Mix and match
More impressive still would have been the integration of fluid move animations and stances depending on the opposition – so that the mere scrap of a girl couldn't fling the 500lb behemoth ten foot into the sky, like so many rags.
Heel some wounds
However, with that still seemingly impossible with current technology the balancing at least ensures that his might is undone by her speed, at least, it can be in the hands of a talented enough player.
Those who have seen the game's box art will know, Assassin's Creed stalwart Ezio Auditore fills the cameo role once played in previous Soul Caliburs by Link, Darth Vader, Spawn and more. Sensibly, Ezio is reasonably simple to direct and so a perfect choice for first time adopters. He's also a natural fit and hoot to play as, combining as he does ranged attacks with his patented hidden blade swipes when up close.
Other new characters can be a tad trickier to perfect, the werewolf spirit unleashing Zwei, for instance, demanding a real grip of his repertoire of moves before combos and specials can be delivered with anything like success.
He does, like all characters, have the standard button combination when it comes to releasing the game's great leveller, the 'Critical Edge' attack, which is charged and delivered in the same way Ultras Combos are in Street Fighter IV.
More subtle – and economical on the power bar – than the 'Critical Edge' is the 'Brave Edge' attack which can be used to beef-up a strike or even prolong combos with practice. As a self-confessed Street Fighter aficionado however, the links between combos never feels as deft here, while the integration of a block button never feels as natural as simply pressing away from your opponent. It's almost as if such divergence from Capcom's classic is in a bid to force distinction rather than add benefit.
Next page: School of block
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. :-)