Reviews - Multi Platform
Written by Eric Dionne Wednesday, February 08 2012 01:18
The Tale of Souls lives on in Soul Calibur V! It has finally arrived, and after playing it for a week, I have a few things to say. This is my favorite 3D fighting series of all time (with Dead Or Alive as a close second), so I was hoping for something great this time around.
So how does it stack up to the rest of the series? Does it fall short, or is it a step in the right direction?
Well I'll tell you this much; I can't put this game down.
Developer: Project Soul
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Platforms: Xbox 360/PS3
Release Date: Jan. 31st, 2012
Nowadays, kids are becoming more and more spoiled. There was a time when fighting games had 8 characters; now everyone complains if a game doesn't have at least 20. We can create characters in games, but kids complain that we can only make 50... Only? Hey all of you guys from the 90's.. Remember when we couldn't create any characters? Regardless, Soul Calibur V focuses on what's important in a fighting game...the fighting!
Gone is Chronicle of Souls mode and Weapon master mode, but making it's return is story mode. While story mode is good for what it is, I must say that it is a weak attempt. Upon in this review, you'll see how little I care for single player modes in a fighting game, as I play Soul Calibur for the characters, the overall story, and the fighting mechanics. But since this is a review of the game as a whole, I must still point out my gripes. I will, however, split this review into single player and multiplayer as to me they are separate entities.
So as I mentioned for single player modes, we start with Story mode. This mode focuses on new Protagonist Patroklos and somewhat Antagonist Pyrrha (both are the children of series favorite Sophitia). Soul Calibur V takes place 17 years after the events of Soul Calibur IV, and a lot has changed. Sophitia's children continue the war of the Soul Calibur vs. the Soul Edge, the "good and evil" swords that are the main focus of power in this series. Patroklos is given the Soul Calibur, while Pyrrha the Soul Edge. Nightmare is no longer the Soul Blade's one and only bitch boy.
While story mode is fun, it is severely lacking. I finished it in 2 hrs and 15 minutes, and there's no replay value at all for it. But what bothers me the most is it's riddled with storyboard images while they talk and the story progresses, but sometimes there's a cinematic sequence. It confuses the heck out of me why every single scene wasn't created visually with character models at the very least, if not FMV sequences that you see maybe 1/5th of the time in story mode. If the mode was longer, had a free roam, or maybe let you control more than just Patroklos, Z.W.E.I, and Pyrrha then maybe it would've worked out better. Z.W.E.I is some guy who controls a hovering floating torso of a werewolf's body, and you also get to control an alternate version of the siblings (Alpha Patroklos and Pyrrha Omega). These alternate versions have an alternate fighting style, thus making them 2 more characters.
The other single player modes we have this time around are Quick Battle and Arcade mode. Arcade mode is basically the same as it ever was with one glaring omission: No endings for each character. No, I am not joking.
After all the games in the series having one, we don't even get so much as Soul Calibur 2's "2 pictures with text" endings. When you win in arcade mode (and only 6 battles too), you just get a rundown of your time and how fast it took to beat your opponents. Lame.
Quick battle is actually pretty fun, though. It's 200 battles against the CPU, but it's setup almost as if you're playing online. You can choose location and difficulty, and it'll find 4 opponents for you. they all have a win loss record of 0-0 until you face them, so beat one of them and move on, because this will earn you emblems for use on your license for online multiplayer which I will get to in a bit. But this mode is oftentimes hilarious, since you face opponents randomly created in character creation mode whom sometimes look ridiculous. I swear to god I fought The Penguin with Voldo's wacky fighting style.
A cool thing, too, is that Soul Calibur producer Katsuhiro Harada is one of the hidden fighter's in quick battle. There's an achievement to beat him, but be warned, as he is an uppercut spammer and will make you want to kill yourself by how tough he can be. After having beaten him with Aeon (a.k.a. Lizardman), I never want to do it again.
Quite possibly the most fun mode, however, is character creation. Starting in Soul Calibur III, Create-A-Soul mode has been one of the best aspects of this series. Soul Calibur V's creation is very close to Soul Calibur IV, with one amazing aspect... No more attributes assigned to parts in the mode. So now you can make your character however you want without worrying if they'll have enough health, or if their own health will be drained. The mode is way more in-depth and if people get creative enough, you can make almost anyone. I made a pretty damn good Freddy Krueger.
