Reviews of 2019’s Samurai Shodown review are hitting today, but we’re holding off on delivering our final verdict for just a bit longer. We tend to wait until we’re able to play on launch-day netcode for most fighting games, but we also need to dive into Dojo Mode, which creates A.I. “ghosts” of players by recording their data as they play and uploads them to a server for others to fight. The mode is only now being populated with ghosts as more people get their hands on the game, so we need a bit more time to see how well it works.
From what we’ve played offline and online, however, Samurai Shodown is solid fighter that’s low on memorization and high on risky play. While short combos are still possible and certain moves require more intricate motions not found in other modern fighters, Samurai Shodown wants every move to feel like a gamble; quick jabs of your blade yield piddling damage and don’t connect into combos, but heavier attacks leave you wide open if you whiff them. This puts an emphasis on learning your opponent based on which moves they use and when, then betting you can predict their next move and counter, as opposed to stringing together long combos or developing tricky mix-ups after you knock down your opponent.
Samurai Shodown isn’t the deepest or flashiest fighter out there, but I’m having a good time so far. That said, beyond some baseline single-player modes like arcade, survival, and time trial, there isn’t much for the lone player to do, so those looking to jump in will most likely want a friend by their side or online.
Check back soon for our full review. For now, make sure to check out our New Gameplay Today of the game.