Review by DJ cream

"One of the greatest, if not the best, games out for the Playstation 2!"

“Never mind that it's one of the best fighters ever made-it's one of the best games ever made.”
- Sam Kennedy, news editor and game review writer for The Official Playstation Magazine.

First off, I’d like to say that it pains me to put the controller down to write a review for Soul Caliber 2. Soul Caliber 2 is obviously the sequel to Soul Caliber for the Dreamcast around 1999. The original offered a revolutionary twist in the 3D fighting genre, to show that it has potential. After that, a surge of money income in the Tekken and Virtua Fighters began to show. That goes to show that Capcom isn't the only one not capitalizing the fighting game industry. Any ways, this game is so magnificent; it shines above any other fighting game out for the PS2. No wonder the people working on The Official Playstation Magazine got hooked for months when they got their hands on the Japanese import.

What's amazing is that the space between the storylines of Soul Caliber 1 and 2 are the same as the time elapsed when those games were released. When everyone was done exacting revenge, trying to take over the world, or just find the Soul Edge in Soul Caliber 1, everyone went home and soon discovered that something's a miss. Well, it's 4 years later and everyone is back doing the same things all over again. The storylines are so well represented in the endings, the destined battles, and the character profiles, even new comers to the series have a vivid picture of why everyone is here. Not only that a new Weapon Master mode has been added. Namco incorporated and blended together an interesting mix of an interactive novel, RPG-like gameplay, and the normal fighting portion into one logical adventure to find the real Soul Edge.

Fighting games are always about how the whole thing plays out. The way the damage is set, the unique characters style, and the way the characters can move, all play a crucial role in determining the fun factor of the game. I'd like to think that this game ranks high in all the categories discussed in the previous sentence. Then there's many other crazy and fun additions mostly found in Weapon Master mode. In certain fights, there maybe an increase in wind causing a character falling out of the ring more frequent or changes of the fighting area into quicksand or ice instead of the normal solid surfaces. Really nice, Namco.

What I love about fighting games is the fact that knowing which buttons are punch and kick, then your set to play; however, it takes a long time to truly perfect the game. The game mostly revolves around the fighting scenes. The controls are really easy to learn. There's a horizontal slash, vertical slash, kick, and block button. Now knowing how to use the soul charge, guard impact, and using the walls to your advantage takes a lot of practice.

The graphics are stunning! If you've noticed the intro movie alone, Namco has out done them selves since Tekken 4 (Yes, Namco makes the Tekken series). The backgrounds are really cool looking and painfully detailed. The books in the library stage the wrinkles on the wings of the windmills in the windmill stage, and don't forget the cherry blossoms falling as an intro to the Japanese stage, are all great examples of what I'm talking about. There are little to know stage interaction in Arcade mode so that's an issue that Namco might attend to next time. Still that doesn't stop me from deducting some points from the game.

You cannot mess with the various audio elements in the game. The audio is best compared to recent RPGs made by Square-Enix. Each character, except for Charade, has around 60-80 dialogues to say. Yes, even Voldo has that much even though its all grunts and screams muffled by the bandage over his mouth. Plus what's cool is the fact you can choose one of four phrases to say while waiting to fight on the versus screen. The music is really fitting to the various stages. There's an Egyptian feeling when fighting within a temple and as always, a musical tribute to the Armageddon-like final stage...despotic and yet invigorating. Then there's the sound of clashing of steel and flesh bounding into the body that all fighting games must recreate into a digital sound.

If your asking yourself whether to buy or rent it, the most reasonable answer is to buy a copy or three (If you own a Gamecube and/or X-box). Yeah, it's fun playing against the computer, but playing against a friend is where fighting game's life is infinite. Every other type of game whether it's Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy, or Metal Gear Solid, all have a point where everything is completed and there's nothing left to do besides deleting the file and starting over again to do. Another great advantage of buying is the fact that it might take a good 2-4 weeks to collect all the weapons, finish Weapon Master mode, collect and beat all the extra modes, and finish the game with all the characters. Man, looking at the list makes me feel all tingly inside.

-Excels in graphics, sound, and gameplay are shown
-Interesting new Weapon Master mode
-A lot of new extra stuff to unlock and play
-Two Tekken people to play as

-Low amount of background involvement
-Long dungeons to navigate in Weapon Master mode
-Ice floor to make fights really unpredictable
-Um...what else? Oh yeah the price.(I just needed to find something to balance the pros and cons.)

Soul Caliber 2 has got to be the most perfect game I've ever played! This is what you get when Final Fantasy qualities in graphics and sound are formed into a never-ending game with multi player. Only time will tell if there will be a game out on the PS2 that surpasses all of Soul Caliber 2's outstanding qualities and traits.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/01/03

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