Samurai Shodown – Review
Follow Genre: Fighting
Developer: SNK
Publisher: SNK
Platform: PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: PC

Samurai Shodown – Review

Site Score
Good: Atmosphere, Mechanics
Bad: Feels dated at times, High price for extra content
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 3.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Samurai Shodown is a series that first came to life in 1993. The game series transported us back to an imperialistic Japanese setting, in which different samurai battled to prove their worth. The game was very simplistic for that time, and while it was a great fighting game, by today’s standards the mechanics would have been very dated. Nonetheless, SNK is trying its best to revive the series with the reboot in 2019. The game first appeared on consoles, only to arrive on the Epic Games Store recently. We were quite eager to see how this series would fare with our modern standards in mind.


Like in many fighting games, the story depends on which character you pick. Of course, the story is often only a small motivation to keep fighting, but it’s nice that it’s present. In the end, you’ll just have to beat up the different cast of fighters, to eventually end up with a real boss battle that is not like the other battles.


The game looks quite good, but in some ways, it also feels dated. The character models have a certain cel-shading surrounding them, but we can’t help but feel that things are somewhat simplistically handled. The backdrops look nice, and there’s a proper variation, but even so, things feel a tad too static. We reckon SNK does not have the same budget any more than when they were still a leading company in the gaming industry. Nonetheless, the game looks good, but don’t expect it to shatter your expectations.

We also noticed that the game has extremely long loading times for its levels. We are not sure if this is to load the different character models and the environment, but it gets tedious very quickly.


The sound design of this reboot is quite nice. The music feels like it properly fits the setting and it does get you in the mood to duke it out with other experienced fighters. There’s also a Japanese narrator for the story parts and the commentating that goes on, which is a very nice touch for a game such as this. Other than that, each character has some voiced lines, which also adds a bit of quality to this title. Sound effects are simple but they do the trick.


Samurai Shodown is a typical 2D fighter in terms of controls and concept, but it is not at all a game in which you’ll easily perform combos and button-mashing attacks. The game is more a duel, in which you anticipate if your opponent will block or not, and if you can sneak in a hit or two. The game heavily relies on the knockback of a block, in order for you to time your attacks. The game is not comparable to many current fighting games, as some matches can be over in only five or six hits. Certain moves even get rid of your opponent’s half HP bar.

The controls in Samurai Shodown are simple, but there are many nuances when it comes to timing your strikes. The game relies heavily on parrying and countering, as each character can only take a couple of hits. When you actually hit someone, and he blocks, you’ll have to deal with a certain knockback, allowing the opponent to strike you. This system does take some time to get used to, but it does have its merits. Nonetheless, games such as this often aren’t for casual button mashers who love fighting games with a certain arcade type of play.

This reboot comes with different modes of play, and they will certainly entice competitive players, as the story mode only holds so much content. The game is a full-priced title, thus those buying it expect content, and there is more than enough content to duke it out online. Sadly, it seems like SNK is handling a money-grabbing formula for this one, as individual character DLCs or even the season passes are extremely overpriced for the content you’re getting.


Samurai Shodown is a fairly decent reboot, albeit with somewhat dated principles and mechanics. The game plays fairly smoothly on PC, save for the very long and annoying loading times. The current cast of characters is interesting, but it’s sad to see that SNK clearly wants to milk the cow dry with single character DLC packages that cost way too much, especially if you want to have a full roster. The game’s decent, but we’d recommend waiting until the price drops somewhat.

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Rating: 3.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Samurai Shodown - Review, 3.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Aspiring ninja.

1 Comment

  1. […] In June 2020 we were quite fortunate to try out the Samurai Shodown reboot. We concluded that the game had fairly solid mechanics, but had dated visuals and somewhat old-school principles. The latter is something you may appreciate, or not, depending on what fighting games float your boat. That being said, the game was released with a small roster of characters, for SNK to immediately announce overpriced character DLCs to expand your experience. This has not really changed for the Series X version we tried out recently, which is very much overpriced when opting for the standard version. You’ll still be paying for a triple-A priced game, but with none of the DLC, some of which has been released many months prior to the release of the next-gen version. Those wanting to read our full review on the game can find our thoughts by clicking here. […]

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