In a world where Soul Calibur and Dead or Alive 4 are bringing up the rear when it comes to the best fighters this generation has to offer, you have to wonder who in their right mind would even consider forking out fifty bucks for this game.
The closest comparison to Samurai Shodown Sen would be Soul Calibur, with a very similar control set up and combos of similar length, demanding similar inputs – and even a character roster that feels rather familiar along- side Namco’s fighter. Here you’ll find a woman who plays a bit like Raphael, or a lass that looks and plays with touches of Talim, and, of course, the usual predictable line-up of fleet-footed all-rounders, meaty brutes and complete oddballs, ticking all the right boxes in all the traditional fighter categories.
‘Workmanlike’ pretty much sums up the whole experience. It’s not that it’s particularly hateful - more that it’s the very definition of average. There’s a decent-sized roster to get stuck into, but none of the characters are particularly charismatic. Admittedly, half the roster makes a return from previous Shodowns, but that still doesn’t get around the fact that there’s a very real blandness to the sea of faces on the character selection screen. Actually, screw ‘blandness’, Samurai Shodown Sen is a bleedin’ personality vacuum.
The fighting itself doesn’t get much better. Lacking Calibur’s fluid animation and free, eight-way movement, Shodown feels positively stiff, almost rigid in its approach, and trading blows often feels like a laborious case of fastest finger first (or quickest to the juggle) rather than who has the upper hand in terms of strategy and tactics.
Perhaps the most ‘interesting’ aspect of the game is your ability to sever the limbs of your opponent: SNK’s way of trying to inject at least something memorable to the battles. We’ve included a few images of the bloody combat here to save you the trouble of buying the game and investigating the feature for yourself.
Unfortunately, it’s all a bit half-hearted and doesn’t add anything particularly meaningful to the fighting. Simply deliver a powerful slash to finish your opponent and watch them writhe around, blood gushing from the wound. If you really feel the need to see what a 15-year-old girl looks like with her hand a couple of feet from her body, then this is probably the only way you’ll experience it without fear of prosecution – which, let’s face it, is hardly an endorsement.
Mar 30, 2010