1. The classic Story mode is gone.
Remember that whole “trekking across the world” thing? You’d choose the next location and there would be some crazy rules for each match, like “you’ve been poisoned” or “the arena is made of quicksand” or “avoid the burning rats”? It was brilliant, and considered by many to be the best story mode in the history of fighting games. Yeah, that’s been thrown out. So has Chronicles of the Sword mode from SCIII, in which you moved your fighters around the map like a strategy board game.
Instead, every character has a unique storyline that takes them through a whopping (or not) five or six matches – so it’s not even as long as arcade mode. And while the plotlines are unique, the actual fights tend to follow very similar themes as far as number of enemies fought per match, location, final boss and so on. It’s not as good as before.
Luckily, there’s also the Tower of Lost Souls mode, which is basically a never-ending series of matches with unusual conditions, very similar to the old story mode. But it’s not as good as the old story mode either.
2. PS3 owners are going to want to install it.
15-20 seconds of loading before story matches might not seem like a long time, but when you’re waiting to shove a lightsaber down Ivy’s cleavage, it might as well be an hour.
3. There are more than 30 characters, but somehow there are still some missing.
Obviously, Link, Spawn, and Heihachi from Soulcalibur II are gone, but they’re not the only ones.
Edge Master? Absent. Inferno? AWOL. That bizarre owl-headed dude Olcadan? Off delivering letters for Harry Potter, apparently.
Hwang’s been hung out to dry. Charade is gone. Necrid’s nowhere. Arthur, the katana-wielding Mitsurugi-alike from SCIII (and also the Korean version of the first SC, we’re told by the internet) has vanished, and almost none of the zillion minor characters from SCIII, like Abelia, Luna, Abyss, Chester and Strife, have returned.
4. We take it back – Link IS in the game. He’s just dressed in drag.
Okay, we’re kidding, but take a look at elf-eared, rune-foreheaded anime princess Scheherazade and tell us she’s not hiding out from some RPG. It’s pretty obvious she was designed by a guest artist (a famous one in Japan, actually).
5. Some of the new characters are considered scrubs, even by the game.
Angol Fear (not to be confused with Algol, the new boss), Shura, Ashlotte, Kamikirimusi, and Scheherazade don’t get their own portraits on the character select screen – they’re all just under a single tile called “extra characters”. They also have fewer customization options and you can’t select their fighting styles when you’re creating your own character.
It’s probably because they’re mostly just palette swaps of existing characters (Shura is just Cervantes with lady parts, for example), but it’s still odd, especially because Shura’s story definitely seems to be setting her up as a major player in the next game.
6. The Secret Apprentice is Luke Skywalker’s brother.
Maybe. The game doesn’t state this explicitly and we’ve no idea how it could be explained in canon – it’s not like cloning is an epidemic in the Star Wars universe or anything, right? And LucasArts claims the face of Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller is modeled after that of his voice actor Sam Witwer. So there’s evidence against our theory, we’ll admit.
However, after all that is said, all we see and hear when playing as Starkiller is Hayden Christiansen, only cooler, almost like how we wanted Anakin Skywalker to be. Now, what movies has Hayden been in lately?
What’s that, you say? “Jumper”? Yeah, you’re hilarious. Now shut up.