Review by Kashell Triumph

"For a whippin' good time, call Ivy. But for an even better time, play Soul Calibur II!"

Fighting games really don't get much better than this. After I briefly played the first Soul Calibur, I was very excited when I learned that the sequel was coming to all three next-gen systems.

Story: 8/10
The evil shards of the Soul Edge are acting up and causing havoc. Now, brave warriors from around the world are gathering to destroy this evil with the powerful Soul Calibur. Can they succeed? The story apparently picks up from the last SC. You may be thinking, ''So what?'' because it's just like the previous installment. Well, each character has different motivations for looking for the Soul Calibur. Some are good guys, others are not so good...each path is different. I really liked this. Also, each character has a different epilogue that you can see when you complete the arcade mode.

Controls: 10/10
The controls in battle are very solid and easy to learn. However, mastering them for one character will take quite a while. Each character has a countless number of moves in his/her arsenal. The moves are executed very easily (with the exception of some throws and power skills) unlike doing half-circle motions followed by a button. There is also a Practise mode so you can watch all the moves to see what they look like and then try them yourself. Overall, the controls are excellent. They're effortless to pick up, but nearly impossible to fully master.

Characters: 10/10
There are around 10 characters you start with, each one unique. As you play the Weapon Master Mode, you can unlock new characters. Each character uses a special weapon, has interesting histories, and has some reason to be looking for the Soul Calibur. Also, you can get your characters new weapons and outfits! And I should mention that Heihachi is a playable character in the PS2 version (but you probably already knew that). Wonderful characters, overall.

Graphics: 10/10
The many battle arenas are highly detailed with the architecture. All are colorful and crisp. The characters are simply to die for! Every detail is accounted for like Cassandra's outfits blowing in the wind, Mitsurugi's hair style swishing, and Ivy's beautiful bust bouncing. And the outfits for each character is quite exceptional as well. The graphics really show the power of the PS2.

Music and Sound: 9/10
The OST is beautifully orchestrated with a lot tracks. But, many of them don't fit the mood of the setting. When fighting a battle, I expect to hear heart-pounding, fast-paced tunes. The music is a bit more melodic and toned down. There are some great tracks, but the OST could've had more appropriate ones.

The voice acting is top notch (and dubbed perfectly. That's right, PERFECT!). Also, each character has around 90 sayings in his or her voice collection. The sounds of the weapons slashing is good. Nothing ear shattering or annoying.

Replay Value: 10/10
With tons of characters to master, secrets to unlock, and the versus mode, you'll be playing this FOREVER! Also, there is a Survival, Time Attack, and Extra Modes so you can experience many new challenges. By the time you get sick of this game, Soul Calibur III will already be out.

Difficulty: Various
As I said, the controls make the game easy to pick up. But mastering the game will become difficult, especially when playing on Extremely Hard mode. Overall, the game's difficulty is fit for all players, despite experience.

Buy or Rent: Buy
Seriously folks, buy this game ASAP. You CANNOT complete it one rental, and even if you'll crave more and more. Buying SCII is the way to go.

In the end, SCII is not only a great game, but a great investment. Will this go down in gaming history? Of course it will! This tale of souls and swords is one you won't want to miss out on.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/28/03

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