reviewed on X360
Soulcalibur IV is the latest instalment to the Soulcalibur series. Spanning 5 games previously over many different platforms, can Namco Bandai pull it up a notch and create the best in the series?
Namco Bandai is back with a new Soulcalibur game, the highly acclaimed weapons based fighting game. Soulcalibur started with a formula with each character having their own fighting style and weapon. In later games however they have introduced clones. Soulcalibur IV is no exception, introducing a lot of new unplayable clones, as well as a few new playable ones, with slight tweaks in handling compared to their original character base.
It’s not just clones making an appearance; there are a couple of new characters being brought into play, from the Star Wars series. Depending on which version of the game you bought, you will either get Darth Vader or Yoda. Whichever version you have though, you will soon be able to get the other character as downloadable content. Along with those, The Apprentice, also known as starkiller, from the upcoming Star Wars Unleashed game makes a cameo appearance.
The story of Soulcalibur has always been the search for Soul Edge. Whether the intentions are to use it for good or evil differentiates between the characters, but each seek to either wield or destroy the cursed blade. Cervantes was the original holder of Soul Edge, until defeated, and the sword was taken by Siegfried, transforming him into Nightmare. Each character has their own individual story to tell, which unfolds during the story mode, allowing you to get to know the character and their intentions (if you haven’t played previous games). The story is virtually the same in each game, with slight differences in the story cut scenes played during story mode.
Interface and gameplay
The interface is easy for first time players to pick up and get to grips with. The buttons are mapped out in a way so that anyone instinctively knows what each does after pressing them once. This is the sort of game that is easy to learn, but very hard to master, with advanced tricks to be learned, and combos taking a lot of dedication to pick up. The basic controls work very well, and are simple enough for people to experiment with to learn their own combos. The menus in Soulcalibur IV seem a little harder to navigate this time around than in previous games. For instance, there is no instant access to the shop. You must enter character creation, and from there, you are allowed to buy new characters and new weapons and armour.
Gameplay remains very much the same as it has in previous titles of the series, where you must drain your opponent’s life bar down to empty before they take yours down. The mechanics of attacking, blocking and guard breaking all remain the same at a first look, but underneath there are some slight changes.
Soulcalibur IV hasn’t deviated too much in form from Soulcalibur III in game modes. Story mode and arcade mode returned, the Chronicles of The Sword mode got replaced and The Tower of Souls added. This new addition has you ascending and descending floors, to reach the top and bottom of this tower.
The story mode has seen a small change in the length. Soulcalibur II had 8 stages and Soulcalibur III had anywhere up to around 15 different levels you could visit. In Soulcalibur IV you only have 5 to battle your way through. Versus makes an appearance for friends to play locally on the console against each other. The option to play online is also available now. Playing over Xbox live however, there have been a lot of problems with lag and delayed command reaction time – up to 4 seconds at times – while playing people in different countries.
No Pros and Cons at this time