I've only played a handful of fighting games… Obviously the originators like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter… as well as the more modern games such as Tekken, Virtua Fighter, etc. Samurai Showdown Sen is definitely one of the more modern games.
In Samurai Showdown Sen, you have your standard Story Mode as well as a regular Versus, a Survival Mode, a Practice Mode, and the option to challenge other gamers via X-Box Live. In Story Mode, you assume the role of 1 of 24 (26 total after unlockables) characters, each with their own fighting styles and weapons. Your mission is to mow down all your opponents, until you get to the big, typically near-impossible to beat, main villain who has invaded and kidnapped the princess. The game itself has a Kill Bill/Crouching Tiger feel to it. The backgrounds are impressive and remind you that you're fighting in a Feudal Japan-type era world as well as parts of Europe, Asia, and America. Also, the violence in the game definitely has a Kill Bill feel as you're able to finish off your opponents by slicing off body parts and whatnot.
In Versus Mode, you basically run through most if not all of the game's roster without any particular reason or story. Survival Mode is a gauntlet-style game where you attempt to slay as many opponents as you can without losing. If all else fails, you're able to train how to fight in Practice Mode.
As with all X-Box games, you also have various Achievements. For the most part, finishing the Story Mode with all 24 characters gets you 20 points for each one.
Gameplay handles like the usual Tekken/Virtua Fighter style game. You essentially need to know what combination of buttons to press in order to take your opponent down or else defend against them. Opponents vary from "That seemed easier than it really should have been." to "How did this one beat me?" For the latter, the "Mega Man" method of finding a player that your opponent has a weakness to works best.
Sound isn't too bad. The entire game is subtitled, thus is in Japanese… so even the characters who are clearly American speak in Japanese. Music is a bit repetitive in spots (such as the menus) but is also quite tolerable mostly.
The word "Conclusion," while a welcomed change from the usual "KO" or "Round Over," gets obnoxious from time to time… especially when you're on the receiving end. The main baddie, Golba just seems impossible to beat in any other mode besides "Beginner." Although I suppose Practice Mode may help with that eventually. All in all, while the game is certainly different from other fighting games and definitely has replay value, nothing really pops out as being too spectacular. Out of TOV 5 stars, I give Samurai Showdown Sen 3 out of 5 TOV Stars