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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
Taldren
DEVELOPER:
Namco
GENRE: Fighting
PLAYERS:   1-2
RELEASE DATE:
August 27, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
Soul Calibur V

Soul Calibur V

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny

Soul Calibur IV

Soul Calibur IV

More in this Series
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on March 26, 2003

Updated Look: ?Transcending history and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold.?


It's been nearly four years since the launch of Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast and number one launch title, Soul Calibur ? which is arguably the greatest fighting game ever created, weapons-based or not. Namco took the awesome gameplay of the Soul Calibur arcade cabinet, threw in some of the finest visuals ever seen (the arcade version more or less ran off a slightly enhanced PSOne board), and enhanced it's replayability by adding in an all-encompassing mission mode that featured a bevy of unlockable features. No doubt about it, gamers were in absolute heaven on that magical date of 9/9/99. Well, I don't think I'd get too many arguments against the fact that waiting four years for a sequel to SC is a great injustice. As with any game of that quality, a sequel is usually very highly sought after (who here wants to wait till late 2005 for Halo 2? I didn't think so.), but finally, the successor, in the form of Soul Calibur II, has a set date and is on it's way to a console near you, and by the looks of things Namco is giving console gamers everything they could possibly ask for in a console fighter (except online play), and it's looking to be the first must own fighting game in a very long time. Let's take a look?

Okay, I'll admit it ? Soul Calibur II didn't have near the impact of Soul Calibur in the arcades. You can blame this on the faltering arcade community or the fact that maybe, just maybe, Soul Calibur II is a little too much like the original. Don't get me wrong here, as you can tell by my opening paragraph, I can't wait for this game's release. However, my experience with it in the arcades was accompanied with much d?j? vu, as the gameplay was almost virtually identical, though with its fare share of slight modifications. The game uses a four-button set-up ? two attacks (vertical and horizontal), a kick button, and a block, with the ability to perform two different throws by hitting the block button along with one of the two main attacks. The gameplay itself is actually pretty basic, as you and your opponent slug it out with your weapons (unique to each character) in an attempt to either drain your opponent of their life bar or knock them out of the ring. If successful in winning 2 out of 3 bouts you're the victor. Pretty basic stuff I'd say. Though, if Namco's history with fighters has shown us anything, we all know Soul Calibur II will offer so much more. Unprecedented character balance, an uncountable amount of different moves and combos, a ton of depth and just an overall cool factor that can't be touched are the things that will make this fighter stand above all the rest when it comes to gameplay.

As for the characters you'll be able to choose from, there's many returning faces in the form of Mitsurugi, Taki, Kilik, Xianghua, Maxi, Nightmare, Ivy, Cervantes, Voldo (why? Why?), Astaroth, and finally, Yoshimitsu, as well as brand new faces coming in the likes of the French, rapier using Raphael Sorel, the Chinese sword specialist, Hong Yunsung, Talim, a young Asian girl who sports a pair of Elbow Blades, and last but not least, the sister of Soul Calibur's Sophitia (and an almost exact body double), Cassandra Alexandra, who also sports a short sword and small shield like her big sis. Of course, we all know what's really going to make these console versions special from the arcade counterpart ? the special characters, of which are unique to each console. Gamecube has the infamous Link, from Zelda fame, the PS2 version has Tekken's Heihachi, and this Xbox version will feature arguably the best, and most fitting of the bunch ? Todd McFarlane's most popular creation ? Spawn, who is equipped with his big, bad Giant Axe of Death. Additionally, all 3 versions will get an original character, created by Todd McFarlane himself, who goes by the name of Necrid. All in all, we have one of the best fighting rosters around, complete with a ton of classic combatants, fresh faces, a comic book legend, and a special creation just for the home consoles.

In getting back with Namco's history with the fighting genre, they have always brought the goods when it comes to porting the game from the arcades into your home (Soul Calibur's Mission Mode anyone?). Seven different modes will be available here ? including Arcade, Versus, Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle, Practice, and most important of all, a Weapon Master mode where you'll complete various missions and earn yourself up to 200 different usable weapons. Sounds like some impressive stuff, and once we get more info on the Weapon Mode we'll surely bring it to you.

Visually, Soul Calibur II is looking as gorgeous as it is unique. The character designs are awe-inspiring, fluid, and well detailed, as are the elegant, brand new environments you'll be mixing it up in. It's also a known fact that the Xbox version will look the best of the bunch, if ever so slightly, offering higher resolution graphics and support of 480p and 720p for those with high-definition television sets. Though, I feel I should point out the fact the that arcade game ran off the equivalent of a Playstation 2, so some of the visual quality will probably only be at that level. But overall it'll probably be hard to find any complaints on this otherwise graphically striking title.

Final Thoughts
Soul Calibur II is currently set to make it's console debut on August 26th of this year, and if you're like me you got this baby already preordered and you're just counting down the days till it's arrival. Seriously, this is the type of game that could make even non-fighting fans drool in anticipation. With tons of characters and modes of play, unbelievable gameplay, and an impressive look and feel, Soul Calibur II should prove to be the best fighter of the year. Look for more info and a review soon to follow.


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