Review by Calamity

"A very fun game, but perfectly balanced? Not even close."

Soul Calibur IV is the fourth game of the Soul Calibur series. The series has gained recognition for being one of the only fighting game series that has done weapon based combat correctly. Soul Calibur IV was met with a lot of hype from fighting game genre fans and even non fighting game fans. So, does it live up to the hype? Mostly yes, but not completely. It's a great fun game, but has a few annoying problems. So, onto the review!

Graphics:9/10:The Graphics are pretty good. Areas look nice and the effects are pretty impressive. Character design and their costumes are cool. One thing that bugged me was how the characters looked. Like their body parts looked terribly unrealistic to the point where it actually amazingly bugged me. Weapons look cool and so does most of the armor. Overall Great, but not perfect Graphics. The body designs for characters could use more work is the main problem.

Gameplay:8.6/10:Soul Calibur IV is a standard fighting game. You fight on a 2D plane where you can only move left and right, but actually you can move in all directions. More on that later though. Combat is one versus one and two opponents duke it out using the skills their character has to the best of their knowledge. You get three standard attacks. A quick slash with your weapon, a slower one that does more damage and last a kick. The kick does terribly low damage, but quickly stops your opponent from cornering you so you can quickly get into position to resume attacking them. Each of the standard attacks serve their purposes well. You also have a throw in case a opponent constantly blocks you. A throw will cancel their blocking stance and damage them for a decent amount of health. So, as you can see the game is pretty balanced so far. To prevent blocking further you have a soul gauge.

The more you block attacks the more the color of the soul gauge orb changes. If it starts flashing red and you keep blocking attacks you'll enter a soul crush state. Where your extremely vulnerable for a slight second and your opponent can perform a critical finish. Which is like a fatality from Mortal Kombat. The soul gauge orb is a good feature in my opinion. It helps prevent blocking a lot more. Since we all know, people who tend to block like crazy are incredibly annoying to fight. Anyways, onto more positive aspects of the game.

You can move in eight directions as said before. Mostly up and down so you can dodge attacks. Certain attacks require you to do what's called sidestepping which is moving up or down to dodge the attack. It's a cool strategic feature and it adds more strategy to fights. It's only useful for dodging certain attacks, but those evil button mashers as well. Button mashers are a major problem with the game by the way, but for now let's focus on the positive aspects. We'll save those wretched button mashers for later! Well, there's only one more positive aspect to talk about.

Skills most of them are relatively easy to use. Some are gimmicky I admit and others are clearly better then other skills. Almost every character has a extremely useful skill that serves a purpose though. For dodging, attacking or even simply moving around. So, that's it for the positive aspects. Let's talk about my only two real problems with the game...

Button mashers. Yes, unfortunately sometimes button mashers can get away in Soul Calibur IV. Certain characters like Khilik who get a really long weapon can simply spam a button and keep you away from them while doing damage. On, a positive note though if your really good and you know what your doing you may have some hope. With a fair amount of luck and skill you can usually barely beat a button masher using a unbalanced character. Even worse though, is sometimes the more balanced characters can even button mash too. A good aspect is there are some very rewarding characters in the game. By this I mean, these characters arguably take the most skill and practice to use. If you master them though you will be a very good player and most likely able to beat almost anyone. Now, my second and third problem is pretty much the first problem addressed in another way. Well, at least the second is.

The online community for Xbox Live and the lag. The online community seems to have no integrity whatever and will use whatever cheap characters possible to button mash. Only a few matches I have ran into players using balanced characters. When you do run into someone who does fight with skill though the matches are a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever been more satisfied in a fighting game then this. So, the match is going great and then...WHAT? It freezes for about twenty seconds. Well, yes unfortunately it lags almost every match like once or twice. When it lags it usually lags for at least ten seconds too so, it's really annoying. Overall Soul Calibur IV is a very fun game. It's only real problem is how some characters can be abused for button mashing.

Music:10/10:The Musical score in Soul Calibur IV is great. The sound effects are fantastic as well. Expect to hear excellent well fitting and epic songs as you battle opponents in Soul Calibur IV.

Overall:8.6/10:Soul Calibur IV is a extremely fun game. It's pretty balanced, but very few characters can get away with button mashing. Plus, the lag on Xbox Live is annoying. The Graphics are mostly good, but the body part designs really bugged me. The soundtrack is excellent and the sound effects are top notch. Overall Soul Calibur IV is very well worth it and a extremely fun game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/16/08

Game Release: SoulCalibur IV (US, 07/29/08)

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