SoulCalibur V

7 Overall Score

Revitalizes fighting genre I Easy to pick up

Online play lackluster

Written by on February 15, 2012 in [, , , , , , ]

I’m not a diehard fighting game fan. I’ve dabbled in games like SoulCalibur, Tekken, Marvel v. Campcom, and Street Fighter, but have never been a Day One buyer. With the release of SoulCalibur V, I was interested to see if this iteration would light my gaming heart on fire for fighting games. With its smooth graphics but marred multi-player, SoulCalibur V took me on an adventure that changed the way I looked at fighting games.

Looking at SoulCalibur V from the outside it seems just like your run-of-the-mill fighting game. The last version of SoulCalibur I had played was SoulCalibur III. In comparison, the two games were leaps and bounds different. SoulCalibur V is a beautiful upgrade in both the graphics and way the characters interact throughout the scripted story. The work put into each character and their style really shows and it takes a master strategist to master each character and know which characters work best against the competition. To me SoulCalibur V doesn’t have that super cartoony feel that games like Marvel v. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter IV have which really makes it stand out.

As with any new fighting game, there are going to be a whole slew of new features, characters, and special moves included. SoulCalibur V is no exception as it introduces features like “Brave Edge”, “Critical Edge”, “Just Guard”, and a Soul Gauge for charging your more powerful attacks. Brave Edge allows you to chain more attacks and deal some serious damage. It’s a little hard to master but makes a big difference once you implement it. Critical Edge is similar except that it drains your weapon and limits the times you can use it in a battle. In addition to these features, ten new characters have been added to the roster including special guest Ezio Auditore from Assassin’s Creed. Ezio is a welcome addition and is fairly easy to control. Use him online in player matches and you can even earn yourself some character exclusive achievements!

Creating your own character isn’t a new feature to the fighting genre, but SoulCalibur V really takes the cake for customization. Half the fun of watching people fight online is seeing the characters they made. I’ve seen shadow warriors, toad ninjas, afro samurais, and even Zoidberg from “Futurama”. If you can dream it, you can create it in this game, even going as far as changing the pitch and voice characteristics of your creation. I think I’ve put more time into creating characters than actually using them.

SoulCalibur V offers several different battle modes. If you would rather battle alone you can always play through an arcade route, play through story mode, or just jump into a single versus battle. These experiences all give you a different taste of combat and are fun to play when you only have a few minutes or are looking for a quick game. Story mode was my favorite part of playing against the computer though. The story is similar to the other SoulCalibur games in that “Soul Edge” is bringing evil to the world and you must disspell the evil and bring harmony to the environment. In this story you start out as Patroklos Alexander as he rids the kingdom of the “malfested” brought about by Nightmare. As your journey unfolds you are given Soul Calibur and go out on a mission to find your long lost sister, Pyrrha. Along the way you will encounter dozens of other characters, gain new abilities and weapons, and master Soul Calibur.

My main complaints with the story mode were with the cutscenes and the repetitive battles. The visuals in SoulCalibur V are simply astounding so it would only make sense that the game would have intense cutscenes, but on the contrary the majority of the cutscenes feature brown and black painted panels. Am I reading a comic book or playing a state-of-the-art video game? There were some cutscenes that actually displayed video, but it put a damper on things having to sit and stare at a picture. The repetitive battles in the story also got on my nerves. In certain chapters you will face a character, defeat them, and then face the same character a minute later with minimal changes to the battle. I found this boring as the second time around I was able to defeat characters without any trouble whatsoever. I want more variety!

I was very hesitant to battle other players online for fear that I would get my butt handed to me. I was partially right. What’s nice is that you can tailor your search to different play styles, regions, and difficulties to make sure you are evenly matched. My first search was for a beginner room. I was able to find a room of three other players who appeared to be new like me. The way the rooms work is that players play “arcade style” or two at a time with the winner continuing to play. You can watch the other players battle while you wait which is nice because it lets you see what kind of strategies your enemy uses. When it came to my turn I chose my character, Ezio, and proceeded into the match. As soon as the match started the screen froze and displayed a “Communicating” message at the bottom of the screen. Five seconds later I was back in the lobby and had been kicked out of the match for losing my connection with the host. The other player got to keep his place and I was pushed to the back of the line. Shrugging this off I decided to try a different room. As it became my turn again, the same problem occurred. My connection at home is anything but faulty. I’ve never had any trouble with other games online so the fact that it kept kicking me out was starting to annoy me. I have had a few successful battles online, but waiting several minutes in a lobby only to get rejected when the match begins is depressing.

SoulCalibur V revived my interest in fighting games. This game is great for married couples out there who want to play a game together. I have to be honest when I say that even my wife has kicked my butt at fighting games, so don’t count your spouse out! The online play wasn’t impressive, but the story, local, and computer battles are sure to keep me around. If you’re a big fighting game fan or are looking to get into the genre I highly suggest at least renting this title. SoulCalibur V is out now on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and is rated “T for teen”.

A copy of SoulCalibur V was provided to The Married Gamers for review and evaluation.


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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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