While light on content, Samurai Shodown is one of the best fighting games of recent years, and so Xbox Series X/S owners should be delighted to hear that it’s now been optimised for their snazzy new next-gen consoles.
The truth is though, that only a small number of players will truly reap the benefits. That is to say that the Xbox Series X version of Samurai Shodown is only noticeably improved if you have a TV capable of 120fps with variable refresh rate. For everyone else, there’s a mix of good and bad.
My first experience with the Xbox Series X version of Samurai Shodown was on a mid-range 43″ Samsung 4K TV. I loaded it up, jumped into story mode, and was instantly left a little disappointed by the still lengthy loading times and what is a minor visual upgrade thanks to a resolution boost. And then, as the character intros played out, I noticed it: screen tear. Thankfully when you’re fighting it’s much less noticeable, but it’s still there from time to time. Needless to say, my first impressions weren’t good.
I then decided to test Samurai Shodown on a TV capable of 120fps and VRR – surely that would get rid of the screen-tearing, wouldn’t it? And indeed it does. On a 65″ LG C9, the improvements made in the Xbox Series X version Samurai Shodown are much more pronounced. For a start, the 4K visuals are much more appreciable; while the extra clarity does show up some ugly background elements, the game has never looked so good on console. At 120fps, the gameplay shines, too. Everything just feels more responsive. And that’s all without any screen-tearing rearing its head to ruin your fun.
I also turned VRR off to see what running at 120fps would be like for those with TVs without the feature, and unfortunately screen-tearing is still an issue. It’s not quite as bad as when playing on a standard 60Hz TV, mainly being restricted to character intros, but it’s still quite off-putting.
So basically, Samurai Shodown isn’t in a great place on Xbox Series X unless you have a 120Hz TV capable of VRR. And with Smart Delivery automatically delivering the next-gen version of the game to those with the console, that will no doubt be an issue for many. Hopefully it’ll be patched soon to eliminate the screen-tearing issues for those affected, but until then you might want to steer clear.