Samurai Shodown Sen is a 3D incarnation of
SNK's famed Samurai
Shodown series released exclusively in arcades and on Xbox 360. The game
features 11 completely new fighters and 13 fan-favorite returning veterans.
takes the series away from its 2D roots as SNK
tries its hand at the 3D fighting game once again... *sigh* ...can't blame them
for trying again, but you've gotta wonder why they don't stick to what has
worked in the past?
first time the Samurai Shodown series went 3D (with SS64
& SS64: Warriors Rage) it received mixed reviews (mostly bad),
and Sen has indeed brought a similar
Nice artwork... decent character selection...
and it stops there. :(
To state the obvious, the new 3D
gameplay system is vastly different from what players of the classic Samurai
Shodown games know and love. Air combos & sidestepping have been
introduced, along with horizontal & vertical slashing techniques... sound
To be honest, Sen seems to want to play more like Soul
Calibur or Tekken than the likes of Samurai Shodown. Even from
a design standpoint, the new characters introduced in Sen seem to fill in
the missing (and painfully cliché) archetypes of the Samurai Shodown series... making it seem eerily
familiar to Soul Calibur. As far as the newcomers go, a few are
pretty cool, but most are sickeningly generic and just don't have the excitement
and "swag" of the original cast.
The control scheme remains a 4-button setup,
with the ability perform
special commands by pressing two or three buttons at once, like in the
prequels. The Rage Explosion & Fatal Flash techniques have also returned, but don't
seem to mesh all that well with the new gameplay engine. A new
"deflect" system is also in place which similar to parrying to Soul
Calibur, offering a good defensive mechanic to the gameplay engine. The
downside? It's a very
far cry from that of Soul Calibur's. The POW Meter also returns and builds up after your character takes damage, as usual. The
24-character-strong roster is fairly impressive at a glance, but most
character movesets definitely lack depth. The way the movesets are laid out also demands
a lot of experimenting on the player's part, and there's no in-game tutorial or mission
mode of any sort to help players through the learning curve.
No Poppie? No buy.
Sadly, the disappointments continue. Samurai Shodown Sen suffers from some horribly stiff animations
and rather unresponsive/slow controls.
Moving along, there are no fireballs in the game and moves that used to travel
across the whole screen are now short ranged attacks. While I can respect
drastic "change" from an artistic perspective in some instances,
certain changes just don't work out in the end. (Samurai Shodown not
having projectiles is one of them). Furthermore, characters that were
always well-known for their animal sidekicks fighting by their side (like Galford &
now fight alone....
Sen's graphics are also slacking and to make
matters worse, they're over 2 years old (at the time of the Xbox version's
release). Character models are very averagely
detailed and there are also the "dark, dim, and/or hazy" stages fail
to impress for the most part. On that note, the weird "dark" shadowing
and lighting in the graphics engine seem to be an attempt at intentionally masking the insufficiently
rendered character models, poor character anatomy and polygonal clipping. In a
nutshell, Sen can't complete with the current 3D fighters in terms of
graphics, nor does it hold a candle to the classic 2D Samurai Shodown games.
Sidestep... should work
better in this game.
Fatalities have returned in Sen
and are the most graphic & gruesome the series has ever seen, warranting an "M"
rating for the title. Heads and limbs will fly off at the
end of the battle if a perfect is scored, leaving your character a bloody mess and/or groveling in
I feel the new "style" of deaths are done in poor taste. Listen SNK, fans of the
series don't want to see their beloved Samurai Shodown characters in
pain & agony, writhing on the ground after being chopped up by some generic cliché
Yay for "shock value" I guess... taking a page out of the ole' Mortal
Kombat book, SNK?
It might've taken some more work, but I think the fatalities could've been done
in a "classier" more artistic way (like the early games).
The home version of Sen, includes: Arcade, Versus, Survival, Practice, and Online
battle. Overall, the game is a bit short on features and modes. Story Mode is
short on depth and production value, for one. Online play is fairly smooth and
also allows for replay saves... but I wonder, with all the great 2D & 3D
games out right now, who's really playing this game?
Indeed, the inactive online community speaks for itself. To sum up the
home version: Bare bones and rushed. 3D Samurai Shodown could've been so
When you think Samurai Shodown, you
don't think 3D fighting game... and you definitely don't think Soul Caliburrip-off either (until now), especially since Samurai Shodown came first. Why
SNK insisted on remaking this series into a 3D game yet again, I have no
clue. Sure, 3D Samurai Shodown could've worked... perhaps much better if
Namco was in the drivers seat.
As a Samurai Shodown fan since I played the very first installment (and
every installment after), it's hard not to be disappointed after playing Sen... and I'm pretty sure 98% of Samurai Shodown fans would rather play
any of the classic 2D games. I for one have no desire to learn the game, and
that's unfortunate since I love many of the characters.
It's pretty cool seeing our favorite characters re-done in 3D and given a more "realistic" makeover, but
unfortunately the clunky gameplay & choppy animation is all that Samurai
Shodown Sen will be remembered by. Well, at least the artwork turned out
good... but sadly, the artwork is the best part of the game.