Review by Yeuh Fei Long

"Solid. Substance. Rehashed."

Soul Blade was one of many astounding 3d fighters to ever grace the Playstation with it's ground breaking gameplay and mechanics. Soul Calibur, again set the standard to 3d fighters that worked and innovated from it's predecessor in every way. However, with Soul Caibur II, little to no innovations are found.

Very good graphics that retain massive detail throughout the structured levels and character designs. Fluid and lucid animations in the movements and techniques through the characters, and vibrant settings to the lay outs of the detailed backgrounds from rippling water to wind blowing the tree's and the grass are done very well.

Not really important, this is after all a fighting game. However, Namco did implement a main plot that revolves around the legendary and ominous sword Soul Edge that's still being sought after in the already meandering tournaments.

There are some pretty good orchestrated themes in this game that do a good job setting an interesting background to fight in. The voices are about as good as they have been, each character has a distinct sound and persona in their actions along with their winning and losing remarks. The clanging of swords and sound effects emit wonderfully with the surround sound option SC2 provides.

Soul Calibur II has very extensive and in depth move sets that can be chained together to provide quite a long trip that lasts more then a couple of days to be considerably good at the techniques, combos, throws, guards, special moves etc. There is indeed substance to this game that not only accompanies itself with the the fighting characteristics, but also in Weapon Master Mode, basically the single story mode that allows you to catch up on some story along with diverse challenges and being able to pick up gold in order to buy weapons that are unlocked through certain missions. There's a lot of extras to be had unlocking them during missions as well, most of which are the galleries and extra modes and characters.

However, all the above has already been implemented by Namco through it's predecessors. There's nothing that hasn't already been done and said here. Nothing was really even worked off of Soul Calibur, it seems that Namco just used Soul Calibur and put in a couple of new characters, a couple of new quests and a small amount of new moves among the characters and marketed it as Soul Calibur 2. There is nothing revolutionary about this game, it's just rehashed off of what Soul Calibur was, which really puts forth the feeling of this being a mediocre game that used it's previous build for a lack of any new and fresh game mechanics that the developers couldn't come up with even after having an ample amount of time to brainstorm some. It's like plagiarizing your own work.

Even though this game does boast an appealing amount of gameplay through skill in it's depth-full move sets, it can be a button mashers haven. Anyone who wants to validate that can just take a sudden glance at Maxi who has that title stamped over his pompadour and nunchaku's. Too many techniques that have no recovery, and throws that can be played out as bad as Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series. There is an imbalance from character to character in regards to having more potential in techniques then others, giving it an offset in balance, instead of making up for it in different attributes, Namco divides even more mixed up attributes unevenly to the already over powered characters that don't need them. The AI at times can be dull and very boring, or very difficult in the sense of exploiting the same super continuously with no disadvantage at all. No medium with the AI, just two extremes, the AI that portrays a patient that just had a lobotomy, or the AI that acts like the Hulk who's overdosed on angel dust with a never ending supply of adrenalin.

Indeed. This game posses's an abroad amount of unlockable extras through Weapon Master Mode. SC2 lasts quite some time with new modes, characters, galleries, exhibitions, team mode etc. A lot of replay here.

Over All, this game ultimately felt that the engine and play mechanics were regurgitated. There's nothing new nor really exciting other then a couple of extras that don't even effect the gameplay. And while having a console exclusive character is a rather cute addition, it just seems like a marketing scheme to compensate for it's lack of creativity. This game is a good title, with solid gameplay and substance, if you can see past the rehashed play schematics.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 05/23/03, Updated 05/23/03

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