Fans of the fighting genre of games have been spoiled for choice as of late. With titles like MK 11, Injustice 2, a few Dragon Ball games, and the latest Super Smash Bros. all having been released fairly recently, joystick warriors have had ample opportunity to hone their skills.
While major franchises like Tekken or Mortal Kombat have received a ton of attention from the gaming community as a whole, we feel that there’s something to be said about the lesser-known games in the genre. Titles like The King of Fighters, Dead or Alive, and Gundam Versus are all solid fighters, despite never receiving the same publicity and attention as their more mainstream counterparts.
Well, today we’re going to shed some much-needed light on a superbly stylish - yet mostly low-key - entry in the fighting game genre: Samurai Shodown.
What Makes Samurai Shodown Special?
Full disclosure: we aren’t claiming that Samurai Shodown reinvents the genre. Quite the contrary: if you’ve played any 2.5D fighter - like any of the recent Street Fighter games - you should feel right at home here. But where games like Street Fighter or Tekken place an emphasis on unarmed martial combat, Samurai Shodown instead places a sword in your hand and challenges you to master the blade.
Of course, this isn’t a new concept either, as titles like Soul Calibur have often incorporated weaponry into their fighting systems. But here, you’re a samurai, a bona fide sword-singer, and you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s just as stylish as it sounds.
Because of the emphasis on sword-play, Samurai Shodown’s mechanics have a lot of depth when it comes to dueling your opponent. Here, you’ll see a lot of blocking, parrying, and riposting, and if you master these gameplay elements, you’ll have full control of the battlefield, and be able to have your opponent down and out within a couple of seconds.
It’s not as slow and methodical as it sounds. This isn't Dark Souls with its circle-strafing and patient sizing up of enemies. This is still a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat fighting game, and you’ll need to be able to keep up with everything happening on-screen if you want to come out on top.
Take a look at this video for Samurai Shodown’s stylish gameplay.
Who Is This Game Intended For?
We would urge all fans of the fighting genre to give Samurai Shodown a try. Despite it being a fairly low-key entry in an already low-key franchise, the game boasts an incredible amount of polish, flourish, and style, and can even go toe-to-toe with the likes of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat.
The game is rated M for mature audiences, but options within the game itself allow users to turn off blood and gore effects. Unlike Mortal Kombat, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on much without all the over-the-top, stylized violence. So if you’re willing to play the game without comical blood-spraying or unrealistic body-bisection, Samurai Shodown could be a great entry-level fighter for younger gamers.
How to Get Free Skins (Season Pass)
If we’ve convinced you to give the game a try, consider this section a bonus for you, dedicated reader.
Skins in Samurai Shodown function as they would in other fighters: they’re a cosmetic finish for your characters, and don’t offer any boost or advantage over other players. Well, except looking cool. They do that.
We’d still recommend playing the game and earning the skins for yourself. But if that sounds like too much effort, but you still fancy getting a new look for your main, here’s how you can get access to free skins in Samurai Shodown.
Getting the Free Season Pass
The season pass for the game is free. Here’s how you can access it.
Step 2) Once you’ve found it, navigate down to ‘add-ons’ for the game.
Step 3) You should see the season pass here. Open it, then add it to your download queue, free of charge.
Step 4) Wait for the download to finish, launch the game, and et voila, you now have access to additional skins, as well as a few other characters to boot.
Games like Samurai Shodown are a rare breed. They dare to twist genre conventions and subvert expectations. For that reason, maybe they’ll never get the spotlight they deserve. But they’re still damn good games, and a ton of fun to play. So give Samurai Shodown a try. We promise: you won’t regret it.