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HYBRID MONTH: Soul Calibur 5 Review

Although only 3 years since the release of Soul Calibur 4 have gone by, 17 have passed in the games story. With a gap like this, there are bound to be some changes and additions to the game play and storyline but sadly, Soul Calibur 5 feels incredibly similar to 4. This could be a good or bad thing depending on the player but I myself have very much enjoyed this new installment to the franchise. Introducing a handful of new characters, a new and improved critical edge battle system, and that great fighting game play fans of the series know and love Soul Calibur 5 isn’t anything to be upset about by far.

The story this time around focuses on Patroklos son of the veteran fighter Sophitia, as he embarks on a quest to find and redeem his sister Pyrrha. The entire time really is all about Patroklos with brief interludes of other new and old characters. And of course at the heart of the entire struggle is the seemingly never ending conflict between the now dormant Soul Calibur, and the evil Soul Edge. Nightmare returns as the antagonist in his newest reincarnation, and Patroklos is the new wielder of Soul Calibur as Siegfried can no longer do so. To be honest though, playing as Patroklos was rather boring in my opinion as he is the generic character of the game so to speak. Newcomer ZWEI was much more intriguing and fun to use as brief as it was, and returning to the familiarity of Nightmare, Tira, and Siegfried was very nice as well.

 

The story consists of 20 chapters which may seem like a lot but it flies by up until the last few chapters. The game is relatively easy to jump into for both newcomers and veterans alike, but once you hit those last few chapters there is a ridiculous difficulty spike that was incredibly frustrating. And the fact that the game doesn’t teach you how to use Patroklos at all and instead leaves you flying solo, it can be a bit stupid for new players. What really stumped me is why Project Soul outsourced to a separate developer for the campaign which was done by CyberConnect2 (Asura’s Wrath), because with this being the bulk of the single player experience it was rather dry and left me wanting more.

 

The fighting system is almost identical to what it was is Soul Calibur 4 with a few slight tweaks. You still use the basic moves consisting of High and low, vertical and horizontal combinations with your normal blocking and jumping. It’s fast paced and moves very fluid regardless of if your button mashing or an experienced player using the intriquite combo’s and techniques of your favorite characters. The new Critical Edge system is very easy to use and runs off of a damage gauge. Basically the more damage you dish out or receive will slowly fill the bar, and when you hit the right levels your able to perform some stylish and deadly special attacks with ease. Using this “Critical Gauge” is more than just these super moves as it is also what fuels your characters guard impacts. For those of you who are new to the game, guard impacts are a perfectly timed block that will stun or temporarily open your opponent to attacks. But I found these to be somewhat hard to use, and ending up ditching the technique most of the game. All in all, the fighting system in Soul Calibur 5 was easy to catch onto and incredibly fun.

One very fun returning feature is the Character Creation mode. Using the Items and titles you’ve gathered from the other game modes to create a unique fighter that you can use in everything except story mode has always been a joy to me. Whether it be a serious character meant to smash your opponents into the ground mercilessly, or a comical character sporting animalistic traits and lady’s underwear, or even trying to create characters from past games there is plenty here for the player to explore and create with. Unfortunately your move sets are strictly taken from current roster characters but that’s truthfully the only downfall I’ve encountered with this mode.

 

Your other game types consist of a quick battle mode which takes you through over 200 battles and allowing you to collect large amounts of titles and items for you character creation. Arcade mode has been shortened to six time based battles with no original stories for each character. And once you’ve beaten the story you unlock the very hard Legendary soul’s mode to play. But multiplayer is where this game truly shines. Fighting your friends at home is fun in itself, but going online and exploring your options there was great with Soul Calibur 5.  A massive coliseum type mode puts you into a lobby of up to 50 other players with the option of challenging any of them. And taking new exclusive character Ezio Auditore (Assassins Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations) online was a lot of fun.

 

All in all Soul Calibur 5 can be enjoyed by newcomers and veterans alike. Boasting beautiful graphics, a familiar yet new soundtrack, very fluid and easy to grasp fighting controls and a slew of fun characters this is definitely a game I’d recommend to any fighting game fan. 7 out of 10

 

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