Samurai Shodown Review

*A Review Code was supplied by SNK, Reviewed by Jay Hit and edited by Dr. Bob*

Samurai Shodown released last year this time for PS4 (June 25th, 2019). Now you can play this high damage neutral fighter on the PC as an Epic Games exclusive. Maybe you missed its initial release or maybe you are new to the fighting game scene and want to know if this is the one for you, whatever the reason let’s dive in, take a fresh eye to this game and go over from three perspectives.

SNK Announces New Samurai Shodown Game - Game Informer

The Up and Comer

You’ve got your ass kicked by your older brother for the last time. No more going online and not being able to even press a button, you are determined to start really understanding fighting games, but is this the one for you?

So how well does this game teach you how to play? I don’t mean if the tutorial will teach you each mechanic (it should) but rather does it explain in a format that helps a player grow? Shooting games are different in this way, they can teach you how to aim and shoot then it is up to the player to increase their accuracy, but with a fighting game just because you know how to execute a move doesn’t mean you know when to, or why you should, or what to do after. A good fighting game and its tutorial/s should at least explain this to some degree. 

Unfortunately, the tutorial only goes over the mechanics of the game with barely any further explanation on the uses. One example is It calls overheads “Surprise Attacks” and just states it might be useful against crouching opponents, that’s all. There isn’t a challenge mode, or a character specific introduction to learn what makes each one strong or weak or describe their game plan. Samurai Shodown does not favor the rookie player. Samurai Shodown - Xbox One (Xbox One): Video Games

The Veteran

You’ve baited out reversals for full punishes in SFV, you’ve blocked guard cancels into a ToD in DBFZ and jail’d with the best of them in MK11, so now does Samurai Shodown have the depth you require? Well, let’s be honest, if you are a veteran then you already have done your homework and you don’t need an amateur like me to tell you something you know. So instead I’ll list a few thoughts on the game play …

  • Different normal depending on if you are equipped or unequipped with a weapon is great and gives each character an extra layer of depth
  • Throws don’t do damage, which is unique, but instead just leave you at a disadvantage
  • Emphasis on footsies and whiff punishing is appreciated, that’s coming from primarily an anime fighter fan
  • High damage output from most attacks make risk less of an option leading to intense neutral
  • Combos are not long hitting sequences but short burst, from what I found usually one normal into special, this is good for learning new characters quickly

There isn’t much negative I can say with out more insight, I am not aware of the tier list so do not know if the game is well balanced. I will say that the training mode doesn’t have frame data and that is a huge disaster that I cannot overlook. Essentially, if this style of fighting is your cup of tea then I think this game does enough unique things to warrant interest.


The Gamer

Not everyone needs to aspire to win EVO in order to play/buy fighting games, that mind set is what stunts the community from growing. Maybe you’re just bored on a weekend, have a friend over and want something to do while you drink a beer, or simply curious on the lore of the series. So the question is; is this game a complete package AKA do you get your money’s worth?

Short answer…..maybe not. Samurai Shodown has a tutorial that doesn’t explain its concepts well enough and can be finished in 5 minutes.  No arcade mode, no survival mode, no challenge mode, just a story mode that isn’t all one sexy narrative like Mortal Kombat. Instead, just short stories depending on the character you picked. The net play online isn’t great so get ready for some frame delay and from what I could tell there is a glaring lack of character customization from colors to alternative costumes.

All in all, Samurai Shodown still remains a pretty niche entry into the fighting game genre. There are for sure gamers out there interested in a slower paced, heavier hitting fighting game and Samurai Shodown will be right up your alley. Even veterans of the genre looking for a nice change of pace can look forward to this. However, casual gamers and newcomers to the fighting game scene may want to dip their toes into something like Granblue Fantasy Versus or even Mortal Kombat 11 and wait on a sale for Samurai Shodown.

Jason Hittinger

WGG's resident fighting game guy.

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