Samurai Spirits : Tenkaichi Kankakuden

The latest installment of the Samurai Showdown series brings a breath of fresh air to the series, as they’ve made some good improvements as well as expanding the roster of playable characters to over 40, including in characters from every game in the series as well as bringing back a few old favorites, and a few dopplegangers with different color schemes.
The first thing you’ll notice when playing the game is the decidedly old-school Neo Geo look of the graphics. I really wish SNK would move forward and improve on it’s game sprites as they look really aged compared to current 2D fighters like Guilty Gear or even Street Fighter Alpha 3. It looks like they just lazily cut and pasted the characters from the old games onto the new backgrounds in this one, including the new characters. A little more polish for the characters would have been nice as pixels stick out making them look blocky. And is it just me or have they shrunk down Earthquake quite a bit?
Audio-wise, it’s the same feudal Japanese score we’ve heard in every game with the same announcer and the same voices for the characters.
Gameplay wise, I’ve always had problems with pulling off the special attacks on 2D fighters with the PS2 controller, and this one feels no different. Definitely recommend getting an arcade style joystick for this one as you’ll find yourself hitting your special moves one minute and mashing away trying to get it to work again the next. It also doesn’t feel balanced at times when an opponent can hack off huge chunks of your health bar with a few heavy hitting strikes, where as a big combo from you will barely do any damage. The gameplay would also probably benefit from a little more speed in my opinion.
At least the final boss of the game isn’t impossible to beat like the one in Samurai Showdown Zero. I’m not sure what the requirements are, but there are 4 possible bosses you could face off with before the final actual one.
Fans of the series will instantly want to pick this one up. 2D fight fans might be hesitant after playing the train wreck that the previous game in the series was, but I can safely say this is more enjoyable and the difficulty is fair to say the least. Definitely worth a rental to check out.

Game Ratings:
Graphics – 7
Sound – 6
Gameplay – 6
Lifespan – 7
Overall – 7


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