Game Review: Soul Caliber 4
Release: July 29 2008
Developer: Project Soul
ESRB Rating: Teen
Soul Caliber 4 marks the fifth entry in this fighting series that started back on the Dreamcast and Playstation. The Soul series began like most fighting games, in an arcade waiting to eat your quarters. Once the arcades died here in America Soul Caliber had relied on its weapon base combat to hook gamers. I was hooked, but always angry about losing the in the game. Too many ring outs, and cheap combos. Does Namco do a better job here?
Soul Caliber sure is pretty on a High-Def television. It doesn’t do that bad of a job on a standard television as well. The backgrounds come to life on the screen as parts of the ground get chipped away when some falls from the sky. One level even has animals on it which can be destroyed if someone lands on them. The characters as animations look great. Performing a critical finish look awesome, but someone has to block for most of the fight for that to happen. The one critical finish I pulled off was as The Apprentice, it was alright.
With original sounds and voices for all the characters it does get dull after awhile. Even with Star Wars music on the Star Wars levels this game is still mostly some sound that will get old after a while. Unless you play the game for about ten hours a day, the original sounds won’t be that much of a problem. Of course on the Xbox 360 version any music that gets old can be replaced by your own MP3 player or music on your 360.
There are a few modes of play. One where you have a select amount of characters you take with you can go up and down a tower fighting other fighters. Arcade mode which is going through eight fights, win them all, and then get ranked. Story mode is a five stage game, that isn’t that difficult. The story is some guy is going to be resurrected and you stop him. You don’t find that out until the last stage where you find him. Online play has two different types of modes, standard and special. Standard is a normal fight between two people with no add-ons taking effect. Special you can be fighting with all types of modifications on you. These modifications are made in the character creator mode.
Love them or hate them is all you can do. These controls are pretty hard to get the hang of. Some characters move slower or faster, moves as so share the same fate. You can have your guard broken at any point during a match. When it is broken and the gem at the end of the screen is flashing red, you can unleash the critical finish. Critical finishes are unblockable and cause an instant KO. Every once in a while I experienced an issue with a move not working out, but it isn’t anything that will destroy the experience. Just hamper it down a little bit.
Soul Caliber and I have a little issue in the replay area. I unlocked The Apprentice and was happy enough with that. It is time consuming to go through the tower of lost souls, simply because there are some cheap fights in there. Online is the main draw. Online fights are alright. Be warned though, there are plenty of cheap fighters out there. It is only day one and people found ways to cheat the system, what does that tell you. As of now (July 29, 2008 at 9:20 pm Arizona time) I am ranked 358th in special matches. I assume that will change soon enough. Replay suffers because there simply just are not enough things to do.
Paying sixty bucks plus tax and finding out the game has only so few modes will suck for those who don’t already know it. I would suggest a rental. Get familiar with soul caliber. I have played plenty of soul caliber games. This one ranks alright, simply because it won’t hold my interest for long. Darth Vader is rumored to be downloadable content later on. Will he be worth 500 Microsoft points?
Ross’ BOTTOM LINE:
I don’t know if I am going to buy this. The number one spot might make me buy a copy so I can keep. I have about fifteen achievements as of right now. They are not that hard to get. I see this as a transitional game. The main reason it is going to have so many buyers is most likely to be the Star Wars characters. Trust me that is why I rented it.