Saturday, September 27, 2003

Game Review: SoulCalibur II

Transcending History and the World, A Tale of Souls and Swords Eternally Retold!
Fighting game enthusiasts rejoice! SoulCalibur II was well worth the wait! When the original Soul Blade came out on the PS1 I picked it up not knowing if I'd like it, you see I am a diehard StreetFighter fan, and this whole 3D thing didn't really impress me. The first generation of 3D fighters looked horrable, the rubix snake had more curves! Well Soul Blade was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Seven years later Namco does it again, b166er and better than it's predecessor! Soul Calibur II takes everything that made the original good and takes it to the next level! The game is great for any skill level, those new to the franchise will be able to pick it up and play without feeling lost and confused by the control scheme, while veterans will tear SCII apart to memerize each characters [i]abundance [/i]of moves. And let me tell you there are ALOT! From all the moves/combos beginning with A (horizontal strikes) to all moves/combos starting with B (vertical strikes) and K (kick moves/combo) and throws, specials, unblockables, guard breaks/impacts...the point is there is near limitless variables and no two people may play any of the 23 brilliant characters the same. I was pleased to see that Namco not only retained the cast from Soul Blade but added just enough to make their return fresh yet familiar. The new additions to the game fit perfectly ( :angry: all but 1 for me-more on that later) and are absolutely jawdropping! Xianghua for me is the most mezmerizing character to ever grace a fighting game hands down...sorry Chun Li. I'd swear Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) was used for the motion capture of this character! Each of the characters is 100% unique and are equally balanced against each other, IMHO there is no one character that can be labled cheap. The level of detail for each character is unbelievable from the slightest details in their outfits to their multitude of facial expressions to their unique re-enactment of real life fighting styles. Voldo being the exemption....That's all good and nice but how's the gameplay you ask? Tight man...tight! The collision detection is pin-point has to be for a weapons based fighter! As I stated earlier the game is perfectly balanced, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Your ultra powerful opponents weakness is speed and vice versa. The single player game has plenty to offer with the usual array of modes from arcade to survival to team battle and time attack, but Namco doesn't settle for the status quo, oh no, they include the ever popular quest mode! Know in the world of Soul Calibur as weapon master mode. This is your tale of Souls and Swords.....Thru this story driven mode you will not only uncover long lost secrets of Soul Edge, the polar opposite of Soul Calibur, you will begin to unlock the tons of bonuses and secrets Namco has tucked away for those diligent fighters. Some of the goodies include:Extra- arcade/Vs battle/time attack/survival/team battleMuseum- including multiple art galleries, a battle theater, character profiles, a weapon gallery which shows how many of each characters 12 weapons you have collected/purchased and a brief history of that weapon, Collection History-which shows how many of the other 86 secrets you've unlocked such as extra outfits, weapon demonstations for each character,and extra arenas.All these easter eggs also add to the multiplayer experience, I haven't played a first to 20 tourney in a long time but the other night my fiancee and I were up till the wee hours of the morning playing till she had a blister! Now that says novels in and of it self!My only quam with SCII is Heihachi, yeah he's from another Namco fighting game, but it's like ripping Cloud Stife outta FFVII and sticking him in Hyrule :blink: But that's just me, maybe you like the old fart, I'd rather see Crash Bandiccot whupin ass with a sword or hammer. Soul Calibur II may reignite the souls of (sorry) many a fighting game fanatic. If DOA or Tekken has left you feeling empty and you can't take another incarnation of Street Fighter I urge you to go check out Soul Calibur can thank me later.