Samurai Shodown offers you the same staple of options most fighting games offer. You have your main story mode where you go as your chosen fighter and duel through different characters in the game in their respective stages. The story itself is decent enough, if a little unimaginative, with your cinematic cut-scenes, full of samurai story tropes, sandwiched in between the fights. There are some unlockables for you to collect such as movies and artwork which can be perused through in the gallery, adding some replay value to the story mode. The online modes are quite good; there’s the basic online feature where you go against live opponents or there’s the dojo option, where you can test your skills against Ghost CPU. Also included are the offline Battle modes which comprises local multiplayer or against the CPU, Survival (survive as long as you can against endless opponents), Gauntlet (defeat every character in the game) and Time Trial (beat as many CPU enemies in the allotted time). For absolute beginners, there’s the welcome addition of the Practice mode with its two components of Tutorial and Training. Tutorial teaches you the basics of the game (an absolute must, even if to just familiarise yourself again with its system) and if you feel that, you’re advance enough but not quite ready to take on CPU or live opponents, then Training lets you fight against your chosen fighter and beat the living daylights out of them without any fightback.
The fighting system is where Samurai really shines. always, it has your usual button controls of slash, medium slash, heavy slash and kick. A combination of those along with directional buttons) will usually activate a characters set of special moves. But what I’ve always loved about the game is that it does not overly rely on massive long combos. It challenges the players to time their attack right to find an opening in your opponent’s move or to counter it, much like real life sword duels. There is the bonus of the Rage meter, which fills up when you take damage. There are specific special moves that can only when Rage mode . The first one is a weapon flipping technique, a move if done right, disarms your opponent and the second is lightning blade, a special move with a cool short cinematic sequence when it hits especially awesome when it’s the killing blow. Disarm your opponent you say? Isn’t that unfair?!? Yep, but fear not! you you can pull off a counter move whereby your fighter can catch the enemies blade and disarm them. Cool as right?!? I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game I am excited to try out the other characters in all the modes once I find more time. My first for this review is always with but I’m absolutely stoked to see Jubei Yagyu in the character select.
The only negativity I have with the game, in terms of gameplay, is actually a problem synonymous with all fighting games that’s out for the Switch; the Joy-con directional buttons aren’t the best for fighting games. Now this isn’t that much of a problem if you own a Switch lite and can even be easily remedied on the normal Switches as there are alternative left sided Joy-cons that have the proper directional button set up.