ruled. In order to compete with the heavy hitters that currently pioneer the genre, Samurai Shodown would need to bring something different to the table, that only developer SNK could pull off.
The story throws you into an unfaithful rendition of feudal Japan, with various characters having intertwining parts of the narrative. In order to fully realise the story, you will need to play Samurai Shodown’s story mode with each and every character. That being said, it feels like a traditional arcade mode and just offers very little to be desired. You pick a character, fight through a few matches, have some dialogue between you and another fighter, then make your way to the ending. That’s it. While Samurai Shodown aims to bring back the best of the past, the lacklustre story mode isn’t going to make the cut in 2019. I’m not asking for the game to give me an adrenaline-fueled story for two hours straight, but some context to the plot would have been useful.
Samurai Shodown really starts to show its appeal in the way it feels to play. Unlike many other modern fighters, Samurai Shodown removes lengthy combos, frame trapping, and various other high-level fighting mechanics to double down on getting players to focus on their timing. You have your light slash that deals faster attacks but lower damage hits, a medium slash that can clear more distance, and a heavy attack that deals a substantial amount of damage. Knowing what each button does is one thing, but taking the time to know when to use them is another. Yes, this is present in every other fighting game, but Samurai Shodown takes that simple idea to a whole other level. The basic knowledge of knowing when to block, parry, and counter-hit is exactly what makes Samurai Shodown so intense. The game punishes you heavily for your mistakes, making you have to think on a more tactical level.
...Samurai Shodown removes lengthy combos, frame trapping, and various other high-level fighting mechanics to double down on getting players to focus on their timing.
SNK have managed to present a level of diversity that would give these modern fighters a run for their money.
Will defend anything Dragon Ball. Occasionally has two-way conversations with himself. Has sleepless nights about Half-Life 3 confirmed.
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25 June 2019
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