Xbox One | 360 | XBLA  PS4 | PS3 | PSN  Wii U | VC    3DS  PS Vita  iOS    PC    Retro    


  » news
  » reviews
  » previews
  » cheat codes
  » release dates
  » screenshots
  » videos

  » specials
  » interviews

  » facebook
  » twitter
  » contests

  » games list
  » franchises
  » companies
  » genres
  » staff
 

Which game will you play the most this month?

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
Halo The Master Chief Collection
Super Smash Bros for Wii U
LittleBigPlanet 3
Assassins Creed Unity


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
9.6
Visuals
9.5
Audio
8.5
Gameplay
10
Features
9.0
Replay
10
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 Genno  on September 10, 2003

Full Review: "Hell's soldiers, girls with short skirts, and over 200 weapons! Sign me up!"


No more hype, no more demos, no more looking at still pictures, Soul Calibur II is finally here! The original Soul Calibur won very high acclaim and it sure helped to sell a lot of Dreamcast systems way back in 1999 but not even a great game like that could not save the old dream machine from the grim reaper in 2001. Because so many fans and critics loved Soul Calibur, Namco is making sure that nobody misses the experience this time around and here we have the big sequel for all three game consoles (Playstation2, Game Cube, and Xbox). Each version of the game is virtually identical upset for one exclusive character not found in the other copies. So who do we get? If you haven't already heard, the Xbox edition has comic book legend Spawn! Xbox owners can also expect the best looking version of the three thanks to that powerful engine. Can the new Soul Calibur be a cut above other fighters like Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance and Dead and Alive 3 or is the game doomed by its own hype?

The Soul Calibur II universe takes place in the late 16th century. The story focuses around a powerful but very cursed weapon called the Soul Edge which currently being held by the German man simply known as Nightmare. Nightmare originally wanted the sword to aid him on a mission to save his people from war but the sword turned him into an unholy monster and now he hunts down souls to please the hungry of the blade's eerie powers. Some of the warriors want the legendary sword to help them become even stronger; some want the glory of defeating the world's best fighters, while others just want to destroy Soul Edge to end its evil path of destruction. What you do with Soul Edge after you completed the game depends on the character you pick.

Most of the original Soul Calibur cast returns like Matsurugi the samurai, Voldo the blind sentry, Xianghua the royal guard, Maxi the master of the nun-chucks, and more. The only one missing is the once secret guy Rock but I bet no one will care about that generic loser anyway. There are a few new warriors joining the line up as well like Raphael the fencer with a technique new to the series, Tamin the young priestess with twin blades, Necrid: a man poisoned by Soul Edge's shards, Cassandra the younger sister of the missing Sophitia, and finally there is Hong Yunsung, a young man who wants the Soul Edge to earn respect. Once you picked one of the 15 default fighters (don't worry, Spawn doesn't need to unlocked first), you then must fight the other seekers of the cursed blade in one on one combat until you finally get the chance to fight the owner of Soul Edge. What makes Soul Calibur II different from other fighters like a Tekken or a Virtua Fighter is that all the characters use their own pacific weapon during the bouts.

If you're also a fan of Namco's Soul Calibur then chances are you were also a fan of Namco's earlier Soul Blade for the Sony Playstation. That game was the prequel to Calibur if you didn't already know? Soul Calibur was a great game and all but Soul Blade had many Playstation exclusive features I had wished were in Calibur. One example of this was that Soul Blade had an awesome ?Master Edge Mode' where all 10 characters battle in a cool story mode and earn new weapons on their journeys. Fortunately, Namco added a new ?Weapon Master Mode' to Soul Calibur II to please all us Soul Blade freaks now. On the surface, Weapon Master may look just like your standard Arcade game but there are several more things you do in here than in the other standard play modes. Weapon mode let's you fight various quest-like sceneries on a world map so it's possible to gain experience, earn gold, buy new weapons, and unlock secret features or new characters. Don't expect to breeze through this quest mode either because each mission may have a catch to the match like limited time, multiple opponents, booby traps arenas, poisoned weapons, and lots more. Although the story is the same for all the characters, the Weapon Master mode is still very addictive.

