by Ryan Sandrey
reviewed on X360
It has been four years since gamers last made battle in the universe of the two swords, Soul Edge and the sword forged to counter it, Soul Calibur. Now, with the children of Sophitia, Patroklos and Pyrrha picking sides and taking up the battle once more, it is time to pick up your fightsticks and gamepads and fulfil destiny in SoulCalibur V. However, is this heir to the series worthy of the name of its predecessors, or is it simply a disappointment?
SoulCalibur V continues the series’ main premise of being a weapons-based fighter, but has a few changes to make this time around. The biggest of these is the introduction of the ‘Critical Edge’ system. Executed by a button combination (the same for all characters), the Critical Edge move unleashes a damaging and devastating string of attacks against your opponent. SoulCalibur V is easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master. It’s especially challenging if you are using a normal Xbox 360 controller, but there are still more than enough ways for you to execute combos effectively and efficiently, even without a fightstick.
Girls on Film
Set 17 years after the end of SoulCalibur IV, the story mode follows Patroklos’ quest to eliminate all ‘malfested’ from the world and continue his mother’s legacy as a Holy Warrior by proving his swords skills and mission are worthy of her. His sister, however, has not taken the same path. After their mother Sophitia was killed by a ‘malfested’ and their father, Rothion, died of illness, they were separated. Whilst Patroklos raised himself, Pyrrha was kidnapped by Tira and left to wander alone, forever bringing death and bad luck to anyone who encountered her. After being prepared as a vessel for the Soul Edge, you know things are going to turn ugly.
To continue through the story mode, you, alternating between Patroklos and Pyrrha for the most part, have to defeat a certain number of enemies (either generic characters such as ‘rebels’ or named characters like Z.W.E.I.) in order to progress through episodes. Every victory you gain provides you with a cut-scene and story development. Whilst the stop-start system SoulCalibur V employs can be tough to get fully involved in, and can often be seen as lacking any real cohesiveness, there is a whole host of content to be unlocked by simply powering through the 4 hours it takes to complete.
The Heart and Soul
There are other single-player modes to enjoy in SoulCalibur V as well. Alongside the staple ‘Training’ mode, where you learn to get a feel for a character and practice their various combos, there is also an Arcade mode, where you fight through 6 consecutive stages against various opponents. If that’s not enough for your delectation, there is also a Quick Battle mode, where you fight a series of quick fights against created opponents in order to gain player points. Failing that quenching your appetites, there is also a Legendary Souls mode, where you battle opponents of a much higher difficulty, unlocked after completion of the Story Mode. If you prefer your fighting games to be a solo experience, there is plenty for you to do. But the true longevity of the title lies in its more social aspects: the multiplayer.
As is usual with fighting games, SoulCalibur V thrives on providing an enjoyable and extensive range of multiplayer modes, both online and offline. If your idea of a good time is fighting against your friends in the same room as you, then the VS Battle mode is more than adequate for your needs, allowing you to square off against your friend or the computer in 1vs1 battles.
A brilliant game, with lots of playability, a well balanced roster, and stunning visuals.
Story Mode is a bit dull, with the generic voice acting and predictable story providing no excitement. Can at first be daunting.