Nov 28, 2007
Bringing Soulcalibur's weapon-based brand of fighting to the Wii seems like an obvious choice; the series is all about swinging and slashing with a variety of death-dealing devices, and the Wii's motion-sensing tech practically puts those weapons in your hands - sort of. The thing is, Namco Bandai has traded the one-on-one fighting game focus of a traditional Soulcalibur game for a shallow hack-'n'-slash, action/adventure offering. The result is a mildly entertaining, but variety-starved Wiimote-waggling affair that'll have you sweating more than a Wii Sports tennis marathon.
To be fair, the controls work pretty well. Despite the absence of deep fighting mechanics in favor of near-constant Wiimote-waving, you will get the tactile sense that your hand-flailing acrobatics are accurately translating to the on-screen action. Slash left or right and your avatar follows suit; thrust the Wii-mote forward, and a heroic jab to your adversary's midsection plays out in-game. A nice lock-on camera also keeps the focus on the fight.
It's all fun for awhile, but the Wiimote-as-sword novelty starts to wear thin when you realize that's pretty much the extent of the game's appeal. Staples of the action/adventure genre - platforming and puzzling - are few and far between, levels and enemies are maddeningly repetitive, and the visuals, aside from cool character designs - especially some screen-filling bosses - are drab and lacking detail. As a competent and satisfying action/adventure title it just falls way short, amounting to little more than a one trick, Wiimote-waving pony.
The franchise's most faithful fans should enjoy revisiting some of their favorite fighters, and Wii owners in general might appreciate the sword-swinging excitement; it is a nice change of pace from the Wii's cluttered line-up of sports and minigame titles. Also, if your muscles aren't too sore after the campaign, 2-player versus and co-op extend the experience a bit - and ensure your arms will collide with your play partner's at least once. Soulcalibur Legends does offer some solid hack-'n-slash gaming that'll also make for a nice Wii tech demo to show your non-gaming friends and family over the holidays. But in the end, the title's appeal will likely expire before that half-drunk carton of egg nog sitting in your fridge.