OK, Namco was kind enough to give us some decent modes like Arcade, Versus, Survival, Practice, and Weapon Master but how well does the game control? Unlike other fighting games out there you use your Dpad or Analog stick to circle around your enemy instead of using it to jump or duck in the traditional sense. This is called the 8-way run technique and it's a great way to surprise or confuse an opponent. If someone uses the 8-way run too much then cut them off by hitting them with a Horizontal Strike and if some one uses the Horizontal Strike a lot then try a Vertical Strike or Kicking Attack. The game has an ingenious control system and it works fine on the Xbox controller too despite some stiff buttons now and again. Once you learn this set up you'll be ready to go in no time.

One of the main reasons people loved the first Soul Calibur so much was because of the spectacular graphics. Soul Calibur II doesn't disappoint either for Xbox. If you loved the beautiful girls in Dead or Alive 3 wait till you see the females in this game. A good example of the sexiness of this game: Ivy Valentine's main costume is a very revealing dark purple dominatrix outfit (why she wears it I don't know) plus I love the ninja Taki and her very skin tight red number which I'm surprised got by the censors. Some of the guys also fight without shirts so there is something here for the girls too, I guess. Spawn himself has a cool looking axe with glowing green eyes and if you think that looks stupid then you can just easily buy another weapon to replace it. I think this is the first Spawn video game that doesn't suck? The Xbox version also has cleaner textures in the background then the Playstation2 game and the characters look less plastic-like then the Game Cube game as well. If you want the best looking version of Soul Calibur II then the Xbox game is the one to get.

Although Soul Calibur II looks very realistic, there is very little, if any, blood to be found here at all. Even though you're doing many deadly manoeuvres and strikes that would easily cut or decapitate somebody for real, you would not see anything overly gory here. The game still isn't very kid friendly especially when a vicious 6-foot monster like Astaroth is fighting away at a half naked 15-year-old girl (Tamin) who is only 5 foot tall but at least there isn't as much unnecessary over-the-top violence in other games like in Midway's popular Mortal Kombat series.

Although I love most of the traditional medieval style music here and some of the voices seem fine in the Arcade game, there are moments when the spoken dialogue feels out of place in the Weapon Master game. This is because the renamed opponents like an Edgar or Leana are still announced as the character they are copying. We also don't need an announcer describing your opponent in every match do we? It's just a little weird that's all.

Soul Calibur II would have rated even higher if it didn't look so similar to the first Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast, which was an awesome game to begin with, but some more evolution would have been nice. I also didn't like how the endings were just a couple of cheap looking pieces of non-coloured artwork with a short story instead of a Computer Generated movie or even the real time endings like in Soul Blade.

Bottom Line
To break it down: Soul Calibur II is still an simply amazing Fighting/Role Playing game with so much going for it. This weapon-based title is easy to learn, looks incredible, sounds great, it has a cool story, and most importantly its fun to play game with lots of replay value. You get it all in Soul Calibur II and it not only makes for one of the greatest games to come out this year, it's easily the best fighting game on the Xbox so far!


User Comments

Microsoft is Celebrating Xbox One’s First Anniversary With Giveaways


Destiny Expansion I: The Dark Below Prologue Video and Details Released


Tales from the Borderlands Behind The Scenes Video Released


Super Smash Bros for Wii U and Amiibos are Now Available in Stores


HBO Go App Now Available On Xbox One in the United States


Game of Thrones First Look Revealed by Telltale Games


Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Launch Trailer Released


Activision Releases Call of Duty: Heroes on iOS and Windows Store


Nintendo Download Highlights New Content Arriving On Wii U and 3DS


Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the Biggest Entertainment Launch of the Year






Home    •    About Us    •    Contact Us    •    Advertise    •    Jobs    •    Privacy Policy    •    Site Map
Copyright ©1999-2012 Matt Swider. All rights reserved. Site Programming copyright © 2004 Bill Nelepovitz - NeositeCMS