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The Last Blade 2: Heart of the Samurai
This often overlooked ‘other’ weapon based fighter is, in my opinion, the best of SNK’s 2D fighting games. While Samurai Showdown III and IV ended up fun but uneven The Last Blade 2 is a lesson in balanced combat where mastering your character is key to victory.
Each character is different and all have their own strengths and weaknesses. They can also be customised by picking different attack forms. The first game let you make your fighter either speed or power based, while The Last Blade 2 adds an ‘EX’ option as well. The difference between the three styles makes a remarkable impact on your strategy.
It also looks beautiful and each new area is presented with a subtle cut scene beforehand to add atmosphere. The special moves are not massively flashy but it all keeps with the games ethos of balance and skill. Everything about the title leaves you with the impression you have just played something destined to be a classic.