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XBLRadio Review – “Soul Caliber IV” (PS3)

As many of you know, on July 29, Soulcaliber IV was released on the current generation consoles. This game has been anticipated by many fighting game enthusiasts not only because of its weapon-based fighting, but also for its significant quality that was done in past Soulcaliber games. This marks the fifth title in the series (Soulcaliber Legends was a spinoff) to be released after it made its debut on the Dreamcast nine years ago. With the cast of characters, the unique fighting style, and the stunning graphics, it is not a bad game to pick up, despite the few problems the game may have.

If you are a fan of the series, you will know that there are a lot of characters to play with. For those of you that are new, there are over 30 characters to play with (some of the characters are copies) and several beautiful stages that you can interact with, oh, and we can’t forget about all of the special moves. Soulcaliber IV also has a large amount of unlockables that will keep you playing. This fourth installment also has numerous amounts of modes for you to play in, including the new online mode where you can challenge your friends over the Playstation Network.

Most fans of fighting games will be familiar with the standard Arcade and Story modes. Surprisingly enough, almost every character had their own story. The stories were short, 5 levels to be exact, but what was given to you was enough to work and be a solid story. At the beginning of each story there is a fair amount to read that sets up the story for you. After that, there really isn’t any cinematics (besides character introductions) to be watched except for the one before and after the final stage. After you beat the final stage and watch the final cutscene, there will be a short one or two line statement that you need to read that will tell you what happened to the character later on. The downfall to this is that you can run through a character’s story in the matter of 10 to 15 minutes. As for the Arcade mode, it’s exactly that. In this mode, you fight through 8 opponents without any interruptions by cutsenes, and at the end you get scored on how well you did and how quickly you did it in.

Another mode for single player play is called Tower of Lost Souls. You have two options in this mode; you can either ascend or descend the tower. I only played this mode twice just to check it out, but when you ascend the tower, you start off at the bottom and you have to fight your way through the floors to the top. Usually you face more than just one enemy per floor and it seemed that these enemies were stronger. Once you win the battle you move up to the next floor. Now if you fulfill certain conditions, you receive rewards for the Character Creation mode that I will cover in a little bit. When you choose to play the descending part, it is completely different. Basically you can select up to two characters to fight with. You fight tag-team style. Downfall is you’re stuck with these characters the entire way down. Once again, the enemies you fight are stronger and there are more of them. The upside to this tag-team battle down the tower is, when you switch out your character, the one on the sideline will regain his/her health.

Now let’s talk about the interesting part of the game, the Character Creator. This is similar to what was found in Soulcaliber III. Except this time, you can choose a character to mimic, and then customize away. You can practically change everything except for the weapon (you can’t change to a different weapon). You can change clothes, color of items, you can add jewelry that adds armor or health, and you can even upgrade the weapon to a more powerful one. Once you’re done, you can fight with that character in any one of the modes.

Now, I would talk about the multiplayer, but I really haven’t had the time to try it out yet. So, as soon as I get a chance to jump online and play this game on the PSN, I’ll write up a little multiplayer follow-up.

As far as controls, this game is a fighter, what do you expect? You have a horizontal strike, vertical strike, kick, and guard. Those are the basic controls. Now of course  you have controls that will either grab the opponent and do some fancy attack, or do some powerful attack. You move the character by using the either the left thumbstick or the directional buttons.  For the casual gamer, you have the basic controls, and for the advanced Soulcaliber fan, you have a lot more buttons to play around with and mash, which is ok because the graphics make up for the simplicity.

The graphics in this game are superb! The rich detail on all of the characters is just amazing! All the character animations seem to move very smoothly. I did not notice one thing out of place, or odd in this game. Backgrounds on the stages were rich with detail, but not nearly as much as the characters. The stages were some-what destructible. Mainly just the ground when you happen to slam your opponent into the ground. Back to the backgrounds really quick, the Star Wars background looks absolutely amazing! All that is going to be said is, you can see out of the hanger that you are in, enough said.

My thoughts on the game are to at least rent this game. Even if you’re not into fighting games, this game will keep your attention long enough to experience the core aspects and see the goodness of what it has to offer. Also, if you’re interested in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, there is a little bit of a teaser in this game. And pay attention to all the dialogue the Apprentice says, he gives away some teasers too. So pick it up, it will definitely be a good choice to have in your video game collection.

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