Aug 30, 2013
Samurai Shodown 2 comes with a wee bit of sticker shock: $8.99 for a port of a decades-old fighting game?
Well, it kind of makes sense: It’s a Neo-Geo fighting game, and hey, the Neo-Geo was known for its very expensive games. But considering that the platform also had games with some of the finest 2D animation around, it was at least moderately justified. So, let’s work on the operating theory that if it’s deserving, Samurai Shodown 2 is worth $8.99, disregarding that even premium content for mobile rarely gets above $6.99.
Well, I don’t think it is. The port job is just too poor to recommend it, especially at this price point.
The game itself uses some familiar language to the Street Fighter series, with lots of quarter-circle motions, so it should be familiar, at least roughly, for fighting game veterans who may not be aware of what the series entails. The dynamic zooming view is definitely different, but definitely works. The art looks great, still – the animation is top-notch. As well, there’s aspect ratio and scanline options to make the game look exactly to players’ specifications.
The game is extremely challenging, so come in with patience. There’s decent virtual controls, but I recommend using a physical gamepad with this if possible. There’s also Bluetooth multiplayer, because fighting with friends is more fun than the computer. Support for multiple gamepads on one device would be welcome, though.
At its core, Samurai Shodown 2 seems worth it. It’s probably best for hardcore fighting fans, but that’s probably who the game, at its price point, is targeting. But what about that gamepad support? That could make or break this game. There’s a lot of support at its core, compatible with the Xperia Play (still ticking!), the built-in Android HID gamepad protocol, and MOGA controllers.
Unfortunately the functionality issues break this game. The HID support is flawed. Only sword attacks (the A & C Neo-Geo buttons) are mapped to the face buttons. I think one of the kicks is mapped to the right joystick. There’s no ability to reconfigure the button mappings. Frankly, this is inexcusable. This is an $8.99 port/emulation of a fighting game. Fighting game fans are some of the most demanding poeple when it comes to features, and to not properly support the controllers that they will want to use, especially when asking for a premium price for the game, is a mistake. This needs to be fixed.
This is especially so because the Moga controllers just aren’t up to snuff for this game. The Moga Pro remains my favorite gamepad, but this game shows the key flaw that the controller has. It’s a bit stiff and the arrows are somewhat thin. This is great for most precision platformers and for FPS-type games where commands are on the d-pad but for a fighting game with rotation motions, it’s flawed. I liked the joystick-only Moga Pocket better than the Pro to play the game!
So really, after examining every aspect of the port, I have to say: no, it’s not worth $8.99. I could see a universe in which a port could be worth it, but it would require higher standards than this.