Beast Review: Samurai Shodown

The way of the samurai has been fantasized for generations. If you walk the path of the bushido, you are supposed to be a warrior of honor. Many stories of warriors standing off against one another only fueled by the desire of combat. Here we are with Samurai Shodown also known as Samurai Spirits which came out on June 25th, 2019. This is a prequel to the famed SNK series, but does it live up to the legacy? 

Story of Samurai Shodown

It is the year 1787 and things are going through a change. However, there is a darkness looming over the lands figuratively and literally. It is up to the newly appointed Shogun, Matsudaira Sadanobu, as he ushers in the new era, but first, he is going to need the back up of some willing warriors. Through these 16 warriors, who will it be to reign fury or bring peace as the world reshapes? 

I started off the story mode with Darli and Genjuro both having their own agendas naturally. Genjuro has been a personal favorite of mine because he is fueled by his own desire to spill the blood of enemies. At times I think he is thirsty for a defeat looking for a worthy opponent. He is kind of an Akuma of the SNK world. 

The newcomer Darli looks straight out of Monster Hunter sporting a huge weapon that is a huge saw blade. Her story is simple, she was raised by both pirates and carpenters and is trying to build an unsinkable ship to venture off and seek a new journey. 

But all 16 of our warriors are drowned to this darkness, this death that looms over all. 


You can’t go into this button mashing mostly, it has a level of patience and tact. I am currently on the PS4 with some simple buttons where you have square for light, triangle for medium and circle for heavy slash. The X button is your kicks. The should button will utilize the combos of the face buttons in which you will need to press to perform your power moves.

If you hit R1 you can dodge attacks, while R2 can cause a grab that will stun your opponent so you can do a devastating move.  You have an ultimate finisher which is a last resort slash that can end your opponent. Once you hit the L2 button you will burn your meter completely, if you hit L2 a second time you will perform a slash that will instakill your opponent. If done right, but it seems it is a bit nerfed online as an opponent I faced used it on me with my health at 65% leaving me with 15% left. 


When you go through the story mode it will take an average of 15 minutes or less depending on how you execute your kills. The end boss who is this scary demon lady going through something. She has a funky fight system switching to fully armored floating lady in a Kimono to a naked shy spirit. You do the most damage in her vulnerable form by forcing by using heavy attacks constantly on her full form. Be mindful of her fighting fans that can do deadly damage. 

The Modes of Play

Every fighter should have enough modes to give you the right experience in longevity. Samurai Shodown features the following. 

  • Story: Self Explanatory
  • Dojo: You can practice, fight your ghost or download others ghost to improve on your skills and make a better ghost. 
  • Online: This includes ranking and casual play.
  • Ironman Challenge: Take on 10, 50 and 100 opponents in this survival mode. 

There will be an online leaderboard as well as an offline leaderboard. If you want to appreciate the art style of Samurai Shodown, you can stop on by the gallery area to see movies you unlocked and other artwork. There is not much else going on, but if you play through the modes you can unlock titles for online battles. 

I highly recommend going through the tutorial mode which you can learn all the outs and ins of combat. You will learn how to dodge attacks which is one of my favorite features or disarm your opponent. You can fight without your weapon, but you will not do as much damage. Hit Light attack to pick back up your weapon just an FYI.

All Around Art Style

Samurai Shodown hits the right points showing an upgrade from the 2-D style that we all know. Honestly, I feel a game like this deserves the anime style of Arcsystem Works. With the flashy moves and exaggerated characters, it would have been better in an Anime style to give it more flare. 

Sound quality is on point especially when you clash with weaponry or perform the perfect block. You have the option to turn on or off how mature you want the battles to be. While I had the mature content turned on, you can see battle damage of each fighter. The blood splatter across their bodies and faces as well as a fierce finishing strike that will leave you in awe. Not bad if you ask me. 

The Bad:

First off the price tag is too high for this game, it feels a bit underwhelmed while playing. There was a lot of drag and drop not really standing out on its own as a must-have. There is something lacking either in the presentation or the art style (which is a personal opinion), but just felt bland, like an unseasoned piece of Fried Chicken. Looks good, but there is little to no flavor. 

Also, the Ironman Challenge. I get there are only sixteen fighters in the game, but why in the 10 opponent challenge I am seeing duplicate fighters either showing up 3 or 4 times. That is so weird, I can understand the fifty or hundred trials but ten? 


Samurai Shodown has the potential to be a great game, but again that price tag doesn’t feel reasonable. Also, what is up with the weird gap with the DLC? 2 characters this year and 2 more in 2020 sounds awkward to me. I do believe they could have opened up this prequel with 10 more characters making it a nice 26 character roster. In the end, I have to give this a rating of RENT IT

I picked up Samurai Shodown at J&L games in NYC and no I am not affiliated with them or getting a commission. This beast just giving props to the local stores. Check them out for all things import copies and domestic gaming. – Beast Out – 


Beast Gamer Kuma

Editor-in-Chief at Kumazoku Ent
I am a Beast trying to get his game on. Living by the ways of the Konami Code for many years until I decided to share my knowledge and opinions of the gaming world for you mortals. I hope you enjoy the content that we provide here! - Beast Out -
Beast Gamer Kuma

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