|System: Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Terminal Reality / SNK||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SNK Playmore||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 24, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Samurai Shodown IV reverts back to the brighter and more cartoonish look of the original two, now featuring all characters from SSIII with the addition of ninja brothers Kazma Kazuki and Kazma Sogetsu. It also features several changes in gameplay with more intricate combos, elaborate finishers, and the infamous suicide move to take one's own life in order to start with a full power bar in the next round. Unfortunately, Showdown IV is also where players may begin to notice slowdown in framerate and lag in movements, skewing the precise timing and rhythm critically needed to be successful.
Samurai Shodown V serves as a prequel to the original title in the series, with the addition of new characters and more changes in gameplay. The Slash and Burst system is gone, and players are given a more extensive defensive system that allows them to dodge attacks much quicker. Unfortunately, as the Samurai Shodown Anthology gets progressively faster, slowdown issues on this re-release seem to occur more frequently, making winning frustratingly difficult and time-consuming. The sixth and final Showdown features a total of 41 characters with an incredible catalog that spans the entire series plus new ones including Andrew, Iroha, Sugoroku Matsuribayashi, and Karakuri Ocha-Maro. With an incredible list of characters on this final Shodown title and noticeably improved graphics over its predecessors, SSVI is among the most enjoyable installments of the entire series.
What Anthology does well is present how the game progresses throughout the years. The alterations of character designs and game mechanics are all here, for better or for worse, as they appeared in the original releases. The game's classic Kung-Fu soundtrack is actually one of the most appealing factors, if not stressfully repetitive when playing for hours on end. Visually, the signature two-dimensional graphics and use of camera-zooming while in the midst of a battle are a testament to the times each game was created, though it can also be straining on the eyes with time. It is unfortunate that the game suffers from obvious slowdown, especially with such dated-looking graphics, throwing rhythm off balance and interfering with the timing so desperately needed to win. Even though it's old, the Samurai Shodown series is not for the inexperienced gamer.
When updating interfaces and control schemes to work on newer consoles, the appeal of re-releases such as this can sometimes become lost in translation, as games often just don't run smoothly or become tacked-on with useless extras. While issues with framerate occur, it's not common enough to ruin the experience of playing through this historic and sometimes unnecessarily overlooked game series. Those who have been longing to complete their Samurai Shodown collection and its cast of legendary characters should pick this one up.
CCC Freelance Writer