SNK’s beloved fighting franchise returns at last.
After a considerable hiatus, SNK’s Samurai Shodown is making a comeback, and this year’s instalment is promising to be a return to form for the venerated fighting franchise. With the game’s launch almost upon us, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at seventeen vital pieces of information you should know about it.
Samurai Shodown is being treated as a reboot of the franchise, as the name might suggest, but that doesn’t mean it completely wipes the slate clean. Chronologically, the game still fits into the series’ continuity. It is set one year after the events of Samurai Shodown 5, and a few months before the first game.
Samurai Shodown’s starting roster will feature a total of sixteen characters, of which thirteen will be faces that fans of the series will be familiar with. The returning characters include: Haohmaru, Shiki, Nakoruru, Earthquake, Charlotte, Galford, Jubei Yagyu, Genjuro Kibagami, Hanzo Hattori, Yoshitora Tokugawa, Tam Tam, Kyoshiro Senryo, and Ukyo Tachibana.
Of the sixteen characters that Samurai Shodown will be launching with, three are going to be brand new additions to the series. These will be the nagamaki wielding fallen samurai Yashamaru Kurama (who can also use tengu powers), the massive saw wielding shipwright Darli Dagger, and Wu-Ruixiang.
Samurai Shodown will, of course, have a season pass, which will contain 4 new characters (though who those 4 characters will be isn’t something we know about just yet). Meanwhile, the developers have also expressed interest in featuring some guest characters from other franchises as well- so keep your fingers crossed.
One of the main reasons that SNK have decided to bring back Samurai Shodown – other than heavy demand from the fans, of course – is because of the growth of the e-sports community. SNK feels they are well-positioned, through Samurai Shodown, to make a mark in the e-sports space, so we can probably expect that to be a pretty big focus with the game.
Samurai Shodown, as you may have noticed, doesn’t feature a photorealistic look as so many fighters end up doing, but instead goes for a more stylized aesthetic with its visuals. It was exactly for this reason, so that they could set Samurai Shodown apart, that SNK went with this art style, because they felt that they needed a different look for a franchise that was returning to the limelight after such a long time.
Of course, the characters in Samurai Shodown will all also having stages corresponding to them, and quite a few of these have been confirmed and shown off already. Some of these are pretty interesting too. For instance, there’s Galford’s Pirate Galleon, which takes place on the deck of a pirate ship, while there’s also Nakoruru’s Kumai Kotan, which features a beautiful backdrop of a village, forest, animals, and a waterfall in the background.
Samurai Shodown, true to its Japanese heart and soul, will feature voice overs only in Japanese, which will encompass everything from voice lines to the announcer to everything else. There will, however, also be subtitles in several other languages, as you might have expected.
The team working on the Samurai Shodown reboot is composed of plenty of SNK veterans. For starters, Yasuyuki Oda, who has been involved with the series since his work on Samurai Shodown 64, serves as producer on the upcoming sequel. Then there’s Nobuyuki Kuroki, director and one of the artists on the game, who has worked on various Sonic titles, as well as King of Fighters 14.
Each fighter in Samurai Shodown will have a special move that players will be able to use to deal massive damage to their opponents. However, similar to Samurai Shodown 6, each character will also have a second hidden super special, an even stronger move that can be used once per match.
During fights, you’ll also notice a Rage Gauge for each character- as you take more damage, your Rage Gauge will continue to fill up, and once it’s been maxed out, your hits will start incurring more damage.
The Rage Gauge can also be used to active the Rage Explosion technique to trigger extra powerful dash attacks. These dash attacks, called Lightnight Strikes, are cinematic and extremely powerful moves that deal a ton of damage- obviously, they can be used only once per match.
WEAPON FLIPPING TECHNIQUE
The Rage Gauge has even more uses though. For instance, once your Rage Gauge is maxed out, you’ll also be able to use the Weapon Flipping Technique. If you manage to pull it off properly, this attack will disarm your opponent, and leave them completely open to more attacks while also leaving them unable to do much damage of their own.
Samurai Shodown will have its own unique spin on training modes, to make them a bit more engaging and competitive. Th Dojo mode will use self-learning AI to study your fighting style in offline matches, and will create Ghosts based on that style. In the Dojo, you’ll be able to fight your own Ghosts to help yourself get better, while you’ll also be able to download Ghosts of other players if you’re looking for something more competitive.
The Ironman Challenge will take the Ghosts we just spoke of another step further. For those looking for a more gruelling and challenging experience, the Ironman Challenge will pit you against 100 round-matches against AI-controlled Ghosts.
Samurai Shodown is due out for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, but it won’t be releasing on all of them simultaneously. On the PS4 and Xbox One, it launches June 27, while the Switch and PC versions will be out in Winter of this year.
If you end up pre-ordering Samurai Shodown, you’ll actually be in for a pretty sweet deal. Buy the game before June 30th – which means you have three days even after it has launched – and you’ll get access to its season pass for free. With the season pass, the developers are promising six months of content updates, so it sounds like a pretty sweet deal. For now, we know that there’s going to be 4 new characters and the “Retro 3D Nakoruru” character costume included in the season pass, and getting all that stuff for free already sounds pretty cool.