To create your free account, please enter your email address and password below. Please ensure your email is correct as you will recieve a validation email before you can login.

Email:
Nickname:
Password:
Confirm Password:
Weekly newsletter:
Daily newsletter:

To log in to your account, please enter your email address and password below:

Email:
Password:
Forgot your password?

To reset your password, please enter your email address below and we will send you a link to reset it.

Email:
Submitted by Chris Leyton on August 5 2008 - 12:40

Giant swords and lightsabers clash with the return of Soulcalibur on PlayStation3 and Xbox 360...

Whether right or wrong, Soulcalibur IV's legacy will be remembered for its continuity-breaking partnership with LucasArts far longer than it will as an engaging and accomplished fighter on the PlayStation3 and Xbox 360.

Available right from the start, Star Wars fans can get their socks off with the choice of Darth Vader or Yoda (depending on format), with the Secret Apprentice popping up later on. Personally, we're still slightly reluctant to accept it (Lord Vader would never twirl his saber in celebration), but with a starring appearance it seems Namco are more than happy to keep the cameos of Soulcalibur 2 still burning.

Marking the series' debut on PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 (before an arcade version is even in view), Soulcalibur IV is in many ways the same formula that fans have adulated over since the series arrival on the Dreamcast way back in 1999. Tremendous warriors from across time (and seemingly space) collide in a clash of oversized weapons and a story of two majestic blades.

Out With The Old...

Despite the obvious similarities, Soulcalibur IV does attempt to introduce a handful of new ideas that defy what's typically expected from a fighter sequel. Although we'd probably sit here moaning about the lack of innovation if Namco had just given us the same old game, we're of the opinion that many of the new features simply feel as though they've been implemented for that exact reason.

The Soul Gauge is the major new addition, changing between blue, green, and red depending on how much you attempt to block or attack during a fight. Bashing away at an opponent until their Soul Gauge is empty allows you to briefly mash the face buttons to unleash a Critical Finish move bringing an end to the fight there and then. Soulcalibur IV also introduces armour grouped into Head, Upper Body, and Lower Body, which can be destroyed under a barrage of attacks or a powerful move.

The idea behind these new features appears to be to deter players from blocking too much and playing defensively (unless of course you like seeing the fighters stripped down to the basics). However, Soulcalibur has never really been noted for it's emphasis on elegant or precise defensive play, it's exaggerated, over-the-top, fighting and that's what makes it so fun, it's not exactly Virtua Fighter or Streetfighter III 3rd Strike! Skilful dodging, parrying, and blocks have never been a primary focus for the series, and as such the opportunity for these new techniques is so restricted that they're barely even noticeable. Ring Outs still reign supreme!

The Soul's Still Burning

Despite the new features, Soulcalibur IV is still Soulcalibur. It's still a relatively lenient fighter when it comes to the controls and timing, meaning it's a game that everybody can enjoy and be reasonably good at instead of just the fanatics. Whether that's a good or bad depends on where you sit with fighters.

Intensifying Soulcalibur's already pretty extreme tempo is the inclusion of instantaneous tag-team switches and no breaks between rounds. Although there's no scope for tag-team moves, the fast tempo suits Soulcalibur and you'll certainly come to rely on it during the Story and Tower of Lost Souls modes.

The character line-up is the biggest we've seen in a Soulcalibur title, mixing past favourites with a handful of new faces (and of course Yoda, Darth and his Secret Apprentice). Such a considerable roster provides plenty of scope for variety amongst the combatants, from the hulking brute Azeroth to the delectable charms of a re-invented Amy. Many of the returning characters have also had a significant overhaul to almost feeling entirely new.

Aside from the customary Arcade mode (strange seeing there's no arcade version at present) and the short Story mode where you fight through a handful of stages to discover the story of each character, Soulcalibur IV introduces an all-new Tower of Lost Souls mode for the majority of its single-player fun.

Fighting through stage after stage while ascending or descending the titular tower, Tower of Lost Souls provides plenty of engaging permutations that spice up the fight, intensify the challenge, and house lots of extras to unlock upon successfully completing the winning conditions (defeat an enemy with a ring out, switch characters twice). The series has made a name for offering creative takes on the staple fighting gameplay, and whilst Tower of the Lost Souls offers plenty of replay value and variety, the offering seems a little tame compared to past examples such as Soulcalibur 3's Chronicles of the Sword and it's a shame there's no attempt to run a concurrent narrative.

