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Samurai Shodown Sen

TheSamurai Shodown series has seen better days. What started off as a wellloved 2D franchise has turned into Samurai Shodown Sen an ugly, one onone 3D fighter that fails to capture the charm of the original titles.Although this isnt the first time the series has ventured into the 3Dspace, it feels like the developers rookie effort on a 3D project.Samurai Shodown Sen is awkward, stiff and the visuals are reminiscentof a middle of the road PS2 game.

Its depressing, really, becausethe first Samurai Shodown games were classics from the Neo Geo family.Samurai Shodown was one of the first franchises that tackled weaponsbased combat in the fighting genre, and emphasized careful, calculatedstrikes as opposed to arcade style button mashing. But Samurai ShodownSen fails at transitioning that gameplay properly to the 360.

InSamurai Shodown Sen, players face off in a flat arena with any warriorout of the 24 combatant roster (and a few bosses to boot). The battlesystem of Samurai Shodown Sen revolves around combos built on eitherhorizontal or vertical slashes. Characters also have kicks and throwsat their disposal, as well as a special Rage Explosion state thatpowers up their attacks and also gives them access to Rage ExplosionMoves.

There are a few other subtleties to the gameplay, likedeflecting oncoming strikes to stagger your opponent and sidesteppingaround attacks, but nothing that hasnt been done in 3D fighting gamesbefore. I fully recognize that there is some strategy to be found inSamurai Shodown Sen, but tapping into it means players need to wadethrough some of the most vapid, stiff fighting mechanics Ive played.Samurai Shodown Sen just doesnt feel right, and is nowhere near asresponsive as its peers like Street Fighter IV or BlazBlue: CalamityTrigger. Even other 3D fighters (Soulcalibur and Tekken come to mind)have had more successful current gen offerings, and they lookinfinitely better.

Yes, Sen is an ugly game. I can usually lookpast poor visuals if brilliant gameplay hides underneath, but SamuraiShodown is neither attractive or hiding brilliancy under its uglyexterior. Not only is Sen very overwhelming for newcomers (illegiblemove lists, little story context and no tutorials), but the stiffnessis just hard to deal with, especially when AI opponents cut into youlike a hot knife through butter.

Samurai Shodown Sen alsosuffers from some annoying load times, as well as a fair amount ofslowdown in certain stages. Any slowdown in a fighting game isdisappointing considering how important precision is to the experiencebut that such a dated looking game stutters is beyond me.

SamuraiShodown just doesnt have the same sort of appeal of other modernfighters. When I jumped onto Xbox Live to test out the multiplayer, Ionly found two people playing the game. The first, a suspiciouslysilent gamer, refused to play with me after I beat him/her in the firstmatch. The second player, a much more talkative chap, voiced some ofthe same concerns I had with the game and he was a Day One Buyer. Atleast the game actually ran well during the online matches, but with sofew people playing, itll be hard to properly enjoy the multiplayercomponents.

CPU: 1.5 GHz Processor
RAM: 512 MB
VGA: DirectX compatible 128 MB graphics card
DX: DirectX 9.0c
OS: Windows XP/Vista
HDD: 2.5 GB
Sound: DirectX compatible audio card

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