Samurai Shodown (2019 video game)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
Xbox Series X/S
Samurai Shodown (known as Samurai Spirits in Japan) is a 2019 fighting game developed and published by SNK for arcades, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Stadia, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Windows as an entry in the Samurai Shodown series.
Samurai Shodown is a 3D fighting game with a 2D plane combat system that uses many elements from past games in the series. It shares similarities with The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.
The controls consists of four buttons: weak, medium, strong blows with weapons and kick. By pressing special combinations, the character can carry out captures, counterattacks, interceptions and evasions. The Rage Gauge is back in the game. It replenishes after each damage taken by the character. A fully filled scale gives access to new abilities. After gaining a full scale, the player can activate the rage mode, which increases the character's strength for a while and opens up the opportunity to inflict a disarming blow to the opponent. During the activation of the fury mode, an explosion occurs, pushing the enemy away and opening him up for attack. After the end of the rage mode, the player is deprived of the opportunity to use the scale until the end of the match.
Each character has a Super Special Move, which deals very powerful damage when hitting an opponent. However, it can only be attempted once during the entire match.
The game uses a trainable artificial intelligence. The player can create his own so-called ghost. The AI will observe the player's actions and then try to copy them. In a battle with your own ghost, the player can discover the weaknesses of his tactics.
The bloody finishing moves that were absent in the previous titles of the series returned to this game.
The game takes place in 1787, during the Tenmei Era of Japanese history. The entire country is beset by a terrible and looming evil. Fire, ruin and famine ran rampant throughout Japan. Meanwhile, as these events unfold, a sinister cloud envelops the air with a foreboding sense of dread. Shizuka Gozen, the deceased spirit of a young woman who is possessed and trapped in Yomi, (labeled Eternity in the game itself) threatens to destroy Japan. Warriors from all across Japan and beyond the ocean, driven by their own needs and desires, converge to investigate these evil forces and vanquish them.
Samurai Shodown features a base roster of 16 playable characters, with extra ones available as paid and free downloadable content. Newcomers and guest characters are marked in bold.
|Base Roster||Season One||Season Two||Season Three|
The development team consists of members who worked on The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. Nobuyuki Kuroki is the director and one of the artists, while Yasuyuki Oda serves as producer. Kuroki has been previously involved with the series through the Samurai Shodown 64 titles. The characters of the game were designed by Yumi Saji.
The internal staff at SNK who worked on the game consisted of 50 to 60 employees, as well as outsourcing some art assets, to form a total of an estimated 200 employees who worked on the game. Some of the reasons for making a new title were the recent focus on the esports community and the many fan requests. The team considered using a realistic art style for the graphics but decided against it because too many fighting games were using it already. Oda has expressed interest in adding guest characters from other franchises.
Due to outdated graphics involving the releases of The King of Fighters XIV and SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy, SNK chairman Zhihui GE had stated that the future SNK fighting games will use Unreal Engine 4 in order to give a better graphical presentation. Samurai Shodown became the first SNK game to use Unreal Engine 4.
First announced for PlayStation 4 in September 2018, the game was later revealed to be a multiplatform title. It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One worldwide in June 2019 with versions for the Nintendo Switch, Windows and Stadia releasing at a later date. The enhanced version for Xbox Series X/S was revealed during Tokyo Game Show 2020 for a Q4 2020 launch. It is currently set to release on March 16, 2021 and will feature higher frame rate support.
Samurai Shodown has received generally favorable reviews, the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch versions earning a Metacritic score of 81, 78, and 75 respectively. Den of Geek gave the game 3.5 out of 5 stars, and commented that Samurai Shodown "is a fighting game that’s incredibly solid in its core gameplay and looks swell enough, but it sadly feels like it’s lacking because there’s little else to do."  The Mercury News called the game a solid revamp for the series, and noted that SNK upgraded the visuals and was as challenging as ever. In their review of the game, GameSpot called the game a great reboot that captured what made the original fun and unique, while also drawing attention to the fact that the single-player experience was somewhat lacking. IGN praised the game's fighting mechanics, and noted that there was an extraordinarily tense style of fighting that is unlike just about anything else in the genre in the current fighting game climate. The PlayStation 4 version was the fourth bestselling game in Japan during its first week of release, selling 16,662 copies. On July 4, SNK reported that first-week shipments plus digital sales totaled 40,606 units.
The game was nominated for "Best Fighting Game" at The Game Awards 2019, and for "Fighting Game of the Year" at the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, and won the award for "Game, Franchise Fighting" at the NAVGTR Awards.
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