Soul Calibur V
Blades of glory
Review Ah, Soul Calibur, a game where over-muscled beefcakes and scantily clad teen girls clash in violent, weaponised mortal combat. Then, having ripped each other a new one, said combatants dust themselves off ready to battle the next day. Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a little trouble with the believability factor here; mind you, at least the fighting part is entertaining enough.
Face the light
Once more the series tries to absorb us in its tale of chosen warriors, magical swords (Soul Edge, Soul Calibur), good versus evil and yada, yada, yada... To be honest, the mythology and character relations are, by now, sufficiently muddled that it would take a complete reboot to have the story and its world have any real impact.
Suffice it to say that a bad guy wielding the cursed sword Soul Edge holds the land in his iron gauntlets and can only be stopped by a brave and destiny-filled knight. Step in Patroklus, a new addition to the series roster who, shock of shocks, gives said bad guy a whupping, all in the name of saving his sister Pyrrha.
Circle of strife
For most, the story is merely a conduit enabling encounters with very nearly the complete list of Soul Calibur fighters. If nothing else it acts as a training centre where the comprehensive character move lists and combos can be learned and skills honed before plunging into local or on-line multiplayer.
Soul Calibur's fighter line-up has always benefited from a diverse array of body types, weapon types and disciplines and does so here. In fact, some of fights you'll witness are downright comical – a waif-like girl going up against a hammer wielding giant standing twice her height and of four time her girth, for instance.
Go for a slash
It's testament to the developers that – rather than such battles descending into complete farce – the animation, character models and relative speed and strength of each fighter somehow balances out.
Next page: Mix and match
Block back or button
I reckon the difference is a simple matter of preference. Personally I never really got into SF back in the day, preferring my side-scroller brawlers like Streets of Rage at the time, but really got into fighters with Virtua Fighter, so to me using a button to block has always felt more natural, and I appreciate the ability to block while standing still, but I guess it's down to what you're used to.
So it seems as if this might be a return to form for the series. I adored the first game (ignoring Soul Edge for the moment) on the Dreamcast, although to be fair that was as much due to its visual prowess on the little grey box than it's fighting engine. I also enjoyed the second game on the then next-gen machines, but I didn't put the same number of hours in as the sublime VF4 had already been released on those consoles. Since then VF4Evo and VF5 have fulfilled my fighting needs, alongside the odd foray into the DoA and SF3/4 universes, and Soul Calibur has joined the other Namco fighter (which I shall not sully this post by naming) in my 'never in a month of sundays' gaming box.
I think you may be imagining it. She's no Bridget.
Love the photo captions on this article. :-)
I love the 'Soul' series, so I've been looking forward to this. A quick question though. Given that there are almost no negative points (maybe no Ryu/Ken, but as the reviewer is a self-confessed SF fan you'd think the lack of Shoto scrubs would be a good thing ;) )to speak of in the review, and a lot of praise for game-balancing, why has it only been given 75%?
That character on page 2 in the red hotpants (apparently called Natsu). Anyone else notice that "she" is packing quite a bulge in the underpant department? Even more obvious on another SC5 screenshot.