Review by lordalmner
"Pimp Your Fighter: Soul Calibur IV edition"
Soul Calibur IV is the latest in a series of fighting games, and while it has the normal improvements of graphics and online play, it also revamps the game with a much necessary and very deep equipment editor. It requires you to buy gear either individually or in sets for you character to wear. Depending on what you wear your character gets/loses stats in various categories. Attack, defense, and hit points are the main stats. Or you may also choose to get skill points to recover health or become invisible. The equipment editor is great in almost every aspect. While it can have some hit or miss character building, as well as a fairly steep learning curve, when you finally achieve character creating greatness, it is extremely rewarding. These characters you make may also be used in any of the game modes, another huge plus.
The gameplay aside from a few minor changes is virtually the same as every other Soul Calibur game. You fight through various stages in one-on-one combat. There is both a story mode and an arcade mode. The story mode is five stages of combat with a various number of enemies, while the arcade mode is eight stages with one enemy per stage that you must defeat twice.
The main aspect of the game is the Tower of Lost Souls. In ascension portion of the game mode you use a given number of characters to beat these floors on the tower. Each floor has some enemies on it. When you beat them all, you move on to the next floor. Between floors you do not heal, but you characters heal when switched out, and after you beat the set list of floors. Overall, the tower has a decent difficulty curve, but a few spikes in the curve will frustrate most gamers. Each individual floor also has a challenge you may complete for a treasure chest. These treasure chests range from absurdly easy (Throw an opponent) to insanely difficult (Finish all opponents with critical finishes).
In the descending portion you try to clear as many floors as possible before losing both of your characters. For every five levels you beat you gain a new piece of equipment to buy at the shop. The descending also gives you a lot more gold with which to buy these pieces of equipment.
Soul Calibur IV controls very well with fully customizable control schemes. Some of the combos can be mistaken with the 8 way direction control. But for the most part the game controls well and allows you to choose you attacks. The controls also are very simple, but not simple enough for a button masher to beat a seasoned player.
The multiplayer is pretty balanced as far as I can tell. Most people online use Siegfried or Nightmare, but they can be beaten by a Zaslamal. The only downside is the lack of two on two tag team fights. The additions of Yoda and the apprentice also could help you. Both of these characters cannot be edited, and Yoda is the closest thing to a cheap character. He can't be thrown by standard throws and is only hit with high attacks when jumping.
Soul Calibur IV has some decent replay value. If you like achievements at all, you will find yourself trying harder on this game than any before it. It is not that they are worth a lot of points. For every five achievements unlocked you get a boatload of new armors to try. Other than editing characters though, the tower of lost souls is the only really replay able commodity, that is, unless you count online play.
The Bottom Line:
Soul Caliber IV gets a 9/10 because while it has some teeny weenie flaws, the addictive equipment system and the intricate balance of the game keep you wanting more.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/03/08
Game Release: SoulCalibur IV (US, 07/29/08)
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