Samurai Shodown cuts with precision in preview

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SNK Corp. this month released the Samurai Shodown Demo in Japan and Asia. The limited demo is a two-hour trial of the final product and excels in its preview build.

The demo includes three characters – Haohmaru, Nakoruru, and newcomer Yashamaru. In addition, the demo includes Training mode to test out each character, Tutorial mode to learn techniques, and Versus mode for CPU or head-to-head two-player bouts.

Controls take a cue from Samurai Shodown III with light, medium and heavy weapon attacks, and a button to kick.

Strategy is still a large part of the fight system, with light and medium attacks that deal less damage but have the least recovery time when blocked. The heavy attack wields the most damage – as much as half the power bar with two consecutive hits – and has the most recovery time to leave the fighter vulnerable if the attack is blocked.

Veterans Haohmaru and Nakoruru feel much like their classic iterations albeit with new Judgment super moves that can be executed when the Rage meter is full.

New fighter Yashamaru is a blast to use. He wields a long-range sword with vicious dash and leap attacks. In fact, Yashamaru can wield so much damage with two heavy strikes that some power balancing may be in order.

The Xbox One build played beautifully at 60 frames-per-second with little to no input lag. Character models are faithful to the franchise with dark outlines and light shading to resemble a water color painting. Backdrops are classically constructed including a forest with orange leaves that fall briskly to the ground and a rocky beachside with cascading waves.

Samurai Shodown is gripping its trademark blueprint of tight controls and strategic gameplay in the preview build. Players can embrace death June 25th.


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