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Posted by drew10 on Jun 7, 2010
Review: Samurai Showdown Sen /SNK-Rising Star Games/ Xbox360

Review: Samurai Showdown Sen /SNK-Rising Star Games/ Xbox360

Now and Sen

Samurai Showdown has been one of, if not the flagship fighter from the stable of Japanese developer SNK.  Now in its fourth 3D version (Tenth in total) Samurai Showdown has yet to find much favour with its 2D fans, can Sen appease the masses?

First impressions of SSS are favourable with the game displaying a decent CGI intro sequence and in general the art style and presentation throughout the game is of excellent, if slightly typical, Japanese style. Still that is what you expect from this type of fighter, an authentic experience.

When you load the game you are greeted with a menu screen that has all the usual options from story, versus mode, survival and various other features including online and replay. Replay allows you to relive moments of online victory that you are given the chance to save!

Entering the story mode shows, as with any fighting game, that there isn’t really one to speak of. It  follows a young European girl named Suzu who was adopted by the Amori Clan and raised as Princess Suzu. A decade later she saves Takechiyo, a master of martial arts, after his ship sinks and he ends up washed on the beach; he then sets out to rescue her when she mysteriously disappears. You access to the wealth of characters available, twenty-four in all, as well as Princess Suzu and Takechiyo, fan favourites from the series also return including Haohmaru, Galford, Hanzo Hattori, Nakoruru and Ukyo Tachibana, with each possessing unique moves and styles. Finding the perfect fit for your style may take a while, and believe me when I say you will need to find a comfortable character as SSS is unforgiving to the extreme.

Yes finding a suitable character and investing time in them is key as there is no way that you can get through Sen by random button bashing. The computer controlled characters are intelligent and will block and wait for an opening before dispatching you with calculated attacks. Learning the moves and strategies is definitely required and to get the best from this game you will need to spend a good amount of time on it.

However to persevere you will need to get past the fact that the controls do feel sluggish at first, although this isn’t really the case it just requires working out the timing. Still, fans of Tekken or Street Fighter may find that the game feels slow and lacking spark, but if you scratch the surface somewhere lurking in there is a deep and tactical fighting game. There are some really good moves to be had with a little practice and some rather nice if somewhat gory ending sequences that include loosing limbs, heads or even your character being sliced in two!

Unfortunately in today’s world of instant gratification there may not be many newcomers that would be willing to sit down and actually learn Samurai Showdown Sen’s nuances and this is where we start to get issues. You see the game has actually been somewhat diluted to allow those new to the series to easily jump aboard, but it doesn’t go far enough and seems to fall somewhere in-between. It doesn’t really do enough for either newcomers or hardcore fans alike.

Graphically it is competent enough but lacks pizzazz with the characters looking nice enough but lacking a huge amount of detail and dull dimly lit backgrounds do little to inspire. It gives SSS the feeling that the graphical designers were really depressed when they were designing the game and for some reason everything seems to be covered in a grey hue. Some brighter colours would have brought the action off of the screen more!

The sound is what you would expect with the hit noises and music all being nicely balanced and thankfully the developers decided not to go for English voice-overs and instead use subtitles which in turn adds authenticity to proceedings.

Overall it feels like Samurai Showdown Sen is slightly caught in no-mans-land, it is slightly too dumbed down for hardcore fans of the series to really get into yet not quite offering the instant gratification that will hook new players and it also lacks the graphical polish that will draw people in. That said, it is probably the best version of the series since it went 3D and if you scratch the surface you will find a tactical fighter that is devilishly hard but ultimately rewarding.


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