Developer: SNK Corporation
Publisher: SNK Corporation
Platform: Xbox Series S|X (Also available on PlayStation consoles and Nintendo Switch)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 25/06/2019
A code was provided for review purposes.
Samurai Shodown, known as Samurai Spirits in Japan, is a weapon-based 2D one-on-one fighter that first released in the arcades in 1993. The game spawned a bevy of sequels over the years across diverse platforms ranging from arcades up to the current-generation of gaming consoles with Samurai Shodown (2019) which is cited as a reboot of the long-running series. You can check out a review for the Nintendo Switch version here. This review that you’re reading now acts as a comparative review as I take a look at the newly released Samurai Shodown on Xbox Series S|X platforms.
Be Quick or Be Dead
Given its updated gameplay, Samurai Shodown plays great on Xbox Series X. While the game originally released on Xbox One in 2019, the game was given an upgrade for the Xbox Series S|X consoles. It’s fast and very responsive. Also important to point out that thankfully SNK made the necessary update to the game’s control and gameplay as it plays infinitely better than Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection which released last year. Some might think this would be obvious, however, personally, I thought twice about tempting my chance with this game because I thoroughly hated my time with the classic collection because the games it contains had not aged well.
One of the game’s strongest points is definitely the replay value. Samurai Shodown has gameplay content up the wazoo. While a lot of fighting games put the focus on online combat, SS actually offers a bevy of content for solo players who’d rather play alone or with friends (well given the current world state; roommate or family members). Along with the typical practice and tutorial, there’s also a Story mode à la Street Fighter II where you go through a series of enemies and watch your character’s ending movie. There’s also a survival mode and a variant called Gauntlet mode where you fight through each character of the game.
D-Pad or Joystick?
My only complaint here is unfortunately the Xbox Series X controller. Having grown up on 2D fighters like Street Fighter II and the 16Bit Mortal Kombat games, I’ve always been using the d-pad for movement; I find the joysticks cumbersome. While I absolutely loved the Xbox One controller’s d-pad, I find the Series S|X’s d-pad less efficient because all the directions are “melted together” unlike last gen’s Xbox controller where there’s an empty spot between directions, making it easier to pull off moves.
Samurai Shodown looks great. While the visual upgrade from Xbox One is somewhat minimal overall to the untrained eye, aside from the 120 FPS framerate, the game features the traditional albeit unique visual style known to the Samurai Shodown series as the characters and backgrounds remain faithful to earlier games; but upgraded to match today’s higher expectations. The soundtrack is an awesome Japanese-inspired score suiting the game’s settings down to a tee.
If you’re a fan of fighting games, this version of the rebooted Samurai Shodown is definitely worth your money. The game is easy to pick up and play, while hard to master; there’s a bevy of offline modes to work on your skills or you can also go head-to-head with players worldwide. Additionally, those who might find it to be a daunting experience can rest as the game features various difficulty modes to ease newcomers as well as challenge long-time players. While the game is another victim of DLC characters and the Xbox Series controller’s d-pad not being the ideal way of playing it, this is a must-play. If you picked up the Xbox One version way back in 2019, you can get the free upgrade to Xbox Series S|X thanks to Smart Delivery.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Samurai Shodown for Xbox Series X|S here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.