Review by whitestripes

"Simply Brilliant"

Namco's really done it for themselves this time. The Soul Calibur series has always been up there at the pinnacle of 3D fighting games, along side the Virtua Fighter Series and Dead or Alive series. So what makes this latest Soul Calibur offering from Namco any better than the others? Lots of instances. This game, could probably be the best ever 3D fighting game, that is, until Soul Calibur 3 comes out.

Story/Overview
This game is set in the later half of the 16th century. The name, Soul Calibur is the name of a mystical sword, which answered the call of an evil sword, Soul Edge, and defeated it. The game has you controlling a character trying to get the lost mystical sword.

Graphics
Simply outstanding. The best graphics I have ever seen for a fighting game in a very very long time. For this sequel, the character models are smoother, the fighting is a bit faster and the characters move with elegance that they look like they are simply dancing with swords. Character models are improved somewhat and backgrounds have much greater depth, but the image quality isn't as clean as one would like, particularly on the floors, and there's a lack of subtle details in all areas. But the lighting and animation makes up for them just about perfect. There is also self-shadowing on the characters, which was brilliant.

Sounds
Crisp and fresh. The game's many sounds range from the taunts from your characters to the clashing of swords. Although not much to boast about here, the sounds are good enough. The original soundtrack is great, too.

Gameplay
The list of innovations in Soul Calibur 2 is a bit on the thin side, but it still offers a few new concepts. In particular, the arena design has been expanded, with more varied shapes and partial enclosure around some stages. Knocking an opponent directly against a wall might also make it possible to pull off a very nasty ring-out that way, in areas like the new clock tower stage. Guard Impact has been simplified, with just two directions performing parries and deflects. More significant, is the expansion of available Guard Break attacks. The longer you use Soul Charge, the more powerful your attacks will be. This game offers 5 different modes of play, and a possible 15 characters to use.

Replay Value
Another great feature of the game. Playing through some particular game modes (not going to spoil it here) will unlock hidden characters. Also, playing through can net you hidden game modes and weapons. In other words, the replay value can go from huge to infinite, as you play through again and again to unlock everything.

Scores.
Story 7/10
Graphics 10/10
Sound 8/10
Gameplay 9/10
Replay Value 9/10

In conclusion, 2 words: Simply Brilliant. Just buy it for yourself.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/03, Updated 07/07/03


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