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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: XSEED Games
Developed By: SNK Playmore
Genre: Fighting
Players: 1-2
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

April 18, 2010 - Samurai Shodown is one of those fighting franchises that has garnered loyal followers all around the world. Whether it was because of the unique fighting style possessed by the characters or the intense barrage of combos which you can deliver on an unsuspecting foe, Samurai Shodown has sustained itself through the highs and lows of its 17 year existence in Arcades and home consoles. Samurai Shodown Sen is the latest chapter in the series, which was originally released in arcades over in Japan as Samurai Spirits: Flash. While some companies give up on the 3D for their fighting titles, this marks the fourth installment for SNK Playmore and the first ever M-rated Samurai Showdown title released. If anything can be said about Samurai Shodown and 3D is that they were definitely not made for each other.

What stood out the most with Samurai Shodown Sen is the ability to hack off limbs and being able to split your opponent in two to conclude a battle. It has been a few years since I played a Samurai Shodown title, so I was really looking forward to what Sen has to offer. While I did enjoy attacking my opponents and doing them bodily harm, it felt a little weird to be able to hack off limbs when you are use to delivering devastating sword swipes and occasionally thrusting your sword into your opponentís body. After awhile, this gameplay mechanic grew on me. Newcomers to the series might get a kick out of this, while veterans will feel this was a wasted inclusion by SNK Playmore.

While the controls for Samurai Shodown Sen are easy to grasp, allowing you to pull off devastating combos and special attacks, you canít help but feel this title can become a button smasher in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the series or fighting games in general. The reason why is because when fighting a few people online, it was kind of hard actually perform maneuvers on my opponents simply because it seemed like they were pressing every button the 360 controller had to offer. I found myself stooping to that same level just to get in a hit and finally when a match. However, when Iím playing against the computer, itís not that hard to take strategic stance on each and every battle, allowing you to perform various moves, combos and your finishers in a similar vein to Soul Calibur.

When it comes to gameplay modes, Samurai Shodown Sen features all the standard modes that you come to expect from a fighting game. You have the story mode, training, versus and online play. For those who tackle the story mode, you can expect do battle with a wide range of opponents; including one that wields a six-shooter, with befuddled cutscenes and dialog delivered in between each battle. While this isnít really a bad thing, the fact it takes longer than usual to go from one fight to the next is a huge problem, especially for a fighting game. There have been moments where it has taken more than 20 seconds to go from one fight to the next. The loads times does ease up a bit if you install the game to your hard drive, however you can still expect to wait at least 10 seconds in between each fight.

From a visual standpoint, Samurai Shodown Sen is an OK looking game. The visual presentation is neither horrible nor outstanding. Itís a real case of the consumer deciding if this game is worth buying. While character motions when performing special attacks are very fluid, you canít help but notice the ridiculous looking facial animations and the bland look of some of the environments you battle in. You canít help but wonder how this game would have turned out if the developer spent more time developing and polishing this title to a more respectable fighter for the current generation of consoles. This could easily be seen as a top notch title from the early days of the Xbox 360, not now. In regards to the audio soundtrack, itís a mixture of nostalgia and lack of development time rolled up into one. Sound of the music soundtracks feel like they were taken from past Samurai Shodown titles, which will definitely appease those who have been following the series for some time. In regards to the voiceovers, everything is in Japanese, which will appeal to the ďpurestĒ, however can and will alienate those who would of love the option for English voice work.

When I first acquired Samurai Shodown Sen from my contacts at XSEED Games, there werenít many people only to actually play against. To be able to give a fair account of all aspects of the game, I delayed my review in order to spend enough time within this mode. Once I did find people to play against in the U.S. without a problem, it was a blast. You can expect battles of all kinds with the random people you play against. After awhile, I decided to do battle with some people from JapanÖ and let me tell you, they are GOOD. I have to say I lost every match that I played against them. This might because they got the game before it was released in the U.S. or the fact that they play it moreÖ either way, expect a fight on your hands.

Samurai Shodown Sen, though different from what I was expecting, was still a fun and entertaining fighter to have within my 360 library. For those who like games like Mortal Kombat, Sen is right up with the type of gore you can expect without setting people on fire or eating them. With large character roster and the guy with the gun to choose from, how can you not enjoy this title? Though the game could have benefited from some extra time being polished, those who are fans of the fighting genre canít help but experience this title, even if itís only a rental.


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