Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny – hands-on

Okay, it’s pretty. It’s very, very pretty. Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny is so good-looking that we can’t even say, “It looks good for a portable game.” The game looks good for a Dreamcast game, it looks good for a PS2 game – heck, we’ve seen plenty of Wii games that look cheap by comparison.

Namco has said that one goal of Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny is to hook beginners and novice players on the Soul series. Well, yeah, we can tell: while Broken Destiny isn’t a straight port, nearly every move, character and arena was already present in Soulcalibur IV. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing; SC IV was just as well-crafted as the other games in the Soul series, and amazingly, not a lot is lost in the transition to Broken Destiny, at least not in terms of control and presentation. So long as you’re used to using a d-pad in any previous Soulcalibur game, we doubt you’ll have much trouble grasping the PSP control setup – it’s got basically the same layout as a PS2 controller, anyway.

There’s no Yoda or Vader in this installment, of course. The guest-character carrot this time around is none other than the poster boy for PlayStation violence himself, Kratos. He’s been de-gorified to fit with Soulcalibur’s watered-down take on heavy-weapon injury - watch as he swings the Blades of Chaos (Athena?) through an opponent’s skull and all the way down his spine, only to have the opponent fall over without a single drop of blood shed. Not that we’rezipper-techfanatics or anything, but we found some of Kratos’ moves almost comical due to their lack of appropriate levels of gore. Still, everyone’s favorite god-killer looks like he’s supposed to, plays like you’d expect (a little overpowered due to his stupidly long reach), and has all the fanservice-y trappings the Soul series loves to lavish on its guest characters, such as unlockable costumes, excellent voice acting (provided by T.C. Carson, voice of the original Kratos) and unique special moves.

Take a look: