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Xbox One Game Review

Samurai Shodown


Format: Xbox One
Publisher: SNK Corporation
Developer: SNK Corporation
RRP: £49.99
Click here to buy from Xbox Marketplace
Age Restrictions: 16+
Release Date: 25 June 2019

Samurai Shodown, better known as Samurai Spirits in Japan, is a fighting game from SNK. The game has been around in various forms since 1993...


The game is set in 18th-century Japan.

The story, for what it's worth is set in 18th-century Japan and overall, the various chapters of the game reveal a narrative. This creates a slight problem with this game as on its own the story is slight and relatively meaninglessly redundant. What little story that is, has your character travel across Japan, getting into fights until you reach the boss at the end. So, slight is this that if you set the game to easy and each win to only one fight, you can burn through the whole story in about twenty minutes. This may be being unfair to the franchise overall, but it makes for a slight experience as a stand-alone game.

There may also be some elements coming from the translation. The game's vocal acting is all in Japanese and for those of us that do not speak Japanese, the game has English subtitles. I read somewhere that the characters speak in differing Japanese dialects, something which will be lost on anyone outside Japan.

The last major issue with the game is the thirty seconds of pure black screen that happens between each fight. This does strip the game of much of its pace and impetus.


Travel across Japan, getting into fights, until you meet the Boss.

That said, none of that stops Samurai Shodown from being a good game. One of the issues I always had with fighting games was the number of button combinations that you had to memorise for each character. Let’s face it, unless you’re a dedicated fight fan most players just rush in and see if they can smash their opponents to bits with the same one or two swings or kicks. SNK seems to have realised that this is a thing and Samurai has been stripped of these underused moves.

There is a rage bar that increases as you get hit or successfully block, which allows for greater damage as well as access to a more powerful weapon, which also disarms your opponent. However, this can only be used once in a fight so needs to be used wisely. That said, for the most part, the game just relies on single button movements and the player on timing their moves.

I liked this aspect of the game. I used to play fighting games with my daughter when she was younger, so a game that is so easy to pick up and play is ideal for both novice players, who love to mash buttons and expert players who will take time to learn the whole possible mechanics. It’s easy to pick up which of the four buttons control blocking, slow, medium and heavy attacks and your choice of attack or block is preferably dependant on what your opponent is doing. Of course, what your opponent is going to do is part conjecture and part good luck.


The pick up and play element makes it ideal for all gamers.

So, after a little cut scene preamble, you will find yourself on the main choice screen. Here you can choose from the story mode. Not ready for that, well there is a practice mode where you can get used to the controls. This breaks down further into a tutorial or training, which allows you to play around with various option. Here you can also choose from one of the sixteen different characters that you will find. This portion is endless, so you can practice to your heart's content. Another good thing about the game is how different each of the characters are, some are amusing, some more serious but all are individual.

There is an online option to fight against human opponents, but you will need to have forked out for an Xbox pass to play this. Also, as an online option is the Dojo which provides an asynchronous online battle mode, which allows you to play against the ghost of other players. For those not online the game provides a battle mode, which further splits down into a time trial, a survival mode gauntlet mode and Versus where you can play against a friend at home.

Overall, problems aside from the loading times and the slight story, Samurai still shines as a cut-down fighting game.


Charles Packer

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