by Mariana Morales
previewed on PS3
Saving a Franchise
If you're a fan of fighting games, you've definitely played a Soul Calibur game. With its stylish characters and unique way of fighting, the sixth installment of the series is expected to be that much better. Brought to you by Namco Bandai Games, it was announced early this year and will be released for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. After Soul Calibur IV's release, the team supposedly disbanded. They were going to make a new IP, but when Hisaharu Tago became producer, he reassembled everyone and the creative team came together again. He said that the community wasn't large after the fourth game but when they asked for feedback, they received more than what they had expected. So what can we expect from another Soul Calibur game?
The game takes place 17 years after the events in the previous game, Soul Calibur IV, the story of Siegried, and the death of Nightmare. But Nightmare is back again. They leave it as a mystery for now, but incidentally, Raphael is also back. After 17 years, Siegfried has made the Schwarzwind into mercenaries.
Patroklos, who is the son of Sophitia, a recurring character, is the main protagonist. His sister Pyrrha is another important character to remember. They haven't revealed much on the actual story, but Patroklos' story is that he and his sister didn't have an easy childhood. Their mother was killed and their father died from disease. Pyrrha was taken at a young age and has trouble remembering anything while Patroklos has raised himself and is now in search of his sister.
There are four new features that include a faster Quick Step, Brave Edge, Critical Edge, and Guard Burst/Just Guard. The game is much faster and with an improved Quick Step, you can get some good combos in from behind an enemy.
Brave Edge and Critical Edge are the big changes. There's a new feature in the game's interface called the Edge Meter which as you fight or receive damage, it increases. There are two levels of the meter that you can build and unleash some special moves. If you have ever played Street Fighter IV, it's similar to the Ultra Meter. Brave Edge uses half of the meter while Critical Edge is the replacement for the Critical Finish move from the previous game. Just like in Street Fighter and almost all fighting games, you just have to know when to use it. Whichever character you choose, the action to perform the move is the same. Guard Burst/Just Guard is a counter system that is performed when you press the block button at the right time.
Characters, Young and Old
There are many returning characters as well as some new ones. Namco announced that the character designer for Bayonetta, Mari Shimazaki, has designed three costumes for Soul Calibur V. If you haven't tried Bayonetta, the costumes are very flashy and out there to get your attention. Elegant, but almost like a second skin to these girls. Shimazaki created designs for Ivy, Tira, and Leixia.
The roster will include around 30 characters. Soul Calibur is known for having many guest characters in their games such as Darth Vader and Yoda from Star Wars, and Kratos from God of War. In this one, the guest character has already been revealed as Ezio Auditore from the Assassin's Creed series. His appearance is the same as in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. He will be able to use six of his weapons including pistols and his hidden blades. Daishi Odashima, director of Soul Calibur V, also said that he will add a character that mimics some of each characters move. It's sort of like Shang Tsung or Chameleon in Mortal Kombat who can copy other fighter's moves.
The Scenic Route
There are more than 20 stages in the game. Some will have transitions to other areas within the level. Players also get a choice to have the characters' theme in the background, or the stages' background music. Examples of levels include a torture chamber, an unknown forest, Conqueror's Coliseum, and Tranquil Wasteland. Although this could have been a game that never was, Namco has been putting some thought into how they can continue pleasing their fans.