Samurai Shodown Review – Showdown Spectacular

The name Samurai Shodown will come across to some as a ghost of the past. This new Samurai Shodown game is a reboot of the series. It’s also the first game by SNK to use the Unreal Engine 4. Samurai Shodown is set during the 7th year of the Tenmai era or 1787 to be more specific. The current Shogun Matsudaira Sadanobu’s newly appointed council have been picked to bring in a new age of reform with the Kansei era.

The timing for this may not be the best as fire, ruin and famine run rampant. While above this, a sinister foreboding darkens the sky with a sense of dread.

Samurai Shodown Review

Samurai Shodown, unlike other fighters, has gone for back to its roots. Opting to embrace what made the original so good and simply embarking on a quest to bring it visually up to today’s standards. In this sense, SNK kept the game its own by going for a really great looking cell shaded look. The textures look hand-drawn, with a pen and ink style. It’s reminiscent of Street Fighter V.

People who have never played a Samurai Shodown game will find this quite different. The basics of the fighting game genre are still the same.

Destroy your opponent and claim victory.

Unlike other games where combos and flowing chains of moves will bring you closer to a takedown, Samurai Shodown is slower paced. It’s like a game of chess.

You’ll need to find time to land massive hits on an opponent and even kill them outright in some instances. Counters blocks and evasion techniques are the most important weapons in your arsenal.

It also must be noted that this is a four-button fighter; light, medium and heavy Weapon attack and a kick button. Combinations of these will perform different moves and when combined with the directional stick (or pad), allow for special moves or evasive maneuvers.

It’s the Big Sho

The meat and potatoes of Samurai Shodown is its Story mode. Here you select one of the 16 current fighters. Thirteen of which have come from previous games and three new ones added to the roster.

There has already there has been an announcement for more DLC characters too. The story mode even has a callback to fighting games of the ’80s and ’90s where there is a little opening cutscene setting up each character’s story.

For each character, you’ll see a short cutscene after beating the final boss. It’s a pretty classic way to run a fighting game story mode.

While it’s such a great call back to the games of past it would have been nice to see some different paths or story arks for some.

Ready, FIGHT!

Battle mode is the place you come to, to flog your friends while sitting on the couch and beers are involved. It’s my personal favourite element of these games.

Especially with the sheer massiveness of hits in Samurai Shodown. Dropping a mate cause he misread a move or got a little overzealous is so very satisfying.

There are also some other modes for single playing that don’t fall into the Story Mode. Gauntlet is where you play against every other character in the game. Survival mode sees you fight for as long as you can without dying. And a versus mode is where you play against a computer controlled opponent.


Practice mode is exactly that. Come here to practice your moves against a dummy opponent and learn the timing of moves. It’s important to get the input down pat for a string of moves or get the best reactions with counters and ripostes.

Trust me you’ll need it.

Online is thankfully broken into two branches; Ranked and Casual. The first being where you go to hit up leaderboards and really get into the elite level of players. Causal mode is exactly what you would get out of the couch option but online.

Dojo Mode is a clever way of bringing online to your console without needing to be online as it collects data from playing games and compiles it all into “ghosts.”

I’m not yet sure if it only collects data from local fights or also from online fights you have. But after time characters tend to behave as you do. This causes you to adapt and change your play style which is great in these games as you font tend to get in a trap of stale useful moves over and over.

Samurai Shodown is a great reboot for a great series. Fighting game fans definitely need to grab a copy and start fighting.

Samurai Shodown was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by the publisher.

PowerUp! Reviews

Game Title: Samurai Showdown

  • 9/10
    Great Reboot - 9/10
  • 7/10
    Quality Fighter - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Great Art Style - 8/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)
Andrew Harrison
Andrew Harrison
This father of 3 has been gaming for at least the last 30 years and enjoying all the games. avid gamer, hobbyist and all around good bloke loves a laugh and long walks on the beach.... wait I don't think this is the right site....

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