The fighting genre is in a bit of a
rut right now. Aside from UFC 2009, few games are willing to take any chances.
They produce rehash after rehash because it’s safe and (in their minds)
economically sound. What these sad souls don’t realize is that they are killing
a genre that was once more popular than first- and third-person shooters.
Finally, it seems like things are
about to change. At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, you can always
find more of the same. Drop by Ignition’s booth, however, and you’ll find
something different: a new Samurai Shodown.
At first glance, you’ll swear this
game has something to do with the SoulCalibur franchise. But after a couple
minutes with any of the 20+ characters (13 original and 11 brand-new), the
differences between Samurai Shodown and Namco’s sword fighter are crystal clear.
For starters, Edge of Destiny is more grounded. Each character appears to have a
different set of moves (the four I used certainly did), but none of them delve
into that light-as-a-feather effect of the earlier SoulCalibur games. You won’t
be running all over the screen, nor can you side-step with an eight-way run.
Instead, this game is about each individual attack and how well you can use
them. Many of the attacks are a quick burst of pain. Not with special effects
(this game doesn’t appear to include magic) but with swords and daggers that are
used to attack and immediately pull back. This is a gameplay style that could
initially lead players to believe that the game is slow, since you can’t jump in
and button-mash your way to a speedy victory. In reality, the game is extremely
agile. However, it’s up to the player to make it that way. You have to be agile.
You have to learn your warrior and master their techniques. Without some
fighting game skills, you’re likely to get your butt kicked by anyone except the
AI. That alone makes it a necessary release for this ailing genre, and a
must-play for any hardcore fighting fan.
As an Xbox 360-exclusive, Edge of
Destiny is looking sharp. The graphics need some polishing in the background
department (the backgrounds are detailed but are a bit grainy, and at this point
a little plain), but the characters look very good. Their animations seem to
accurately depict that of a real samurai. Externally, each warrior has been
designed as a solid 3D model, all of which were impressive in high-def.
Shipping to stores this November,
Samurai Shodown: Edge of Destiny looks to finally give us something to fight