on February 3, 2012
This game is a huge disappointment. Save your money read this review to know why you won't be happy if you buy this game.
Story mode: It took me about an hour to complete story mode. You'll note that the story mode only involves a handful of characters. the rest are omitted, you only get to fight on a handful of stages. The few characters that do make an appearance sometimes having as little as a single line of dialogue. But for the most part, almost the entire cast of Soul Calibur is not in the 'story mode'. Wow! Big effort on Namco's part. Also, there are approx. 3 cut scenes in story mode. The rest is a series of pencil drawings. Yeah, I prefer pencil drawings on my 60" 1080P HDTV. Thanks Namco for taking me back to 1996, oh and charging me full price for a 'new' game. Honestly pencil drawings... it's almost as if Namco scanned the storyboard pencil drawings that should have become CG video or even in-game-engine sequences and decided "Nah, we're too cheap to do anything worthwhile in story mode. Let's use these pencil drawings instead." Oh, I almost forgot, you're going to hear a LOT of "I love you brother" and "I love you sister" and "I love you mother" in the brief-story mode. Not only do you get to hear those words, you get to READ them too. Why? Because you can unlock the text descriptions too. Because that is SO much more fun than unlocking katas (e.g.SC2), different gameplay modes (e.g. SC3) and ending movies (e.g. SC4).
Arcade mode: Remember how cool it was to pick your favourite character, pick their 1P, 2P or even 3P costume, select their diverse weapon set? Then play through arcade/story mode and unlock their 'ending movie'? Yeah, that was great, fun and rewarding. But guess what Namco did? They removed that part of the game. Yes, no story mode for the remaining characters in the game. Also all the character endings are all now gone. Plus, there is no option to view the cutscenes, all 3 of them. That's right, they removed all the endings that we have been used to for over 10 years and have been a staple in all fighting games. Want to know what happened to Astaroth? Raphael? Amy? Taki? or Cervantes? Good luck, because all that is missing from this game. What did they replace it with? You get a sad arcade mode where you fight 6 times. Yippie! Because that is *so* much better than full CGI endings (sarcasm). Oh, I forgot they added a 2nd arcade mode. What is different about it? Well you get to fight 6 times (sound familar?) and... The difficulty is higher. Wow what a rip-off. You know even SF2 had ending movies, so did MK1... and how long ago was that? We've got HDTVs, 3D games, lossless high-def master audio surround sound and what does Namco give us? pencil drawings and text descriptions of "Loves his sister, can't wait to live with her". WTF?
Chronicles of the Sword/Tower of Souls: GONE. Replaced with... ??? Nothing. It is just gone. That means you have arcade mode (fight 6 times), training mode (which is worthless), and versus mode (which doesn't work properly). Oh wait, you can fight online.... except you could already do that in SC4 and it was very fast and fluid then. (complainers of online-SC4 need to quit using their 128Kb 'high-speed' internet) :)
Recycled: Yes, sound effects, graphics, even stages are often reused from previous games (e.g. SC4). You'll see a lower quality stage (recycled) and occasionally a new stage. But if you want something new, expect to pay a premium. 3 DLC packs are scheduled for Feb.2012. Oh, and if you think you are getting a ton of content in each one... think again. How does 3 pieces of clothing sound per pack? Yeah, it sounds like a rip off. If you want something old? Like a favourite character or perhaps that one special BGM? Well now you gotta pay for it through DLC. That is IF Namco decides to release it. Soul Calibur-Good-value-for-your-money? GONE.
Reduced: Less characters. Taki, Sohitia, Zalzamel, Kilik, Cassandra, Talim, etc., etc are all missing. To make you feel better you get 3 characters that are mimics (copy other styles), so if you think you are getting 3 new characters... you are not, they just copy from the existing roster. You have 2 characters that have virtually identical styles based on Sophitia (son & daughter), so while that would seem to be an additional 2 new characters, it's essentially a clone of one another. So let me see, that makes 5 character that sort of copy other characters... suddenly the roster doesn't look that big...
Museum Mode/Gallery mode/photo mode/Kata mode: Gone, Gone, Gone and GONE. Replaced with: Nothing.
Create a character (CaC: Somehow the graphics of this are worse than the last version. Perhaps it is because so much content is recycled, and it really stands out compared to the new textures. Oh, and you have wayyy less items to select from. A good example is the footwear/socks. Another example is the number of pre-built outfits. SC4 had a good variety available as soon as you booted up the game, but SCV? Sorry, now you have to pay extra for a bikini top (Feb. 2012 DLC pack) But you can have a white feather stick out of your head... Also, remember how much fun it was to modify the 2P costumes of each character? Yeah me too. Anyway Namco decided to remove that also. Remember how you could USE the 2P costume on different create a characters? GONE. Likewise, you could select different stages when you were making your character.. GONE. Pick different weapons... GONE. Certain equipment gave stat boosts? GONE.
Single player: Guess what? All standard modes like time attack, team battle, tower of souls, chronicles of the sword, survival, ARCADE mode, gallery mode, etc. ARE ALL GONE. That means you have nothing left to do in single player mode. This stands out since previous SC games had a strong single player component (i.e. SC2). Recall how you could use your favourite character and level them up by playing a variety of matches? How cool it was to have reached level 10 with every character? Which led to further unlockables and rewards in-game... Guess what? GONE.
