Soul Calibur IV
Namco, Namco Bandai
Available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3
When it comes to fighting games, I know only two modes: Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter and beyond those two games I’ve never wanted to touch another franchise series like Tekken or Virtual Fighter. So it’s always a real learning experience when I have to sit down and learn a whole new fighting game like Super Smash Bros. Brawl or in the case of this week’s review, Soul Calibur IV.
The fifth instalment in Soul series of fighting games that starting in the arcades and on the Playstation console, Soul Calibur IV centers around a mystic demon blade known as the Soul Edge and the warriors that fight to either possess it or destroy it. This series started a whole new genre in fighting games which had character using weapons instead of their bare fists to fight their opponents.
Not all the characters come unlocked to play from the beginning though and you will have to earn points to purchase them later on. If you’re not happy with a pre-made character, the character creator allows you to customize a character from their appearance to their moves but you have to purchase each item for your character.
As with most fighting games, I found some characters played better than others so take your time and check out a few different fighting styles before you settle on just one character. Soul Calibur IV has an excellent variety of fighting styles and weapons to choose from so make sure you give each character at least one test drive before you pick the mofo you’re going to destroy the realm with.
The game modes include a story mode which is short and fairly easy to complete but luckily each character has a different ending and a different set of enemies to take down each round which keeps the game interesting. Don’t expect any Star Wars characters to have great story lines though as I found them to so out of place in the Soul Calibur world. Tie in are nice but make them make sense.
There’s a Tower of Lost Souls mode has you fighting through levels of a tower in order to earn rewards and the training mode allows you to train with available characters against enemies with certain settings. There’s no tutorial in the training mode though to actual teach you how to pull off moves, just a list with the available moves and how to complete them. This lack of tutorial reduced me to button mashing for most of the game, so hope you have a friend to teach you the ropes if you don’t learn well on your own.
Two-player fighting is available in both an online and offline mode though I only suggest the highly trained fighters take to the online combat zone or prepare to have your butt promptly handing to you. Soul Calibur fans are amongst the most serious and skilled fighting fans I have ever encountered and I never want to play one again. Online matches on Xbox Live were seamless and I didn’t experience any issues during any of my matches, so expect speedy and quality online play when you jump online.
This is a positively beautiful game and you can’t help but notice the stellar graphics on both the characters and the background environments. Each character features breakable armour, excellent animations and gorgeous body detail. Some of the ladies in the game must be using some double-sided tape to keep their outfits on though because no bondage gear that I’ve ever seen would ever keep your boobs from falling out after 3 rounds of going all Highlander on some guy’s butt.
While the soundtrack is your fairly typical majestic fantasy genre score, it’s the bad English dubbing that will really make you treasure the cut scenes in this game. You do have a choice between the original Japanese voices and the English dubbing but I personally love a bad voice track so I stuck with the American actors. The Star Wars characters were really well done though with no bad dub problems and I was really happy to hear that they were given their proper character voices.
I don’t doubt that fans of this game series have already bought, play and probably unlocked every single item in Soul Calibur IV by now, so I don’t need to state the obvious buy option for them but for every other fighting game fan out there who may not have heard about the Soul series before, I suggest a definite rent to at least swim the waters of a new fighting genre. I don’t expect you to give up your Mortal Kombat or Virtual Fighter but there’s nothing wrong with experimenting once in a while with a new set of bone-crushing fighters. Especially ones that wear bondage gear.
Rating: 7 out of 10