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Samurai Shodown Sen
XBox 360

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Publisher: SNK Playmore
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Growing up, I was a huge fighting game fan. I may be dating myself here, but I’d spend any money I could get my little sweaty palms on at the local arcade, Aladdin’s Castle on titles like King of Fighters, Marvel VS Capcom, Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat.  I still remember the moment I first played Street Fighter in 3D, a major accomplishment for the time; my little mind was blown at the technical marvel in front of me.

That was over thirteen years ago though, and what was once amazing, is now incredibly lacking and dated. Take for instance SNK Playmore’s Samurai Shodown Sen, which feels like it’s been plucked right out of the arcades circa 1996 – and no, that’s not a good thing. Nothing short of an embarrassment to the fighting game genre; the latest iteration of the long running Samurai Showdown series not only fails to invoke the character and spirit of past titles, it’s spits in their direction.

To truly understand why Samurai Shodown Sen is so utterly terrible, you’ll need to know where the franchise has been first. Debuting in 1993 with Samurai Shodown for the SNES and Neo-Geo all but introduced weapon based combat to gamers.  The new style of gameplay meant new mechanics, new combos and new tricks to master. In short, it was innovative.  The art style was also an impressive mix of Japanese techniques mixed with Western influences. The series would see steady releases through the years until this current console generation.

"...the controls are unresponsive and they’re confusing."


Then comes Samurai Shodown Sen, lacking any innovation or depth and feeling ten years past its time. It’s your basic fighting game; you’ll pick one of twenty four fighters, and do battle.  It’s just executed terribly. The majority of Samurai Shodown Sen’s combat system is based on combos and timing, but the controls are unresponsive and they’re confusing. The button combinations for combos feel anything but natural and as a result, you’ll find yourself button mashing and abandoning all sense of strategy.  There’s also a major issue of balance here, playing on normal or hard somehow awards the computer with the power to take out half of your life bar with a single move. There were countless times when I was left sitting through the load screens again just because I didn’t land the first hit.

And that’s another issue – the insane load times. After picking a fighter, after advancing stages, after losing, after doing just about everything players are forced to sit through 30-50 second load times. Seriously! 30-50 seconds!  What in the hell kind of data is this game accessing that it needs 30-50 seconds to prepare? It’s not HD visuals or even a decent gaming experience, that’s for sure.

"I’ve seen indie games that look better than this."


Remember on the Xbox and PS2 how player models usually looked all puffy like the Michelin man? SNK Playmore sure does, because their game brings the look back. To sum up the visuals in Samurai Shodown Sen, it’s horrid character models on flat, non-interactive backgrounds that look like they wouldn’t be suitable for a junior high school play.  I’ve seen indie games that look better than this.

If Samurai Shodown Sen had a redeeming quality at all, it would be the fact that it makes no bones about that it lets you spill copious amounts of blood. Seriously, you can cut off heads, limbs and even split people in half. The first few times you do this, you’ll get a kick out of it, but trust me, the novelty factor wears off, and it does so quickly.  Before long, you’ll be racing through matches just to finish (if you even care to) without worrying about just how you do it.

There’s no reason for you to play Samurai Shodown Sen. If you like fighting games, play Tekken 6, if you’re a fan of the series, don’t depress yourself with this game.  Samurai Showdown Sen is a misfire in every sense of the word, and feels like a lost tech demo from SNK’s 90s reject file. Do yourself a favor, let this game’s memory die before anyone else has to play it. 



CHEATS USED: Achievements List

Alright, so there are no cheats available for Samurai Shodown Sen, and short of saying I want a cheat to erase this game from my memory, I’d actually love to see an unlimited health code, an unlock all characters cheat and an unlimited rage meter cheat. Hey, why not get some fun out of the game?



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