Character Creation 2.0

Expanding upon the character creation and customisation options available in the series last outing, Soulcalibur IV takes the bar and knocks it into the heavens like a mighty blow from Astaroth's giant axe. No longer restricted to generic character types, there's a plethora of armour and weapons to adorn your creation with, all of which have an affect on their attributes and fighting style. Skills also play a part, allowing perks such as health regeneration or soul gauge damage, although their use is balanced by their cost on four separate attributes - all of which increase in an RPG manner. If this is the type of thing to tickle your fancy, then you'll probably loose days creating characters from scratch, adjusting every little detail from the pitch of their voice to the size of their muscles, but the attribute advantages also make the feature worthwhile for progress in the Tower of Lost Souls.

Soulcalibur IV is also the first title in the series to offer online play across Playstation Network and Xbox Live. Although it's hard to make a call on the long-term popularity, the few online bouts we engaged in were fun, fast and relatively lag free. Admittedly fighting purists are still never going to be convinced (although purists probably shouldn't be playing Soulcalibur in the first place), but for the countless others the online modes provide extra longevity to a game already bustling with content.

If you wish to link to this article, here's a permalink to this page:

  • Graphics: 85%
     
  • Sound: 85%
     
  • Gameplay: 88%
     
  • Originality: 74%
     
  • Longevity: 74%
     
Overall Score: 8/10
Despite the new gameplay features failing to change Soulcalibur's gameplay, Soulcalibur IV still manages to provide one of the most engaging and rewarding fighters around - plus Darth and Yoda aren't entirely that bad.

TVG Store - Finding you the cheapest price for:

SoulCalibur IV

Comment

Sign Up and Post with a Profile

Join TVG for a free account, or sign in if you are already a member. You can still post anonymously.

Log in using Facebook

Respect Other Members

Please respect other users, post wisely and avoid flaming... Terms & Conditions

 

Pages:
  • 1
  • 2
  • Next
User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 12th Aug 2008 22:45, Post No: 13

sugar ACE. Absolutely love the game, and I'm a non-gamer. Only bought a PS3 because I was bored.


By: khaoskandy

Added:Fri 01st Aug 2008 07:43, Post No: 12

I have always enjoyed playing soulcal, and am sure this game will be fun to play as well. The story doesn't really matter in a game like this. Also, what exactlly can make someone a "good gamer" vs being a "bad gamer" I mean, what can make you think someone you don't know is a bad gamer or gives gamers a bad name?


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 18th Jul 2008 02:57, Post No: 11

verry curious to see what this game brings to the table


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 10th Jul 2008 06:05, Post No: 10

anyone have a comprehensive character roster...? Kratos on PS3 available to play as well???


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:29, Post No: 9

If you think Dead or Alive was dull you are RIGHT. The whole series is DULL. Mortal Kombat has more moves in it's moves list. As a matter of fact. That series is for non-gamers who play games to see the graphics. Soulcalibur, on the other hand, is for REAL GAMERS who hate people that BUTTON MASH instead of tryin to LEARN the moves.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 25th Jun 2008 15:14, Post No: 8

Man. You guys. Are you guys really gamers. Are you even Soulcalibur fans. This is the exact reason why there are no good games. The people making the games are getting the wrong input from true non-gamers. Soulcalibur 4 will be the best fighting game made to date. Adding the Star Wars characters was a good move. King Arthur and excalibur would also tie in great with this game. Hmm. Since he is a LEGEND/Folk story/myth/etc......."Transending HISTORY;a LEGEND of SOULS and SWORDS eternaly retold....


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 21st Jun 2008 01:40, Post No: 7

I belive you mean square is horizontal attacks and triangle is verticle right?


By: SegaBoy

Added:Mon 09th Jun 2008 23:56, Post No: 6

Yes we've played with them; no they don't work - and I'll be interested to see what you think come September when the force will well and truly be unleashed...


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sat 07th Jun 2008 02:59, Post No: 5

I'm not bored enough to crawl through this site's archives to see what their position was last batch of tie-ins this franchise produced. I agree with the previous sentiments of these guys making a story out of nothing. The Jar-Jar and Ewok references are poor journalism in my eyes. To each his own. Have they played as the character? It might be fun character to fight with. Even if we never heard of Star Wars, each of these characters would be exciting to play with in their own right. I personally am excited for the Star Wars game in Sept. I've read alot about the three engines they are using in that game, and how they got them to work together for what appears to be a nearly unique game with each playthrough. I'm curious as to how many games these so called "journalists" have designed and can they do much better? There are reasons why I don't rely on this sight for the bulk of my gaming knowledge. Mahalo.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 06th Jun 2008 18:26, Post No: 4

Oh brother that's ridiculous. If you don't like those characters don't play them and stop trying to come up with a story out of nothing. Lame.


Pages:
  • 1
  • 2
  • Next