Review by chidori16

"A great game, Soul Calibur is."

Soul Calibur IV was released in the US on July 29th, 2008. This exciting installment to the Soul Calibur series has been anticipated by fans, and gamers, for ages. Now that it is out, I find it my duty to write a review that can help interested buyers to purchase Soul Calibur IV and, to voice my opinion about the game.

Game Modes

Soul Calibur IV has 5 modes on the selection screen. These are Single Player, Versus Mode, XBOX Live, Character Creation, Museum, and Options.

Single Player mode consists of Story, Tower of Lost Souls, Arcade, and Training. Story mode allows you to reveal each character's reason behind obtaining Soul Edge, whether it is to keep it or destroy it. I find Story Mode disappointing. Only a couple of characters have interesting endings. Also, it is very short. One can beat Story mode in about 10-15 minutes. Tower of Lost Souls has you ascending/descending the tower. The Tower has 60 floors in total and gets very, very difficult as you progress. Each floor has hidden treasure that can be won if you win the match under certain conditions. Personally, the Tower of Souls (ToS) is fun, but will drive you mad. Arcade mode is the standard 'get through stages against the computer' mode. You can adjust difficulty of the computer under Options. Training is where everyone should go off the bat. Each character has their unique style of fighting and move set. It is good practice for everyone from new players, to expert players just tuning up their move rotations.

Versus Mode consists of Standard Versus and Special Versus. Standard Versus does not take your character's stats from Weapons and Clothing into account. Special Versus does the opposite. Your Weapon, Clothing, and Skills on your character will be in effect. Personally, I never do this because it takes the fun out of Versus Mode.

XBOX Live, the meat of the game. There is nothing like pitting your skills against real people. Like Versus Mode, XBOX Live has the Standard and Special Modes. Each mode has a Ranked and Player Match. Ranked matches keep your records and put you on the corresponding Leaderboards (Where you can check players' ranks and Wins/Losses) while Players Matches are just friendly skirmishes (does not keep your record).

XBOX Live is very fun, fast paced, and at times, Challenging. If you are concerned about lag, worry no more. You can check your opponent's connection in the lobby, indicated by bars. 1 bar= Do not play because it will lag like crazy, 5 bars= PLAY!. Most connections are 4 and 5, which can be good and sometimes bad. Every fighters' worst nightmare is button lag, and if you get into a match with it, be prepared to scream. 5 bars NEVER have any lag. 4 bars occasionally have a little button lag. I never play with anyone with less than 4 bars.

The game hasn't been out too long, but XBOX Live is littered with players who either button mash and/or spam moves. Also, you will see the same characters over and over again because they are noob friendly (Kilik, Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Cervantes). This can get very annoying. However, the community itself is great! I haven't come across anyone who excessively swears, yells, complains, or what have you. So if you are a parent, or buying this game for a relative/child, do not be worried about language online (We are too concentrated on winning than talking).

Character Creation is where you can go to Create your own fighter, or edit an existing character's appearance/weapon. Creating your own Character is very fun, and the customization is great. You can unlock clothing and weapons by playing ToS, earning Achievement Points, or doing Story Mode. The clothing, in my opinion, look great. Don't be mislead though, you cannot create a new fighting style. You actually pick an existing character's Soul to be used for your character. For example, you can have your created character fight like Kilik, a staff wielder. The only characters you cannot copy are the Jedi characters. Creating Characters, and Editing Characters, is very fun. It's fun to show them off on XBOX Live (I encountered The Hulk online).

The Museum is where you can go to view extra options, watch the endings from Story Mode of the characters, and read extra bio about the characters. The Options Mode is where you can go to adjust settings of the Game; difficulty, visuals, sound, etc.

Gameplay

The bulk of Soul Calibur IV. SCIV has you compete against the computer, your friends, or people online. There are four basic buttons; Horizontal Attack (X), Vertical Attack (Y), Kick (B), and Guard (A). Unlike other fighting games (Street Fighter, Tekken, etc), you have to hold down Guard to Guard (Go figure). You can also combine buttons to initiate different attacks. For example, to do throws you must press X and A or Y and A at the same time. There are 3 areas you can hit on your opponent; High, Mid, and Low. You have to Guard those spots accordingly. Guarding while Standing will Guard High and Mid attacks while Crouching will Guard Low and in some cases, Mid attacks. However, you shouldn't count on Guaring to deter attacks. SCIV introduces Critical Finishers, similar to Fatalities of the Mortal Kombat series. Critical Finishers (CF) can be performed once you break your opponent's armor and Soul Guage. The Soul Guage is located near the Health Bar. The Soul Guage has 3 colors; Blue, Yellow, and Red. If you keep hitting your opponent while he/she is Guarding, the their Soul Guage will slowly turn Red while their armor is being destroyed. Once the Soul Guage is in red, you can deliver a Strong Attack, or Counter, to make your opponent flash red for an instant. During this short period of time, you have to press all 4 attack buttons to perform a CF. This will result in instant victory. To avoid Guarding as your only defense, you can counter. By pressing Forward and Guard at the same time, you can Counter High and Mid attacks; pressing Down-Diagonal-Right and Guard will result in Low and Mid Counters. Don't be fooled, Counters are very hard to execute.

Gameplay online, as I mentioned earlier, is for the most part very fun. I mean, who doesn't like competing against other players to prove their skills? You will encounter the same characters however. This can be very annoying and repetitve, but hopefully it will die down in a few weeks.

Graphics

The Graphics are very good.. It is definitely an upgrade from Soul Calibur III. The Graphics aren't super realistic, but the models do look very appealing and real. The environment is very well done to. In some levels you are moving on a raft in the water, fighting in the middle of the air on a platform while construction is taking place, and fighting near a mountain where you can see Knights ride down the mountain. Also, in some levels you can destroy the surroundings; the walls, fences, and even...LIZARD MEN! Overall, the graphics are ver, very great and appealing.

Sound

The sound, for the most part, is amazing. I really like the music; it feels very epic. The sound of the characters are very clear too. You can change the voice from English to Japanese. I put it on Japanese because, they sound better in my opinion. The clashing of weapons/ weapons hitting the environment are all crystal clear and have a unique sound. there is one problem. It might just be my 360, but sometimes it freaks out and doesn't play any music unless I back out to the Title Screen. This is very annoying. I always liked having music playing in the background. Overall, the sounds are great.

Controls

The controls are decent. You can either use the Analog Stick or D-Pad. Both have their advantages, both have their disadvantages. I find on the Control Stick, it is easier to maneuver around the field of battle and easier to execute forward and back attacks. However, I find it hard to do Diagonal attacks. The D-Pad is a little stiff, and it is a little hard to maneuver around. However, it is easier to do moves in general. Sometimes, since the D-Pad is so stiff, my character will jump instead of move forward; ANNOYING!

The controls are decent, not great, not bad.

Replayability

A lot of replayability in this one. Versus mode will keep you playing with your friends, and XBOX Live will keep you playing over and over again. Not to mention upcoming DLC.

Overall

Overall I give the game a 9 out of 10. The single player will keep you occupied for a bit, but XBOX Live and Versus Mode will definitely keep you hooked. You can also create a bunch of characters and traverse the Tower of Souls to obtain treasures. If you love fighting games, Soul Calibur IV is definitely worth the $60.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/08

Game Release: SoulCalibur IV (US, 07/29/08)


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