Review by Royal_Straight

"Great Cheap Fighting Game for the Collection"

I picked Soul Calibur II up in a box set including Tekken 4 and Tekken Tag Tournament (2, I believe). Soul Calibur was my favorite, hence this review. The gameplay of this is really what makes it shine. The story, which turns out to be expansive, is quite bare bones at first, then slowly unveils itself. The character selection as well is large with unlockable characters, and each one is distinguished enough to make them unique. Without further ado, the review.

Gameplay: 5/5. Best fighting game I've played ever. You have the standard arcade mode, best two out of three with different enemies, leading up to a boss. You also have time attack, which I haven't spent much time on. Survival, which is to see how many enemies you can beat before dying, which is good fun to test your skills. Then you have Weapon Master mode. That is where it's at. A long campaign of your warrior's quest for the Soul Calibur. It consists, gameplay wise, of numerous fights with twists thrown in to cause you to think for a unique strategy most of the time when playing. It has dungeon fights, where you must brave enemy after enemy to fight the boss. Then, you have fights like where the only way to do damage is to slam the opponent into the wall or ground. Also, there are the ones where you must win by ring out, or where you are poisoned and losing health, or where your're on a timer which only increases after you defeat an enemy. And many more, too many to list. There are something like 10 areas, with around 4 missions per area. As well, after a first completion, everything resets, and you must play again with even more twists being added, such as, not only are you poisoned, but the enemies are faster and stronger than you. Or not only must you defeat 5 people by yourself, but by ringout, on a short timer. Yes, gameplay is great in this game. I should also note, that the fighting system is simple enough to be picked up by anyone and played with a simple explanation of controls, but complex enough that mastery takes time and effort.

Story: 4/5. The story is worth a 5/5 rating, but I'll tell you why it doesn't get that. To the player who has no experience with the game, they will not think much of the story, in fact, when I began the game, I would have given it a 2/5. Then, once you begin to beat arcade mode, you are revealed the background story to each character. The game begins to make sense, once you are explained exactly what Soul Calibur and Soul Edge are, and just exactly why Nightmare seems to want to kill everyone... While the story is not RPG calibur (pardon the pun) in it's telling, the whole thing grows on you quite quickly.

Graphics: 4/5. For it's time, I consider this game to be great in graphics, and even now, it isn't terrible. Slightly outdated, but not bad. If you really must have your graphics, this may come in a little subpar for you compared to PS3 and 360 graphics, but the gameplay makes up for anything the graphics have wrong with them.

Sound: 3/5. Okay, this is the weak point of the game. The introductions to the fights, the battle cries, the music, all eventually gets repetitive. Thankfully, the introduction to the fights can be skipped completely each time, and you don't pay much attention to the yells when you're scrambling to win each fight. And if you'd like, you can always turn off the music, and simply put in your own. Though a weakness, the sound alone cannot bring this game down.

Characters: 5/5. These deserve their own section. From Nightmare, driven insane for blood, to Yunsung, wanting the power of the Soul Edge to prove himself, they each have an individual story. There are around 8 unlockable characters, each worth unlocking. Maybe one of the great ways that make them shine is their uniqueness. Ivy has a sword that can break apart into a sort of whip that allows for a different form of attack. Charade uses a weapon of any of the characters at random. Seung Mina has a long halberd that allows her to attack from farther away. Yunsung has fast attacks and good kicks. These are only a few of the types of characters you can choose. The total is in the 30s. Amazingly, each one has enough their own to give them distinct advantages, and disadvantages. These can be fine tuned even more, when you take into account the 12 or so different weapons you can unlock in weapon master mode.

Length: 5/5. Running through the mode of weapon master took me probably 10 hours. To complete each character's arcade mode, would take a bit less. A couple sessions against friends would bring the total up a good bit. And this is without replaying anything. To go through the weapon master's extra mode would probably be another 10. Still, no repeats. Take into consideration you can buy the game for 20$ in a box set of three, or 7$ alone, you get your money's worth.

Replayability: 5/5. This is one of those games that can be learned in seconds, but to master, is an art. Hence, if you enjoy this game, you can expect to be putting many hours in it.

Final Recommendation: 9/10. Can't miss it. Definitely buy.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/04/10

Game Release: SoulCalibur II (US, 08/27/03)

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