I’ve always liked the Soul Calibur games because they offer something different to the usual fighting systems of games such as Street Fighter. The vertical and horizontal attacks mixed with the ability to dodge and run around opponents in 3D space works well and the characters are pretty cool to boot, my favourites being the pirate Cervantes and Voldo, the undead dude who looks like he enjoys fetish clubs. Soul Calibur V refines this fighting system even more with some gorgeous graphics and animations and a guest character in the form of Ezio from the latest Assassin’s Creed games.
As most fighting games go there game modes you’d expect in there including arcade, versus and quick battle, but the main campaign story mode concentrates on a guy called Patroklos who’s been entrusted with the Soul Calibur sword and who must defeat Knightmare with his Soul Edge sword and also try to rescue is sister Pyrrha from her malfested possession. Stories are told via a mixture of drawings on parchment and some stunning pre-rendered visuals as well. To be honest, it’s not a very engaging one and you may find yourself skipping the storybook scenes just to get into the action and fight the next unfortunate dude who’s about to meet the sharp edge of your sword. You don’t always play as Patroklos though. As the story twists and turns you play as other folk as well which mixes things up a bit.
Character creation is back but this time there is much more you can alter, including the height and build of your character. You can store a few of these and then call them into action with a default character’s fighting style both offline and online as well.
When fighting, the main new thing you’ll notice is the Critical Edge system, which builds up as you fight and can then be used to pull off a super combo. Get this right and you can knock a massive chunk off your opponent’s health and it looks pretty cool while you do it as well.
Soul Calibur V is one of those games that gives you more back if you spend more time with it, learning the combos and nuances thoroughly in the practice mode. Take it online and starting beating people and it can become incredibly addictive. You can even compare your licence with others and log rivals so you can keep an eye on their progress and try to beat it. It works for EA with Autolog and Battlelog so there’s no reason this won’t be just as addictive.
Personally I don’t have enough ninja skills to take it online and the story mode didn’t grab me as much as Mortal Kombat’s lengthy seamless tale. It’s good, but it’s not my favourite fighting game so it gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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