Review by Kyshioku
"More extras than a PlayStation 2!!"
Soul Calibur II. One day in Science, my friend brought in a magazine that showed it off. Me, being the Nintendo freak I am, was ecstatic to see Link in yet another fighting game, this time looking so realistic. Now, I didn't buy it just for Link... Well, yea, at first I wanted to because of just Link, but after I rented it, well, the game was pure magic.
GRAPHICS - 10/10
First, Super Smash Bros. Melee. Then Metroid Prime. After that, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Now Soul Calibur II gets its chance to prove that the GameCube can has awesome graphics. Especially in the introduction are the graphics gorgeous. Overall, it's amazing. Rays of sunlight pour into the outside arenas, looking beautiful, might I add. In the dungeons where it is very cold, you can even see the characters' breath. The graphics in the cut scenes are nicely done as well, although they aren't as stunning as the introduction's. There are a few situations, however, where, for example, Kilik's rod goes through his shirt and the clothing can, on occasion, go through a wall, but those are hardly noticeable, what with the insane button combinations you'll be executing throughout a tough battle.
CONTROL - 8/10
The controls are nice, you can use either the Control Stick or Directional Pad to move around and execute moves. Of course, when trying to use a technique, there are so many things you need to remember. If you look at the Command List, there will be shaded and not shaded buttons that say A, K, B, or arrows, and then there are all those little, colorful icons strewn across every move. On the help part of the command list is a very detailed and long list explaining the icons, which, for me, is a little too much. The moves, however, are nicely detailed.
STORY - 10/10
The story is great.
In the Arcade version of Soul Calibur II, the character you choose is on a quest for the Soul Edge (and/or Soul Calibur... it's a bit complicated), the rumored evil sword with incredulous strength. Also, at the end of your long, hard-fought battles, you will encounter your ''destined'' fight, which pits you and your character against another character (it's different on almost every character, there are storylines, you know), and the winner of that fight ends up finding Soul Edge/Soul Calibur. Each character has his, her, or its own different storyline, whether it, at the end, portrays the character mastering Soul Edge and dominating the world and turning it into an evil, demonic realm, destroying Soul Edge, earning the Soul Calibur, or answering their many questions, and more.
In the Weapon Master story, it starts off as you are looking for the Soul Edge. Along the way, you run into many different allies and enemies, including one ally by the name of Leon. However, early in your travels you hear of someone named Veral, the ''evil one''. As you finally track him down, traveling through the sky, mountains, temples, dark, dank dungeons, and more, he reveals his true self, and the ''Final Battle'' commences...
EXTRAS - 10/10
Like the title says, this game has more extras than a PlayStation 2, and I've been telling my friends that for quite a while now.
Soul Calibur II is filled to the max with extra little features that usually make unlocking them worthwhile. In the Weapon Master mode, you can buy weapons and (I'll get to this later) Exhibition Theaters for the Soul Calibur II characters. Each character, I believe, has 10 weapons, 6 or 7 normal weapons, a Soul Calibur and/or Soul Edge, an Ultimate Weapon, and a Joke Weapon, which is just a weapon for laughs. The Exhibition Theaters are cool, too. You just watch the character run and jump around, executing cool moves, but they're detailed very well and are fun to watch for the most part. There are three different art galleries, and there's one (I'm not going to say which) that has extremely high-detailed pictures of the Soul Calibur II crew, and they're excellent. There's a battle theater, where you can just randomly pick two Soul Calibur II characters and watch them smack the !@&$% out of themselves. Trust me, you don't want to see Nightmare and one of his Soul Edges go up against Talim's joke weapon... *shivers* Not pretty. Anyway, there's also a profile theater, where you can select a character on their stage, read their entire profile, listen to every phrase and grunt they speak in the entire game, look at them with the camera, oh, and you can even see their lips move when they speak, which is good, as when you select something for them to say, you only see their face... There's an Extra area, which is just everything in the normal area, except you can use weapons that you received or bought in Weapon Master Mode instead of the main weapon the characters normally use. Also, in the American version, (unknown to me about the other versions beside the Japanese version) there are three hidden characters added into the game, but they don't talk, they don't have an exhibition theater or a profile, and they don't have any extra weapons. This game has even more, but I'm sure you're already excited enough, no? Oh, and the X-Box version of Soul Calibur II has Spawn, PS2 has Heihachi, and GameCube has Link! I just had to stress that.
MUSIC - 7/10
The music in this game is very well done, in fact, I think it's more orchestrated than anything I've heard of before, especially in the Art Galleries and Weapon Gallery viewing. Anyway, yes, it is nice, but it's not something I would hum to, besides the Art Galleries and Weapon Gallery music.
REPLAYABILITY - 9/10
Replaying this game is very fun. It's fun to see how many levels in Weapon Master Mode you can go without losing one level, seeing how much gold you can get up to before buying one item or receiving one item, and you'll be playing it to get to Level 99. Arcade mode is fun, but the Extra modes aren't that exciting unless you're ecstatic about the other weapons you can use. VS. Mode is very fun, however. Trust me, this game has so much replayability, it's the Arcade Mode that gets a little tiresome after a while.
STAGES - 10/10
Stages? Yea, I know, kind of odd, but there are some cool stages in this game. In each stage, there's an excellent looking background, cool music, and a good battleground. In some Weapon Master Mode arenas, there are fire-surrounded arenas, quicksand arenas, and icy arenas! In the fire-surrounded arenas, if you step on the fire ring for longer than a few seconds, you're literally roasted! On the quicksand levels, I'm not too sure if you die, but if you sink too low, you'll have a very hard time getting back out. And in the icy arenas, it's very slippery, so if someone knocks you away, you're pretty much done for, as you'll probably get a Ring-Out.
BATTLE SYSTEM - 10/10
Soul Calibur II's battle system is excellent. Instead of just a left-right-up-down battle system, it's totally 3D. You can move your character wherever you want, you can crouch, guard, combo the opponent, almost anything! Another neat thing is Guard Impact, where if you execute the move at the right time, the opponent's attack will be blocked and the foe will be open to attack! Also, each character's weapon does something. For example, a big, long, powerful weapon takes health away from the user when used. A powerful weapon usually has a tough time blocking. A joke weapon normally isn't that good at attacking or defending. But the ultimate weapon usually is great at both defending and attacking and sometimes restores health. The last neat thing is the Soul Charge, where, when used, the character and the weapon glow a color (usually green), and get a little more power. From what I've heard, you can use the Soul Charge more than once without attacking, but I've tried and haven't had much success yet.
VOICES - 7/10
The voices are good, but could definitely use some fixing. The only characters I have problems with on voices are Xianghua, Kilik, and Cassandra. Xianghua's can just get annoying, as it seems too high-pitched and loud. With Kilik, his questions sound more like exclamations, for example, when he says, ''Over already?'' it sounds like, ''Over already./!'' And about Cassandra, her's just sounds too variable. When she says ''Sophitia...'' she sounds so calm and soft and quiet, but when she says ''Here I come!'', well, I'm sorry, but she doesn't even sound like a girl anymore, especially with her eyes looking that way. But, besides those three, I don't have a problem with the other voices, and they're all well done, we just need to work on that...
OVERALL - 10/10
Kyshioku: Buy or Rent? If you like swords and shields and good storylines in fighting games, by all means, BUY IT! If you aren't totally into this thing, then rent it, but please, BUY IT TODAY!!!!!!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/22/03
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