Published on February 1st, 2012 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Soulcalibur V Review
It has been three years since we have seen Soulcalibur release, with the anticipated secret characters from The Force Unleashed, and the two force masters in Yoda and Darth Vadar. A lot has changed in the fighting game genre since Soulcalibur IV‘s release. Street Fighter adding new elements of gameplay and graphic style, Tekken‘s new approach to story, Marvel vs. Capcom 3‘s quick-play style, and Mortal Kombat‘s return to form, it would seem fitting for an evolution in the Soulcalibur series. That was not the case with this release. We got a lot more of the same, and that’s not a horrible thing by any stretch of the imaginations. It just left much to be desired.
One addition to Soulcalibur V is the Critical Edge System. For new comers to the series, Critical Edge gives you the ability to jump in and perform some over-the-top, stylish moves that would force more seasoned players a slick combination to pull off. Remember the Ultra Combo system in Super Street Fighter IV? Build up your Critical Gauge by dealing damage or taking damage and then unleash a crazy combo on your foes.
When it comes to fighting games, it is hard to keep the attention of a lot of fans unless there are a decent amount of game modes to keep them occupied. Soulcalibur V is laughable when it comes to this. I’ve seen early impressions throughout the last six months and, coming from playing the game last September, I had high hopes for this release and a lot of emphasis was put on the story mode. The outcome? Laughable. Mortal Kombat set the bar for story modes in a fighting game last May, and Soulcalibur‘s rendition of this is a storyboard cinematic with voice-over work. The story mode circles around Patroklos and his quest to take down his sister Pyrrha.
The story mode consists of 22 episodes and can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete. Granted you can be about 75 percent done with the game within an hour. However if you know the series well enough, you’ll discover that the difficulty of the game spikes dramatically and boss battles become an ongoing ordeal. Set aside over an hour of time for the final boss battle alone. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we were able to choose our fighter, but with this being the story mode we are forced to use the weak, boring character of Patroklos. In addition to the meaty story mode, you also have six time trial battles to play. There is no story mode for each character.
One of my favorite aspects of the past Soulcalibur titles is back, and that’s the ability to create a character.
Players can use the different weapons, clothes and looks from all the games characters and you can unlock other items by leveling up your fighter profile. I spent a few hours alone just creating some of my favorite video game characters. From Kratos, Snake and Dante, I was able to successfully able to re-create some of my favorite characters. Keep in mind that creating your characters looks are fun to do, but you still have to choose a move set from one of the games existing characters.
Visually the game is stunningly beautiful. From fluid animation to wear-and-tear environments, Soulcalibur V a visual masterpiece. The series has always had a strong visual presence and fluid animation and Soulcalibur V has fired on all cylinders in this department. If will be hard to find a better looking fighting game. The background look stunning and the environment will become battered as the rounds go on.
Multiplayer is probably the best that we have seen in a long time. A lot of fighting games recently have launched with broken multiplayer. With Soulcalibur V relying heavily on the multiplayer, it launched with very few hiccups. It runs smooth and is very fun to compete against your friends in headed online battles. While waiting for your turn to jump in the ring, the game offers you a view of the match taking place giving you the ability to see the battle being fought and opportunity to learn some moves of your upcoming competitor.
There are ten new characters added to the roster, and the biggest addition was Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed series. His move set and weapons are suited well for the series which leaves him to be a deadly character once you get experience with him.
Soulcalibur V is a solid fighting game–just not what I would have expected from not having a new game in three years. Project Soul left much to be desired on the solo front, but as always, the game is focused heavily on multiplayer and challenging your friends. The new character all seem like re-skins of already existing fighters, with the exception of Ezio. The story mode is laughable, but as someone who plays a lot of multiplayer, this game was solid.
+ Visually stunning
+ Ezio is a great addition
– Story mode
– New characters are re-skins
– Arcade mode