On paper, Samurai Shodown’s Dojo Mode is amazing. Essentially, player data is collected as you go along using the various available characters, and it manifests as an AI ghost that you can battle. In an ideal world, you’d be able to observe your own gameplay, and improve as you fight. But somehow the mode turned out to be near utterly useless.
In practice, the data does sort of simulate your playstyle… a little bit. For example, my ghost data would usually throw out a middle slash or a deflect at the start of the match, mirroring how I’d play. But then I’d watch as it descended into madness, frantically grabbing, evading, and light slashing despite my usage of medium and heavy slashes. It’s downright hilarious watching it play itself. I’m not sure how the AI ended up this way.
It’s not even just a problem with your own ghost character. Samurai Shodown allows you to fight and download ghost data of other players, and just like mine, they were all left a floundering mess, no matter how high their score was.
— Some numbers guy (@s07195) July 11, 2019
I’ve had a better time fighting amiibo fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and I wonder if SNK could have learned from that mode there. For amiibo fighters, they will learn to improve as you teach it, and will generally play well following the basic AI, but with tendencies to perform moves that you taught it to use more often. Either way, anything’s better than what I experienced in Dojo Mode.
Samurai Shodown is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’ll release for Nintendo Switch and PC this winter. Check out the first part of our playtest here.