2-Player: Good luck trying to get this working. It took over 10 minutes to get a simple versus match setup. Oh, and both players were sitting IN THE SAME ROOM. Sad Namco, really sad. Also remember how userful it was to have the ability to handicap your character compared to your opponent? i.e. in soul calibur 4 you could give yourself 1/2 health and your little brother could have double health. This would help to even out matches where one player is less skilled, that was really useful and a staple in fighting games. Guess what? GONE.
Training: You know how fighting games give you a rundown of all the new combat features and an explanation of how to use them? Isn't it great to have this info? I thought so too. Namco decided not to provide it. I'd love to learn all about the 'edge' implementations in matches, too bad Namco couldn't be bothered to include it, yet they tout it as one of the main features of this 'game'. Contrast that with SC4 which provided a description of the new gameplay changes. I guess Namco couldn't be bothered to copy some text into the game to help out players. Oh wait! They do have text... yes they do provide lots of text about love....(More of that later). Training mode is also reduced compared to earlier games. You know simple things like button input and tutorial modes helped you to master your character.. guess what? Gone.
Unlockables: Remember how we used to be able to collect stuff like artwork, concept art, music, weapons, movies, opening CGI sequences (complete with inserting your CaC into those sequences), BGM, kata (demonstration) mode and all sorts of other fun stuff? Well That is all gone too. But you CAN unlock things like these wonderful TEXT descriptions. E.g. I just unlocked "Loves his sister." Wow, that is great Namco. A... piece of text? What can I do with it? I can have it appear next to my gamertag when I play online. Wow.... that is supposed to be better than having Taki or Sophitia in the game? RIP OFF!!!
Weapons: Remember how you could unlock cool weapons, costumes, stages and armour for your character? Gone. But you can unlock text like "Loves her brother". Want to check how far along you are with your unlocking progress? Want to see how many stages you have unlocked and how many remain? Guess what? Gone.
Moves: Remember how some character had all these cool stances which could affect gameplay/strategy? Gone. A few stances remain, but most are stripped out. Remember how cool it was to learn and practice Taki's possession stances? Master all the variations? Gone. Taki is Gone. Training mode is stripped of its helpful tutorials, especially for gameplay changes. Taki's moveset is now stripped down. What about Ivy's snake sword, how you could transform it into several different versions? Gone. Ivy becomes a character stripped down to a button mashing character. She used to be for expert level players, but now... GONE.
Graphics: Remember the days when in a versus match you could see your higly detailed character's portrait presented in a very large size opposite your opponent while the match was loading? You could marvel at the wonderful graphics or even admire the details on your very own custom character? Sometimes you could make your character say a variety of taunts? Gone. It's replaced with a tiny playing card, on the face on that tiny card is a tinier picture of your character. Wow! I bet you feel like this is money well spent! Yet Namco touts this as an exciting new feature, a benefit of using 'photo mode', which in fact was my suggestion to Namco via Twitter. But they screwed that up, instead of letting you save pictures of your CaC to share with others (my suggestion)... now you got this.... playing card. :(
Sound: If you like to hear the same sound effects, BGM of previous games you will love this because a lot of it is recycled. You know how cool it is when they record new voices, sounds, effects and music for a NEW game, like in Mortal Kombat? Gone. Expect many recycled sounds. Especially the 'continue' screen.
Options: You'll note there is no 3D support like Arkham City or Assassin's creed. Remember how you could change your time limits for rounds, where you could select 'infinite' time limit for a round, have those bitter fights to the finish? Yeah I remember them too. GONE. Namco decided to implement a maximum limit of 60 seconds. Gee, thanks for giving me LESS options than I had before.
Collector's Box: Guess what? This game comes in a large case shaped like A BOOK. What do books have inside them? How about STORIES! Yeah stories... it's sad that Namco advertises this game as having a great STORY mode and the case is a large STORY BOOK and then... story mode is absolute garbage consisting of pencil drawings, loves-his-sister-mother-cant-stop-hugging-them... So... not sure what point Namco is trying to make with this? As for the art book, it doesn't actually have art of all the characters in this game... maybe they didn't feel like including them. You know, because why would you want an art book that has ALL the character's in the game you are trying to sell? Collector's-edition-is-awesome? GONE.
I've been playing the soul calibur, soul blade, soul edge series from the beginning and this is just a joke of a game. The sad part is that I explained to the producer (via Twitter) what went wrong with the last game. In fact, thousands of fans explained exactly what they wanted and didn't want in the game and the comments were fairly uniform (more story mode, keep favourite characters, lots of options, modes and new items for CaC). Sadly, they produced this. Do yourself a favour and pick up a game that gives you more not LESS. Mortal Kombat, Dead or Alive, etc. They are all worth your time and money but not this incomplete, reduced, reused and recycled over-priced piece of junk.
Disc: Remember how cool it is to install the game to your hard drive, not only is it faster to load, but it's less wear and tear on your optical drive and much quieter? Gone. Even when you install to the hard drive once you complete a match or even return to the main menu, it reads each and every time from the optical disc. Wow. Because that is sooo much better than the normal hard-drive-reading-operation of every other game, including SC4. What's the point of installing to the hard drive if the game continually reads from the optical disk all the time?
Fun: Remember how cool Soul Calibur was? Me too. Fun? GONE.