Of course, just because SC3 boasts a metric ton of gameplay doesn't mean that none of it is dead weight. The story mode is great at first. Why more fighting games don't steal Soul Calibur 's method of mixing up matches, with the player dealing with things like high winds, quicksand, poison, and so on, we'll never know. But even this wears thin after repeatedly playing through it to unlock more goodies. You seem to be given some storyline choices, but they don’t really affect that much - it all feels pretty linear.
But honestly? Screw the plot. The actual fighting is as fluid and finely tuned as a 50-gallon barrel of water and a new Ferrari, respectively. Especially against human opponents, the bloody brawling is as fun as it ever was, and it doesn’t hurt that the graphics have been kicked up to 11. This is easily one of the most impressive-looking games on the PS2, with eye-popping backgrounds and characters who move as smoothly as Olympic gymnasts and dress like they're in a Mardi Gras parade.
Then there's the Chronicles of the Sword mode, a real-time strategy game in which you order a small group of fighters around a map. It's an interesting concept, but it’s far too simplistic. Similarly, although we love the idea of create-a-character, the feature isn’t as deep as the create-a-character options in, say, WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2006, and the user-crafted brawlers look like they're wearing poorly made Halloween costumes when compared to the vastly more exotic, intricately detailed standard characters. Finally, there’s no online play, so you can’t show off your fashion sense or your mad, head enbashening skills to the world.