Review by tommy h 2450

"This is definitely THE fighting game to get on the Gamecube!"

I'll come out and say it right now: Soul Calibur ll is by far the best 3D fighting game ever made to date, and you will be a complete fool to not try it out. Four years have passed since the first Soul Calibur on the Sega Dreamcast, and now that the sequel is out, it will be rocking your world all over again. For me, I think it was definitely worth the wait.

There are many new features on this game. Soul Calibur 2 includes new fighters, more stages, amazing graphics, more moves for the existing fighters, beefed up single player modes and more. It is completely insane.

Soul Calibur 2 follows up on what happened in the original Soul Calibur. Four years have passed since the Soul Edge was defeated, and now the shards are scattered all over the world. And all of the fighters in this game are in search of Soul Edge/ Soul Calibur and some other crazy stories happening between each character in this game.

If you played the original Soul Calibur, then you'll notice that this game has even better visuals. Everything, the character models and stages' environments are incredible. The sound is also no exception. The music in this game is awesome. Voice acting is great, and all other sound effects are great.

Now for the overall gameplay. Soul Calibur 2's gameplay will have gamers not put down the controller for hours and hours and hours. It is that good. This game has expertly made fighting mechanics that fit in perfectly with this game, and there are even more moves for the existing fighters and new fighters. For those that are new to the series, Soul Calibur 2 is a weapon based fighting game where all characters have a certain weapon to fight. Some are just regular weapons that you normally see, others look crazy and unique. One crazy weapon is Nightmare's Soul Edge (a huge demonic sword). Another is Ivy's Ivy Blade (a sword that can extend and hit anyone from any range). There are even more crazy weapons, but I'm not going to tell you the rest. I'm not going to spoil it for you.

As you probably already know, Link (from The Legend of Zelda series) is the Gamecube exclusive character. He's a good character, but a bit awkward to use. But that's not a big deal. The X-Box has Spawn from the comics, and the PS2 has Heihachi from the Tekken series.

For those that own the original Soul Calibur on Dreamcast, remember Quest mode? Well, Soul Calibur 2's Weapon Master Mode is similar to Quest mode. You travel through the game world fighting battles for money, exp. points, new weapons for all the fighters, art galleries, and other stuff. I just wish Weapon Master Mode was a little longer. It seems to end very quickly. There are several single player modes to play. Like survival mode, time attack, team battle, VS, VS team battle, and more.

Graphics: 10/10

This game looks amazing. Character designs are excellent and the backgrounds and stages simply look phenomenal. Although there are some clipping issues (like in all fighting games), this game's amazing visuals make up for that.

Sound: 10/10

With great surround sound, outstanding music, excellent voice acting, and great sound effects, Soul Calibur 2 definitely scores another 10 in the Sound category.

Story: 10/10

This game has a different story for each character in this game. Although they are all in a quest to search for the ultimate sword, the stories are all laid out differently. The overall story is really good.

Control: 10/10 (for those who use their thumbs to play) 7/10 (for those who use their fingers to play)

If you are the type of gamer that uses their thumbs in arcade fighting games like Soul Calibur 2, then the Gamecube controller shouldn't be a problem to use. It isn't hard to use, and the controls are fairly responsive. You can also change the button lay out if the default button layout isn't working for you. You can use the C-Stick for special attacks, and the A,X, and Y buttons for standard attacks. If you are one of those gamers who use your fingers in arcade fighting games, then I recommend seeking a third-party controller with an arcade stick. You'll see why.

Gameplay: 10/10

Soul Calibur 2 has some of the best fighting mechanics I have ever seen. Each character has a wide variety of moves, both simple and challenging to pull off. There is a wide selection of fighters (twenty-three characters total). The AI in the computer controlled characters is very good, and they all have nice looking costumes and weapons to unlock. However the AI in this game is very tough. Even on the Normal difficulty, the game is very challenging in Arcade mode. The Weapon Master Mode is the best thing to play when you are playing by yourself. You'll find yourself in many battle scenarios. In one battle, you fight against your opponent while earthquakes rock the arena. In another battle, you fight on a windmill that can blow you off the stage. In another battle, you have to fight off a bomb that is on your body by hitting your opponent before the timer goes to zero! Some are really freaking challenging. For example, you must fight seven fighters while you health decreases over time. But you will love it more for the challenge, or just get really frustrated. While you are winning battles, you will be able to unlock weapons, art galleries, weapon demonstrations, costumes, and more. Your character will also level up by gaining experience points to progress through the game world. You will be able to master characters by going into practice mode, so if you are having trouble learning moves, go to practice mode. You will be able to learn all of the characters' moves and other abilities. You can learn combos, powerful charged-up attacks, throws, and signature moves.

Replayability: 9/10

There are about three hundred unlockables in this game (wow!). And you will have a blast unlocking all of them. This is a game that never gets old. The only reason I give replayability a 9 is because the Weapon Master Mode ends too quickly. You will most likely complete it in ten hours. You will wish it were longer. However, you get many secrets playing through it. And once you beat it, you'll probably want to play through it again. If that is making you bored, you can try survival mode, time attack, team battle, VS mode, or just plain old arcade mode. It's very fun either way.

PROS:

+Great fighting mechanics
+Gorgeous graphics
+Weapon Master Mode
+Many unlockables

CONS:

-Weapon Master Mode is a bit too short
-Needs some full-motion video sequences

Final thoughts

If you love fighting games, you have no other choice but to buy this game. Out of the three systems (GC, PS2, X-Box), I recommend getting the Gamecube version. It doesn't have the best graphics or best controls, but they are still good. Get the X-Box version if you want the best technical performance. Get the PS2 version if you want the best controller. Or get the Gamecube version for the best exclusive character. And in my opinion, Link is by far the best console exclusive character. This is a definite must-buy for gamers who are into fighting games. If you are not into fighting games, you should still play this game. Go out and rent this game. You might fall in love with it. Very few fighting games like this don't come along that often, so don't take it for granted! Play this game! It is definitely the best fighting game out on the Nintendo Gamecube.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/05/03, Updated 12/29/03


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