Analysis of Samurai Shodown, ruthless and very technical sword dances

Samurai Shodown
Written by Kamran Haider

The wonderful saga of samurai fighting through SNK returns with a quite renewed delivery that offers fans of the genre a good reason to be happy. Deep analysis Samurai Shodown.

As a good follower of the fighting arcades, this year marked several important appointments on the calendar. Some have already taken place as the arrival of the excellent Dead or Alive 6 and Mortal Kombat 11, but others are still to come … or they were. That’s it, because of all the fighting games that are going to appear during this year, the one that I wanted to try the most was Samurai Shodown. Something logical, I suppose, given that it had been a long time (more than a decade) that the series had been practically disappeared and had only been seen lately in the form of a digital reissue of several of its classic deliveries.

Fortunately, I have already had some great times with Haohmaru, Nakoruru, Hanzo, Earthquake in their versions of PS4 and Xbox One. And what about the also announced versions for PC and Switch? Well, I understand that they will end up appearing at some point … but right now I do not know exactly when.

As expected of SNK, the creators of the original series of Neo Geo and the same that recently signed the very remarkable The King of Fighters XIV, this new and highly anticipated reincarnation of the series of samurai has ended up becoming a great exponent of his gender. And not only that, given that what I like most about him is the personality he has, being a title that stands out from most similar games in many aspects … but especially one in particular: it is a really technical game.

Samurai Shodown, dominating the noble art of the sword

This new version of Samurai Shodown respects the base that cemented the popularity of the original franchise. Therefore, we are facing an arcade 2D gameplay (although its graphics have been represented in 3D) one-on-one in which all players use some type of weapon (except the new fighter Wu-Ruixiang, who employs a shield, just like that). A proposal that is really interesting and that in my opinion has been executed impeccably.

If something stands out this title is for its particular style when raising battles, which is much more technical than usual in this type of proposal. Even so it is a game that can be enjoyed by any type of user, even by those who have never approached a title of this idiosyncrasy, but I’m not going to cheat you: squeeze all the potential that gives us its control system it requires a lot of practice … and a certain amount of expertise with the command. And the clear demonstration of this that I am commenting on is that, I guarantee it, a novice user “knock buttons” will never win any duel against a fairly experienced player. But come on, not even far. And that, in other fighting games, from time to time it does happen.ruthless

It stands out especially for its particular style when it comes to raising battles.

The control system is based on the use of four main action buttons: fast cut, medium cut, strong kick and kick. A system that gives a lot of itself as now I will explain because normal and special movements (as well as the usual combos) are joined by a large number of other very striking and essential maneuvers that give much, much play.

To begin with, if we protect ourselves from an attack right at the moment in which it is going to impact our fighter, we can break the guard of our rival for a few moments in which he will be fully exposed. An action that is not easy to do (timing is very fair), but it is vital. In this way the title penalizes much the fact of “attack for attacking”, especially when launching the most powerful attacks, being necessary to think well when and how is the best way to attack our opponent if we do not want to receive a reversal and again.

It is also possible to perform exclusive super special attacks for each character. Actions that can only be implemented once only by confrontation, which adds a very important tactical burden to them due to the damage that results (they subtract 70% of the life bar approximately).

However, what captures all the leading roles and what really marks the development of the combats in Samurai Shodown is the so-called Bar of Fury. This meter is at the bottom of the screen and is filled as we get damaged. And what happens when it is fully loaded? Well, our character happens to be in a state of Maximum Fury, which increases the damage caused by our attacks … and empowers us to perform a number of advanced techniques.

The first of these is the disarming technique that, as its name suggests, if we execute it successfully, it will leave our opponent unarmed, who will only be able to punch and kick until he recovers his weapon. Then there is the explosion of fury, an action that freezes time increases the strength of our character and, in addition, is the key to perform one of the most powerful maneuvers of the game: the lightning sword. This action is common to all the characters and is reminiscent of the special Raging Demon of Akuma (from Street Fighter), and during its execution the screen turns black for, moments later, to attend a very striking scene in the aesthetic … and really forceful.

It is one of the most technical arcades of a recent fight.

For all this, I consider that with Samurai Shodown we are facing one of the most technical arcades of fighting off those who have recently appeared on the market. A video game that will surely delight both the fans of the saga and the most purist users within its genre. And above it has been very well assorted from the point of view of its content … except for its list of characters, which is somewhat scarce.

senough dedication16 types are those that make up the campus of selectable starting characters, a figure that apparently will grow to 20 in the next six months. 13 of them are old acquaintances of the series (Haohmaru, Galford, Yoshitora, Tam Tam, etc.), although three others have been added: the mentioned Wu-Ruixiang, the intense Darla Dagger and the lethal Yashamaru Kurama. All these characters enjoy unique characteristics and set of movements and very particular, and I assure you that nothing has to do to control Haohmaru to do the same with Jubei or Earthquake, for example. That is to say, although it may seem like something rake (in fact, it is), the truth is that the roster of characters gives more than itself as it seems, given that perfectly control all these fighters requires enough dedication.

On the other hand, where Samurai Showdown is shown robust, look where you look at it is in its game possibilities. Countless game modes and options are grouped into various modalities and submodalities. There is everything from an interesting story mode in which each character has his own “route” and the final sequence to the usual Online, Versus, Time Attack, Tutorial, Survival, etc. And if that were not enough, it is also possible to go enabling a gallery mode that contains illustrations of the characters as well as melodies and video scenes.

gallery mode

Special mention deserves the Dojo mode, which invites us to create a kind of ghost (one or those that we want) conceived in the image and likeness of our style / s to fight, being able to face such creations when we want to measure our dexterity. But the best thing is that we can also face our pupils against other ghosts created by the community, being able to actually download those same creations to face them. It is not a new feature since we have already enjoyed it in some titles before, but in spite of that, it seems a very striking option.

This complete playable section has been well accompanied by a visual finish that I liked a lot, although I take it for granted that it may not convince certain users of its cel-shading style. The animations of the characters have been very careful and it is nice to see them execute each of the strokes and combos. In addition, their bodies are reflecting the hardness of the clashes, showing blood and cuts in a very obvious way. A slight gore touch that suits Samurai Shodown … as well as the 60 frames per second that the matches go through. The stages have also been elaborated with great pleasure and they are also very varied, highlighting locations such as Kamuikotan, Mikatagahara Field or Kumano Kodo. Its feudal setting is fantastic.

The sound is also magnificent and highlights the dubbing in Japanese (the texts are in Spanish, by the way) as well as the inspired melodies that surround each fight, as well as the formidable sound effects, very resounding.

Recommended: Analysis of My Friend Pedro, bullet-time action to the Matrix and a talking banana


Far from creating an arcade of the fight more, the return of Samurai Shodown has resulted in a title endowed with a lot of personalities that stand out for raising a very deep combat system and full of advanced techniques. Squeezing all the potential it offers requires a certain amount of learning time, something that may not end up convincing players who are less patient but who will probably delight fans of the genre. The list of characters could have been more generous, but to compensate for that lack the title is loaded with game modes and options.

  • Many options and game modes, some very striking
  • It is a very careful audiovisual production
  • The combat system is quite technical and deep if you want to squeeze …
  • … maybe too much for fewer patient users
  • The list of characters is somewhat scarce

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Kamran Haider

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