Samurai Shodown Sen
Samurai Showdown Sen could easily be mistaken for a poorly made Nintendo 64 title
- Large character roster, hilariously cliche violence
- Clunky combat, unpolished graphics, unbalanced fighters, weak story mode, uneven online matchmaking
It's sad to see what's become of the Samurai Shodown franchise over the years. Back in the day, this was a fighting game that you could mention alongside the likes of Street Fighter and King of Fighters. It had rich, beautiful artwork complimented by an anime-inspired style, and it had exciting weapons-based combat, which was huge for a 2D-fighting series. But ever since SNK moved the franchise to 3D, the quality has degraded to the point where you're left wondering the series is still around. Samurai Shodown Sen, the newest addition in the lineup, is further proof that some franchise should retire gracefully rather than hang on long after they've worn out their welcome.
I first encountered Samurai Showdown Sen at last year's E3, when the game was still in the hands of Ignition Entertainment (they were also there showing off SNK's The King of Fighters XII and Vanillaware's Muramasa). Although my time with this upcoming game was brief, I walked away surprised by the clunky combat and horribly unpolished graphics; I didn't completely write it off, however, because it carried the Samurai Shodown brand. I chalked up my poor experience to the vagaries of the E3 showfloor and an unimpressive demo that had most likely been rushed for the conference. Perhaps the final product would look and play vastly different once the game hit store shelves, I thought.
Less than a year later, I'm looking at a final product that shows absolutely no improvement over the lackluster E3 demo. Honestly, I never thought I'd say this but Samurai Showdown Sen is the worst fighting game I've played since Castlevania Judgment. In fact, it's actually worse than Samurai Shodown: Warriors Rage, and that was considered to be the worst game in the series yet.
Samurai Showdown Sen could easily be mistaken for a poorly made Nintendo 64 title. All of the fighters look terrible, built from overly blocky polygons with washed out colors. Moreover, the static backgrounds are cramped and unappealing, with sparse artwork that just appears thrown together. None of this does anything to benefit the story mode, which is little more than varying pages of scrolling text at the beginning and end of several repetitive fights. If you've beaten the game with one character, you've essentially seen everything Samurai Showdown Sen has to offer.
What makes it even worse is that the game's combat is so poor. While it's obvious that the developers were trying to emulate SoulCalibur, the result feels unoriginal and incomplete. The animation isn't fluid, making the already stiff fighting mechanics feel even more static and unresponsive. While playing the game, I'd often try to execute combos and special moves, but I'd have no indication of my success due to the lack of a combo counter. Even that basic element isn't present in the Training Mode, which sports very few tools to help you master any of the characters.
Speaking of which, Samurai Showdown Sen at least manages to bring a huge number of classic and new characters to the mix, all with slightly varying styles of combat. But while the game tries to establish benefits and drawbacks to each fighter, the reality is that the entire roster lacks balance. Characters like Haohmaru, Galford, and Ukyo are essentially useless compared to certain lighting fast and over-powered newcomers, such as Angelica and Killian, making most victories a simple matter of choosing a superior fighter and button mashing your way to victory.
At the very least, the online combat provides some fun, provided you can find another player. After three days on Xbox Live, I found a few gamers online in ranked matches, and for 30 minutes in each instance, I'd wind up playing the same person for multiple sessions despite actively looking for new players. Online play for the most part has been completely lag free, which was a plus, but I oddly went from fighting people with 10-match records to 150-match players after only a few fights. Not that it mattered: there's little difference between fighting an experienced player or a novice, since spamming buttons and timing blocks doesn't require much strategy here.
Of SNK's two oldest franchises, it's clear that Samurai Showdown can't keep up with King of Fighters XII -- or any other fighting series, for that matter. It's no surprise to me that Ignition Entertainment jumped clear of this train wreck while they still could. Unless you're one of the most hardcore fans of this series, stay as far away from this game as you can. Despite the improved character roster and so-bad-it's-funny decapitations, Samurai Showdown Sen has very little to offer you except easy Achievement Points.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- StarCraft Remastered updates a legend with 4K widescreen support, updated audio, and more
- Obduction's new VR hand-tracking makes Myst's spiritual successor even more stunning
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
- Dungeons and Dragons ditches pen and paper with D&D Beyond
- Exclusive no more: PlayStation 4 games are coming to the PC via PlayStation Now
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- TPWintel EngineerVIC
- CCSenior Network Architect l CCIE R&S l Cisco ACINSW
- FTSenior Change Analyst/ Change ManagerNSW
- FTSOE EngineerQLD
- CCProject MangerWA
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCTraining Content and Delivery SpecialistNSW
- FTAgile Test AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Network Security EngineerACT
- FTHead of Architecture, Global Financial InstitutionNSW
- CCSenior Security AnalystsACT
- TPSenior Communications EngineerWA
- CCSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- CCProject Scheduler/CoordinatorVIC
- FTWeb User Interface Developer. Work Location - CanberraNSW
- FTArchitect (Technical)NSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- TPSolution Architect - Integration - Bespoke ProjectQLD
- CCICT Strategist and AdvisorNSW
- FTApplication Support Consultant (Oracle SQL, Unix scripting)NSW