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SoulCalibur V Review

by Craig Collins


Soul Caliber 5 is the newest installment from Namco and Project Soul of the blade wielding fighting franchise. Soul Caliber 5 brings back its amazing fighting engine and also adds to it with the return of the critical edge system from the Soul Edge game from the arcade era as well as major changes to the story. This time around SC5 goes for a different feel moving the story forward in time and marking a new generation of fighters and their quests for the soul swords, the spirit sword Soul Caliber and the evil Soul Edge. SC5 is truly the tale of two swords but overall the game tells two very different story's as well, just as Soul Caliber and Soul Edge are the two polarizing weapons in the series there is an extreme contrast of good and bad in the different game modes of Soul Caliber 5.

The gameplay in SC5 is great as always in the series. The controls are fast, very responsive and the critical edge system adds a Marvel vs Capcom feel to the game with each character having there own "hyper combo" allowing even newbies to get into the game and do some amazing moves in spite of the fact that there is a learning curve for combos if you are new to the game. The other new addition is the brave edge system, by using a portion of your power meter you can add more damage to special attacks similar to street fighter and Mortal Kombat; this adds some defense to the extremely aggro style of gameplay that Soul Caliber is known for. The game looks visually amazing, from the changing fighting arenas to the armor effects and flashy combos SC5 literally shines onscreen and its graphics and gameplay are top notch. Hands down the biggest attraction in SC5 is the online multiplayer. While the gameplay is pretty simple and straightforward with ranked, unranked and quickmatch you can also record previous matches and send them to friends and opponents waiting to cross swords as well as watch matches live as you wait to fight. SC5's online experience is one of the best among fighters, like a razor sharp katana its basic, to the point; highly effective and well polished as well as the best in the series to date.

Unfortunately while there are some great points to the game they can get cancelled out by the games horrible story mode which circles around two new characters to the series Pyrrha and Patroklos, the daughter and son of Sophitia who both receive the soul swords. SC5 takes place 17 years in the future, characters have aged and most have been replaced by younger future counterparts. Unfortunately SC5 makes no attempt to integrate any of those characters into the story or even give this new group of characters much of an introduction. The story mode which by the way only allows you to play with only three characters and offers no training for them is downright horrible filled with still photos and a terrible plot. And when you do actually get a cut scene or two its filled with atrocious voice overs. Soul Caliber is one of a few fighting games that actually had a interesting story with the potential for much more with the morally driven plot lines of Soul Caliber and Soul Edge constantly at war with each other. Its really a shame when you see legends of the series like Seigfried; Ivy and even Nightmare having so little relevance to the story and when they do appear its seems only as an accessory to Patroklos or Pyrrha.

I know I am not alone when saying that it would be great to see a Soul Caliber game with great online like 5 but with a story centered around the soul swords and Seigfried and Nightmare's story. Going in depth on SC's history and seigfried's struggles with both Soul Caliber and Soul Edge since he is one of the few character in the series to wield both swords. Gamer's who play fighting games might not be the most interested in a great story, but at the end of the day you have to sit back and think if the asking price is 60 bucks a pop what exactly are you getting for your hard earned money? Aside from the aforementioned horrible story there really is not that much else for offline play. There is an arcade mode witch by the way has no proper story for any of the other 25 characters left out of story mode, including guest fighter Ezio Auditore Da Firenze from the Assassins Creed series.†

This is yet another instance where gamers are left wondering why project soul and bandai did not pay more attention to offline play? Even a small story for Ezio involving the soul swords would have been very interesting to see and it makes me wonder exactly why we did not get a chance to see that happen. Aside from story and arcade the game rounds out with legendary souls mode, which is arcade but with some of the characters from the now previous generation of SC fighters and a harder difficulty. Training, vs, quick match and a very in depth character creation mode. Make your own character and give them a fighting style and then customize them down to color patterns armor and voice effects, this mode is very deep and allows for lots of customization after unlocking items through story mode as well as on and offline play.

Overall Soul Caliber 5 is a good game but with some very rough edges, the online is great and competition on or offline with friends is amazing and exactly what the game was made for. Unfortunately venture offline alone and you will see that SC5 leaves much to be desired, if you don't have friends who are picking this tittle up or you don't like playing online opponents then you may want to steer clear of SC5 or at least pick up a used copy so you can dodge the 60 dollar price tag. With the return of the fighting game revolution thanks to capcom and others there are plenty of fighters out there to chose from.†

Rating Soul Caliber V 7.7
+ Online is very well done
+ Gameplay is fast paced and fun to play
+ New Critical and Brave edge systems add accessibility
+ Character Creation is lots of fun and sparks imagination and creativity
+ Graphics and sound are both amazing
- Terrible execution on story mode
- "Story" focuses on only 3 characters out of 28?!?!?
- Not much to do outside of on and offline multiplayer
- New generation of characters without as much as an introduction???
- Learning curve could discourage new players
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