Review by LegendaryFrog
"Smell that? My soul is burning."
Soul Calibur II has been one of the highly anticipated games on any of the 3 consoles this year. Well, it’s here to play at home and it’s everything it promised to be, which is a follow up to what many consider to be the best fighting game ever.
Gameplay and Design (9/10)
Many criticized the Gamecube controller, and not without reason, for not being suited for fighters. Well, if your thinking the traditional Street Fighter type game then perhaps your right. The game has basically 3 buttons for attack, centered around a A button. What doesn’t work for street fighter works perfectly for Soul Calibur. It’s easy to press a combination of buttons to bull off different moves. However if your one of those people who never and will never like the Gamecube controller, I doubt this game will change your mind. I can’t tell you how the PS2 and Xbox versions play as compared to this, but it works just dandy.
SC2 requires some quick reactions, mostly for the blocks. However impressive the other players moves are, many of them can be blocked if you have quick reaction times. This is done by pressing the shoulder buttons or B. It is defiantly one of the trickier things to master, but when you do you’ll show button bashers why they can never be as good as you. Speaking if button bashing, doing so for the computer might get you far, but if your playing against a good player you better just give up. Like I said above, blocking as well as the 8 way run can make sure you won’t get murdered if your smart enough.
As for balance, it seems pretty good. Different characters have different strength and weaknesses. After some time with the game players will find a character they enjoy. (I have a weak spot for Asteroth.) Others, you might just never truly understand. (Voldo)
All praise, right? Well, not quite… which brings us to SC2 biggest failing: The Gameplay. What’s wrong with it? Nothing at all. Then what’s the problem? It remains virtually unchanged from the original Soul Calibur. Some might say “Why change a good thing?” and I agree. However, “why make a sequel where nothing is different?” Sure there are some new characters and a new feature that allows you to crash into walls, but ultimately this is SC1 with better graphics. There is a added “weapon Master Mode” where you can purchase new weapons, costumes, and extra modes… but in the end its just normal battles with special circumstances.
Each console gets a unique characters, as most of you know. Heihachi for Ps2, Spawn for X box, and none other than Link for Gamecube. Regardless of who plays better, none can deny Link’s presence. I mean, Heihachi’s been in fighting games and only Tekken fans will go giddy over him, Spawn is cool but will only be appreciated by fans of the comics mostly... but Link.... he’s a video game icon. And dispite how great Wind Waker was, people have been waiting for a realistic Link. He may be a little out of place and a little unfair in areas but he’s a very welcome addition.
Another console only character is Necrid, created by Todd McFarlane. (which is why we have Spawn in the Xbox version) It won’t take long for the player to realize he simply reuses moves form other players, and is unpredictable to the other because his weapons appear right when he strikes. In the end using the character is fun, but its more worth to master a true character in the game, and use Necrid for the cool light saber sounds. The US also gets 3 new characters, but unlocking them will be a task. Lizardman will be recognizable, but Assassin and Beserker are “new.” I say “new” because they are just Hwang and Rock in different outfits. Why didn’t Namco just make a special costume for them?
So in the end what do we have? We have a big cast of characters with one of the best fighting engine available.
Breathtaking. The character models are highly detailed and the animation is smooth and fun to watch. Although there are some over the top moves and superhuman attacks, it all looks very believable. In fact, it’s nearly perfect, but there are a few minor things that just stick out. For example, the game has some nice physics that make hair and clothing act realistically. However sometimes its doesn’t so smoothly and a characters skirt or hair will stick unnaturally in the air when on the ground. The splash effects of the water also looks dated, and there are a couple minor clipping issues with some animation that sticks out during victory and failure stances. Man, I’m really being nit picky... but when the game looks so good all the little things tend to stick out more.
Characters are design very well and the outfits are nice to look at for the most part. (a couple of the 3rd outfits don’t seem to be up to par) Some character’s designs resort to appealing to the teenage boy (Taki and Ivy’s 1st outfits) but overall Namco didn’t resort to placing females in outlandish costumes. (Even Senug Mina who wears nothing more than some pieces of cloth, doesn’t seem degrading at all)
I was worried that the voices would be horrible in this game, but overall it’s very good. Some characters like Kilik and Xianghua I want to stab with point knifes. Everyone else though, is fine. The music is also pretty good, although they don’t seem to be humble like a few tracks in SC1 where. After some time listening to it you’ll see how fantastic it all is.
The story revolves around Soul Edge being broken into several pieces and how the character gets caught up in it all. It’s interesting for what it is, but in the end your just fighting each other. Weapon Master mode has a story if you want to read page after page of text. To sum it up you want to find Soul Edge. Woohoo... Most of the endings are anti climatic, but you can see those for yourself.
Invite some friends over and get playing. It’s gonna be a long night. Weapon Master mode will keep the single player busy if you want to get all the unlockables and weapons.
When you get right down to it, its Soul Calibur 1 plus.
A must have for fighting fans... on any console. Even if you’re not into fighters your bond to get some enjoyment out of it. The only real problem is it offers nothing new, its a enhanced version of the original game with some added play modes and graphics. Dispite that, Soul Calibur 2 is a definite perchance.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/15/03
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