Review by Xyphas
"SoulCalibur has lost its own "Soul""
I review Fighting games on different criteria than other games, and its pretty simple:
Many people play fighting games for different reasons, and with any fighting game, the most important aspects is how the fighter plays. Soul Calibur V excels in this area, but is it enough to keep players engaged with the surprisingly shallow single player content?
Soulcalibur V plays like a dream for fans of the series. For one, it feels a lot more like Soul Calibur 2, in terms of balance, speed and feel. The games probably as fluid as the series has ever been. The controls are also notably simplified from Soulcalibur IV, making it really easy to pull off cool moves. Yes, even noobs can own in this game and it defiantly doesnt take as much practice as say Street Fighter 4, to have success online.
Speaking of Street Fighter IV, SCV borrows a similar system called Critical Edge. This gets rid of the awkward special system of the previous games, and allows players to preform powerful and flashy moves to lay waste on opponents. The good thing about this system, is that, all these moves use the same button combinations. So its a good idea to know how to do this, since you can instantly use Critical Edges with ay character. Its not perfect however and this may lead to my biggest gripe with Soul Calibur V's battle engine; the guages.
Guard Impact now consumes one of your special guages! While this does avoid the endless guard impact countering in previous games, I feel one bar is too costly and makes resort to different defensive options. The focus on guages also gives it a less technical feel than say SC4. Ivy fans in SC4 for instance, will be appalled to see their characters simplified as this character in particular went from several different stances, to none.
Its a small complaint, because it is a blast to play. Is it the best soul calibur fighting engine? I would say yes if you like the addition of special moves. If you dont, it may be one of the worst Soul Calibur games to you. For me, its a brilliant experiment and defiantly on par with Soul Calibur 2. The balance is also good, I dont remember feeling overpowered online. I did hear some complaints about Natsu, but I held my own against one that did the infamous bomb spam and won the first time I encountered it. Moral of the story, practice and the fighting system will show its potential. Its fun to watch, even funner playing and even better beating your buddies( or strangers online) to a pulp.
There still the typical cheesy Soulcalibur one liners, but this is to be expected. For the most part, they are not cringeworthy and though they may make you chuckle at times, the actually delivery of these lines are good. Most of the voices match their characters, and the story modes cutscenes are well voiced and written. Yes, Voldo still makes disturbing noises.
As far as the soundtrack goes...its as good as Soulcalibur has ever sounded. Arguably the best actually, and even the menu music is just epic and makes you want to battle.
Soul Calibur V however, has one glaring flaw, and you will notice it as soon as you boot up the menu screen. The modes are completely generic this time around. For a series that was famous for its creative and indepth fighting modes, SCV will upset many many fans. For one, the story mode is pathetic. It follows the newcomer Patroklos and mainly two other characters through a short 2 hour story mode. Thats right, Arcade mode no longer features openings or endings for characters. This is more noticeable because of the large new cast; many of the old fighters like Taki are gone and replaced with new characters that mimic their own fighting style. The problem is we never learn ANYTHING about them and so the cast comes off as overly dry and boring.
This is a baffling move to me, because story mode could have just been stripped away and fans would have came away happy with the usual endings for characters. Story mode doesnt off that, sure it has pretty cutscenes, but there arent many. A majority of the cutscenes in story mode are pictures.
The lack of attention to detail is what will make Soul Calibur 5 feel generic in comparison to its other entries. You cannot strip away features that have grown on fans over the years and not expect them to feel disappointed. Character creation reuses tons of parts from the previous game and there is no mode dedicated to them, making them feel...almost worthless and uninteresting. Quick battle does feature fights against random CAS characters, but there are no interesting battles like in Chronicles of the sword mode, or Weapon Master. No story whatsover, no real insensitive rather than to level up and unlock new parts( yes, parts you already won in the previous titles.). We want Team Battle back and we want a single player mode that doesnt suck. I never though Soul Calibur would be the fighting game I would have to make that statement, and its truly sad when you think about how much of a step back this is for the series.
I commend Project Soul for making Online better, but its not good enough to justify the lack of single player content. Soul Caliburs strength has always been its fighting system AND its interesting single player content. Without that latter half, the game feels well--half done. It doesnt feel like a complete game, a beta for what could be the best Soul Calibur Game ever made. But its just...not there yet. It may play like the best Soul Calibur, but it only takes a couple of hours to realize how much soul this game has lost. If you love SCV, you should defiantly pick this one up--especially hardcore or tourney players. But as a casual fan of the series, I could care less about winning tournaments against people I will never speak to personally in my life times, and love playing offline. Without the proper content to keep me intrigued offline, SCV becomes a barebones fighting experience, that I cant really play for more than 30 minutes a day.
Until Project Soul gets the series back on track, I would either rent or wait for a price drop.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/14/12
Game Release: SoulCalibur V (US, 01/31/12)
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