by Howie Howard
previewed on PS3
When I was handed the assignment to write a preview for the new Soulcalibur game, I couldn’t believe my good fortune as I always seem to get games that offer fast action sequences with never ending excitement. The developer is none other than arcade game great Namco and we can expect this one to hit store shelves for the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360 during July of 2008.
Soulcalibur IV is next in a line of fine slasher fight games. I say slasher because unlike other fighting games, Soulcalibur’s fighters use mainly bladed and point tipped weapons that slash. Other games of this ilk feature ballistic or beam weapons or simply the tried and true feet and fists as a weapon. Soulcalibur IV adds some new weapons to the arsenal and keeps all of the same fighting implements from the previous games. You may remember the evil Soul Edge blade and everybody’s favorite over-sized magical sword the Holy Soul Calibur. Both are back and they are as big and as sharp as ever.
Old and new
Characters in previous Soulcalibur games were always detailed, colorful, full of different moves and just plain old fun. That doesn’t change in Soulcalibur IV, except for the addition of some brand new characters with names like Scheherazade, Angol Fear, Hildegard von Krone, Yoda and Darth Vader. Yes fighter game- and Star Wars fans, you heard me right. Yoda and Darth Vader are going to make an appearance in this new game. They are what Namco calls guests and they wield their trusty light sabers and use The Force just like they should.
Additionally, expect to see some new character creations from your favorite Manga artists and other famed illustrators. Old favorites such as Ivy, Cassandra, Taki, Mitsurugi, Astaroth, Seong Mi-na and newcomer Hilde are all available for your fighting pleasure. If you count the aforementioned fighters mentioned above and a few I didn’t mention, then we can look forward to more than 30 different fighters in the game. Every fighter has its own abilities, moves and looks, so we won’t ever become bored looking at the same old drab generic character like some other games might offer.
Speaking of moves, each fighter has been programmed with different abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Take Taki for example; she is extremely quick and agile, just like in the previous games. She is all about speed and she has relatively light hits that won’t cause much damage. Don’t take her lightly though, because she will run circles around you and dazzle you to death with her fast-as-lightning moves.
Seong Mi-na, although very beautiful in her shiny armor, is one dangerously mean and extremely strong lady. If you manage to master her advanced techniques, you can’t be anything but amazed with the devastatingly massive amount of damage she can dish out. My personal favorite is newcomer Hildegard von Krone, aka Hilde. She is in the class of fighter that can wield two weapons at once. Hilde uses a short sword and what I can only describe as a massive spear. Although being rather slow, compared to some of the other fighters, Hilde is a pleasure to see even when she’s just standing there doing nothing! Just like the rest of her friends.
I haven’t said too much yet about the two famous guests, Yoda and Darth Vader. They make their appearance on their very own Star Wars stage area in the game. They can be seen dueling it out with light sabers blazing and with The Force working over time. There is a special Star Wars set that provides the backdrop of the inside of a Star Destroyer’s space dock where the graphic detail of everything is fantastic.
Did I mention that Darth Vader appears in the Play Station 3 version of the game and Yoda is in the Xbox 360 game? Unfortunately they aren’t both present at the same time in the two different versions as I really would like to see Yoda take on Vader. However, since Namco is going to provide online content there is a possibility that they could appear together in the future, although there is no official word of that.