Now, before we go on, let's get to the heart of the matter which is the characters. Many series favorites have left us this time around (unless DLC changes things in the future). Some notable favorites missing from this game are Hwang, Yun-Seong, Seong-Mina, Talim, Zasalamel, Rock, Cassandra, and Taki to name a few. Cassandra and Taki's styles have a slight representation in this series. Natsu, a student of Taki's, is a new character, while both versions of Pyrrha play similarly to Cassandra and Sophitia from past games in the series. Returning are Maxi, Voldo, Astaroth, Algol, Yoshimitsu (who is actually the successor since the first one from the other SC games died in SCIV), and many others. This game also marks the triumphant return of Edgemaster! He is the all-time best mimic character in any series, and I've been waiting to see him since the original Soul Calibur. The two blanks on the screen are Algol and Dampierre (Best Buy pre-order gift DLC character and formerly on Broken Destiny for PSP). Elysium is a female mimic who looks like Sophitia, Edgemaster is an all character mimic, and Kilik is now a male character mimic.
In keeping with tradition, Soul Calibur has a new guest character in the mix. This guest fits the series very well and is at least closely related to the era in which it takes place. I am not taking anything away from the Jedi/Sith in SCIV since I am a huge Star Wars fan, but they just didn't belong. This time around we get none other than Ezio Auditore da Firenze from the Assassin's Creed series.We also get a hidden Create-A-Soul fighting style based on Devil Jin from the Tekken series.
I personally love the characters in this game. When a series has the guts to jump the story 17 years, I love it! I wish many more games would follow suit and time jump their games. I am tired of seeing Ryu and Ken looking young, tired of Mortal Kombat having the same characters despite that I love the MK series (my favorite 2D fighting series, in fact). Hell, why isn't Bart Simpson at the very least a teenager yet?
Aging your characters will not ruin them. If anything it'll bring new life into them. I don't know about any of you, but I like to see the evolution of a character over time. You get to know them better and it's cool to see characters grow up and become wiser or stronger.
So now here's the other half of the game: Multiplayer. Xbox Live has never worked better for a fighting game. After trying hard as hell to play Mortal Kombat on my PS3 or Street Fighter IV on Xbox Live, fighting games have never worked well for me. Soul Calibur has done everything right with online play. I never wait more than 1 minute to get into a match, and I can pick what region I want to find matches in, amongst other searching filters. So far in my experience I haven't faced any annoying players. It's true that a few people might spam the same moves over and over, but once you get the hang of it all, it works out fine. Ranked and Player matches make a return, in addition to the Global Colosseo. This online mode is basically a place for people to enter a lobby based on where they live to chat and play.
Soul Calibur V brings in the replayability that other fighting games have had. If you love a match, save it. Get an amazing Perfect victory? Post it to your log so others can view your log and see it! For all of you PS3 players, you can even upload your videos straight to YouTube!
Sadly, there is still no Team Battle mode, but Versus mode and Training return. You can face a human opponent, CPU, or even set up CPU vs. CPU matches if you like to simulate them, which sometimes I admit I do enjoy.
Overall, Soul Calibur V is a great game. If you are thinking about buying it, but have no friends and hate online, then I 100% suggest you don't bother. This game is meant to be played online and/or with friends at home. I personally cannot stop playing this game both online and offline. trying to defeat all 200 opponents in quick battle is enjoyable enough to me, but throw in online play and I am set for a good long while.
So if you are a fan of the series, enjoy playing against human beings, and don't care about a lack of single player modes since you'll be busy playing friends and strangers online anyway, then get it now! The game plays better with Guard Impacts now costing meter, new Critical Edges (which are basically super moves when you build your gauge up), and the new "Just Guard" parry system, the series has never played better. Soul Calibur V marks the dawn of a new era for the series, and I can't wait for the next iterations to continue the story onward to maybe even reach our time period someday. It's a fighting game, and the fighting is awesome.
85 out of 100