Review by Eiji

"The sequel to one of the best weapon based fighting game ever!"

Introduction

Its finally here!

The sequel to one of the best weapon based fighting game ever has been released.

Soul Calibur II is the sequel to Soul Calibur I on Dreamcast. Soul Calibur was and still is an incredible game but it just got better!

Gameplay - 10/10

You want fast paced gameplay? You got it!

Soul Calibur II is a very fast paced game, faster than even Soul Calibur I. The control system is the same as SC I, that is you have a Horizontal Slash, Vertical Slash, Kick and Guard button.

The game seems to be quite balanced with the exception of Heihachi who seems to be slightly overpowered especially since he has his 10-Hit Combo's from Tekken which push you near the edge of an arena.

Combo's are pulled off with ease unlike in some games like Virtua Fighter where they are hard to do so even beginners can enjoy this great game. This doesn't mean that the game isn't deep though, far from it. I dare you to try to beat a learned player by just bashing the buttons.

Combo's are pulled off by pressing different variations of the Horizontal Slash, Vertical Slash and Guard. The game even features a very nice Practice mode which shows you how each move is done and a demonstration of the move pulled off by the CPU. The Playstation 2 dual shock controller is perfect for this game.

Almost all characters in this game have a unique fighting style ranging from your average samurai, Mitsurugi with a sword to the plain insane Astaroth with a giant axe! The cast of fighters are varied enough to keep you occupied for a long long time.

Graphics - 10/10

WOW!

That was the word I uttered when my eyes first set on the beauty of Soul Calibur II.

The graphics are far better than the technical marvel of Soul Calibur on Dreamcast but of course that is to be expected since SC2 is made nearly 4 years later.

The game is full of intricate detail ranging from the animated eye on Nightmare's Soul Edge to the happiness and aggression on the characters face which can easily be seen due to the faces being animated.

The game also supports Progressive Scan (525p) which is enabled by holding Triangle+X after the Playstation 2 logo. The game looks alot cleaner and sharper in this mode and I suggest that if you have a HDTV you enable Progressive Scan in the game.

The game is very colorful and is full of excellent lighting effects such as the trails of weapons, the blazing sun shining upon the characters and internal arenas which are lit by flaming torches. Definitely some of the best lighting effects I have ever seen in a game.

Another great thing to see is the way the clothes of the characters move and the way their hair moves. For example if you pull off a strong move which would cause wind to generate, the characters clothes or hair standing near the move will move! Amazing or what!

Sound - 10/10

The music in this game is great!

Soul Calibur II supports Dolby Pro-Logic II which really gives the music in the game clarity.

The music ranges from mellow music to dramatic music which fits the on-screen action and accompanying stage perfectly.

Sound effects are also nice and sound very realistic and clean.

Kudos to Namco for creating yet another great musical score.

Story - 8/10

The story in a fighting game is not really important unless you intend to play the game on your own. Since this is a Japanese Import I am reviewing, the language is in Japanese and I cannot read Japanese. I have give the game 8/10 for the Story based on some translations I have read of the story.

You can read the Soul Calibur II Prologue in English here:

http://www.soulcalibur.com/history/index.php

Lastability - 10/10

Namco are masters when it comes to adding lastability.

If playing with 15+ characters each with over 100 moves each wasn't enough then get ready to smile because Namco have added a mode called Weapon Master Mode.

In Weapon Master Mode you travel from place to place like in Soul Calibur I earning experience points to gain levels and gold. Gold is used to buy weapons and there are over 200 of them. Thats right, 200!

You can also buy other things in this mode. The great thing about Weapon Master Mode is that certain stages have certain conditions which you have to fulfil. For example in one stage you would be poisoned hence loosing energy while battling your foe. In another instance the wind would be blowing strongly so you need to be conscious of your placement in the arena as to not fall out of it while battling your foe.

There are MANY MANY things to unlock in this game which will keep you entertained for hours on end.

Conclusion

Soul Calibur II is definitely worth importing. Its an incredible experience even if you intend to play it on your own but the game really shines when you play with someone else because you don't get the same satisfaction by beating a CPU opponent as you do beating a human opponent ;)


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


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