Review by silent hillian
"A gamer desires a review. And a review desires truth."
When the original Soul Calibur was released, everyone that even knew what a fighting game is was blown away. Flawless controls. Kick ass characters. An intriguing story. Second-to-none graphics. With a game so close to perfection, one would assume that it would be impossible to surpass it. We all did.
Fast forward to 2003. There have been some quality fighting games that have come out. But they have come and gone. But 2003 is the year Soul Calibur would be dethroned as the (quite possibly) greatest fighting game to date. And what game should capture the title as the king of fighters? Unsurprisingly, another Soul Calibur title. Soul Calibur II takes what was great about the first one, and adds some nice treats to make it almost flawless.
I don't know about you, but I have a pretty bad television in my room. It's older than I am. But not even my crappy Mitsubishi (yes, they made TVs as well as cars) can hinder the sheer beauty of Soul Calibur II. The characters, for one, look fantastic. Link, for example, looks exactly like some gamers WOULD'VE liked him to look like in The Wind Waker. Clothes ripple when characters move, and if your character jumps up (Maxi is a good example, I think), loose clothing flies up behind them. The movement of weapons is very nice looking as well. Especially for a character like Necrid, whose weapons just appear out of nowhere. Colors streak the air as swords and bows and nun chucks are used. Again, using Maxi as an example, it really is awesome to just button mash with him, and watch him wield his weapon like a baton twirler.
Each character has several sayings for before or after matches (except Link, who, if it weren't for his ''eeeEEEEYAH!'''s and what-have-you, I would swear is mute). But I digress. The voice acting is pretty damn perfect. So is the lip-synching, which can kind of ruin the otherwise good voice acting of a game. All the sword-clashing and fist-punching sound effects that make a fighting game what it is are spot on (spot on? Does that make sense? I mean, well, if you don't get it, they're perfect, but I already used ''perfect'' in this paragraph so I was looking to mix it up a bit.) And, in my opinion, the music is excellent. I particularly enjoy the Legend of Zelda theme remix, but it's all good.
Wha...?! A story...in a fighting game? Silent, surely you jest. I don't jest, and don't call me Shirley...ugh, that doesn't work as well in written form as it does spoken, but, again, digressing. The main goal for everyone in the game is to acquire the Soul Edge. Everyone has their reasons. Link wants to restore peace in Hyrule. Nightmare wants to guard it for all eternity so no one can use it. He means well, really. You'll get bits and pieces of the story by beating arcade mode, but you'll get the majority of it by playing Weapon Master mode. It's really a lot of fun. Both the mode and the story.
To be frank (I really am sick of the name Shirley), fighting games are almost all about control. If the controls are bad, you won't be able to do any moves. If you can't do any moves, then your opponent will wail on you. But I don't know why I'm talking about all that, because Soul Calibur II has few control issues. Many of the button combos are easy to pull off. One might think that the GameCube, with its unorthodox button-sizes, would be bad for, really, any fighting game. But that's not true. The really only difficult button move to do is the alternate grab which is Y+B, a move a little tricky to pull off without pushing A in the process. Ah, but what are buttons without a direction? You have two choices for the GameCube: the analog stick, or the unnecessarily small D-Pad. There are always some people who refuse to use the analog, and HAVE to use the D-Pad. For you people, I recommend getting some kind arcade stick or maybe a third party controller with a bigger D-Pad...or a different version of the game. I, personally, use the analog stick, and I find it just fine for performing combos. Better than fine, really. But it's all a matter of preference.
I've found that, unless you have a friend or sibling to play fighting games with regularly, you lose interest in them after awhile. I know that's the case with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance. I mean, it's a great game, I enjoy it a lot. But since I've got no one to play it with, I don't play it much anymore. Fortunately, Soul Calibur II has many more modes than MK:DA to keep you amused until Viewtiful Joe comes out. And after it comes out, too, but you KNOW that for awhile after VJ comes out, you won't be able to out it down. Some of the modes you can use in Soul Calibur II to enhance its replayability are Arcade (standard in any fighting game), Survival (how many matches can you go without fully replenishing your health after each round?), Time Attack (how fast can you beat Arcade Mode?) Team Battle (pick a few of your favorite characters, and use them to battle other teams) a VS Mode (Boy, if you don't know what this is...), and, one of the most fun things in the game, Weapon Master mode, where you earn money and experience to unlock weapons, stages, illustrations, characters, costumes, among other things. Weapon Master mode, I'm sure, will keep you busy for awhile.
Rent or Buy? Buy
Now, if you're reading this in late August of 2003, I know that it's a very tough decision for us 'Cube owners. Soul Calibur II or F Zero GX? Now, my choice very because Target was all out of F Zero GX. But that's not that point. The point is I purchased Soul Calibur II, and I love it. Any one who likes fighting games at all should definitely pick this up. And if you don't like fighting games? At least rent it. At least. It's fantastic. I swear.
It's been awhile since we've had an entry in the Soul Calibur series, but the wait was worth it, don't you think? I mean, take all the good things from the first game (excellent gameplay, story, and graphics) and add even MORE awesome things for Soul Calibur II. It all adds up to the greatest fighting game I can think of. Oh, and did I mention Link was in this game? ;p
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/30/03
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