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Tuesday September 23, 2008 6:01 pm

Soulcalibur IV review

Soulcalibur IV

Here I am, about seven weeks after the launch of Soul Calibur IV, finally getting to bring you guys our thoughts on the game. Before we jump in, a bit of background on Soul Calibur IV. The game hit and on July 29 here in North America, followed by a release in Japan, Europe, and Australia on July 31, and then finally the UK on August 1.This is the fourth installment in the Soulcalibur series, and it features a Story mode, as well as Arcade, Training, Museum, and Tower of Lost Souls modes. That last one is new to the series, and rewards you, as the fighter, for winning special battles. Also new to the series is the inclusion of a few characters from the Star Wars universe - namely, Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Apprentice.

The game comes just about three years after the release of Soulcalibur III back in 2005, and is the first Soulcalibur title to feature online play. Now, on to our review.

Right off the bat, we can say that Soulcalibur IV is a really good game. If you’ve been a fan of any of the past games, you will certainly welcome its debut on the next-gen consoles, in all its high definition glory. You’ve got over 30 characters to play with (although some share the exact same moveset), a ton of amazing arenas in which to do battle, and a myriad of special moves - more than you’ll care to commit to memory, quite frankly.

As we said, you get the Arcade and Story modes that you’d expect to find in any Soulcalibur title at this point. What we found to be at least a bit funny was that the story mode is really short. You basically get about five fights with the characters, along with an ending cinematic. Still, it does its job at giving you a little backstory, and hey - this is a fighting game. You aren’t here for the story anyway, right?

The game also features a nice, robust Character Creation mode. You can customize any of the characters that are a part of the game itself, including things like weapons, hair, skills, and equipment. Where this shines, though, is in the original character creation. You can build fighters from the ground up, and unlike editing the main characters, here you get to choose things like skin color, body type, etc.

The other big, and welcome, feature is online multiplayer. On both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, you can hop online and challenge others to ranked or unranked matches. Even better, you can even bring your customized characters online to enjoy the fun as well. You’ll see some interested creations out there. In our experience, lag was kept to a minimum, and online play was great.

Yoda Soulcalibur IV

Of course, a major feature in SCIV is the Star Wars tie-in. We will just give you our quick opinion on this - it is very fun to be able to control your favorite Star Wars legends in the Soulcalibur world. That said, it also feels like a novelty. Yoda is too short to be thrown, but I guess if this were reality, he would still be too short to be thrown. Vader is great to fight with, and the Apprentice can levitate and shoot electricity at his opponents, which can feel a little cheap at times. Still, that doesn’t detract from the fantastic game that SCIV is.

Presentation is fantastic across the board. Graphically, the game is impressive. Character models are highly detailed, and environments are downright fantastic. Gameplay is even, and any newbie can pick up and play. In fact, button-mashing may even get you a long way. The PS3 version offers an optional install option, which adds a bit of pep to everything. But really, the game is great. If you want a great fighter on either console, you may just be looking at the best thing on the market with Soulcalibur IV.


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