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Soulcalibur IV review

AT A GLANCE
  • The meatiest impacts in games
  • Outfits bordering on the illegal
  • Beautifully balanced fighting
  • Slightly disappointing roster
  • No creation-based fighting styles
  • Star Wars fighters out of place

And then there’s Yoda. We’ve no idea why the diminutive Jedi is here – and even worse, he’s horribly overpowered. His size and speed make him hard to hit, and he’s invulnerable to throws. He’s just as deadly at range, so there’s no safe place from his annoying attacks. At least the Apprentice is pretty cool with his crazy air combos, if you can ignore the fact that he shouldn’t be in a game about sixteenth-century swordfighting.

Once you’ve fiddled with all the characters and your friends have gone home, you’ll probably turn to the game’s new modes, and here Soulcalibur’s swapped the usual battle-across-the-world Story mode for a more conventional fight-loads-of-enemies option. Known as The Tower of Lost Souls, the premise is simple: you pick one, two or three fighters and use them to tackle a gang of custom-designed AI opponents with unique characteristics. You can instantly tag your characters in and out and tactical thinking is critical. The Tower is also a handy introduction to the game’s new ability system, enabling characters to specialise in different abilities. These vary from the almost useless – Appeal makes you better at fighting characters of the opposite gender, but worse against same-sex opponents – to game-winningly helpful. In the upper stages of the Tower it’s taken to the extreme: on level 20 you’re up against a character who can’t be thrown, dishes out damage and recovers her own health with every parry… and who parries automatically.

Alternatively, you might fight a character who dishes out a lot of hurt with every strike and has an increased chance of blocking strong attacks. This is the sort of thing you’ll need to bear in mind while you’re creating characters to use in Special Versus mode. Calibur’s got beautifully balanced fighting, astonishing graphics, swathes of stuff to tinker with and the best clothes-smashing physics ever. Is that enough to secure top beat-‘em-up status? Well, yes. Purists will explain that Virtua Fighter offers greater tactical possibilities, but they’re missing the point: Pai Chan isn’t as cute as Talim, beaches aren’t as exciting as pirate ships and being a bloke in pajamas can’t compete with playing a patricidal knight with a living sword that’s the embodiment of evil. Enjoy your time in the limelight, Soulcalibur – soon you’ll have to defend your title against Tekken 6 and Street Fighter IV.

Jul 29, 2008

More Info

Release date: Jul 29 2008 - PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Genre: Fighting
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Namco
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:
16+: Violence

5 comments

  • Tomkins - April 6, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    Me and my girlfriend have hours of fun playing against each other, the online is good. And the character customization can be really good, letting you make pretty much anyone you want. My girlfriend has made most of the X-Men.
  • yaanyfizzle - October 25, 2008 1:52 p.m.

    maybe im getting old but continuously slapping the same 2 buttons at the same time and defeating every opponent i face is just not my idea of fun, roll on sf4.I feel like an idiot for buying this game
  • assaultjoker - September 2, 2008 10:15 p.m.

    i dont like those jst battle games were u only go one on one unless this game has a story to it
  • Oxfordcomma4 - March 16, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    I soooo love soulcaliber... SCII was awesome, Legends sucked... list goes on Captcha: 10-year-olds Truce
  • sakboy97 - February 17, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    wayyy better than SF4 :D

Showing 1-5 of 5 comments

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