Review by rachael cavan
"As the sequel to what is probably the greatest fighting game ever to be released, is Soul Calibur 2 worthy to carry on the legend?"
Graphics - the graphics are good, but there are still some flaws.
Gameplay - still the best.
Sound - Not as good as its prequels.
Replayability - infinite, if you have a few friends who are really into this game.
I've had the Japanese version of the game for over a week now. I've gone through all the modes, and I've unlocked everything.
Graphically, the game is great, but it still has some flaws. I didn't notice them before, because it's hard to notice when you're in the arcades and all you care about is beating your opponent. But now that I've had the game for some time, the flaws are a bit more obvious.
It's not that much of a step forward from Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast. The shadows aren't as convincing as before, and the shadows of the weapons are way off mark. I found this puzzling, since the shadows on the first game actually looked better. Also, the colors don't seem as vibrant as the Dreamcast version of Soul Calibur.
The character models look a bit small. Maybe it's because you can't zoom in as much as in the first game during replays and in the profiles. But I just played the Dreamcast Soul Calibur a few hours ago, and the character models in the game looked bigger than the ones here.
Some character faces look unfinished, especially Sophitia, who has a weird nose and an unfinished jaw. I can't believe Heihachi's face is more detailed than Sophitia's.
You will also encounter some slowdown in some parts of the game. It became very annoying in one of the missions in Weapon Master where I had to beat Voldo while the wind was pulling me towards him. The slowdown really affected the gameplay in that particular mission.
Gameplay is still as amazing as before. At first, you'll feel like the controls are a bit stiff, but you'll get used to it. The characters feel a bit heavier here than in the first game.
The addition of Heihachi may feel out of place, but as far as gameplay goes, he sure fits in pretty well. He's also one of the more powerful fighters.
Sound is good, but still not as good as Soul Blade's amazing sountrack. Some of the tunes in this game feel uninspired.
One problem with the import version is that aside from the general options, all the important information is written in Japanese. This can be a problem in Weapon Master mode, where you'll need to know what to do in your missions.
The language thing can be a bit of a problem when playing in Weapon Master mode if you're not familiar with it, but if you've gone through the similar mode found in the first game, the Weapon Master challenges will be very familiar.
Then there's the biggest fault in the game that really annoyed me... Lizardman, Rock and Hwang are in the game, but they are not selectable in the normal modes. You can only play as them in one or two missions in Weapon Master.
Now, I've got no problem with the number of characters. There are at least 20. But it's just annoying that these three characters pop up from time to time in the Extra modes and challenge you. Always seeing them and their cool new moves makes you want to play as them.
This really sucks for me since Hwang has been one of my favorites since Soul Blade. I was really disappointed when I discovered that he was in the game, but was not playable. It's like they're just there to taunt and tease you, like those kids who had Optimus Prime action figures, while you only had Bumble Bee.
Aside from those few annoyances, this is probably the best fighting game for the PS2.
I really hope they fix those issues before they release the US version.
This game won't blow you away like the first Soul Calibur did back in 1999, but it's still a great game. I guess I'm just disappointed a little bit because I was expecting it to be perfect.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/26/03, Updated 04/26/03
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