A step back for the series
-Great graphics and art direction
-Gameplay is solid
-Vast amount of character creation options
-Online is a fun and smooth experience
-Lacks many features from past Soul Caliber games
-Story mode is short
-Tower of Souls is weak and dull
-Lack of character creation classes and level up system is disappointing
Soul Caliber 4 is a game that is heavy on flash, but light on substance. While it takes a step forward, it takes another step back, resulting in a game that feels like a missed opportunity.
Similar to past Soul Caliber games, you choose from a variety of different fighters, all the familiar faces are here including a couple new ones. Each fighter has their own unique style of gameplay from power heavy hitters like Astaroth and Nightmare, to agile characters like Maxi and new comer Amy. The fighting mechanics are solid and the controls are flawless, it will take you a good amount of time to master each character as their move sets are very deep. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Soul Caliber 4's story mode, which feels more like a tacked on afterthought.
The story revolves around stopping the evil blade Soul Edge once again, with each character having their own motive, however the story mode is simply too short to stand on it's own. There is however another single player mode called Tower of Souls, in which the player either ascends or descends different rooms and faces various challenges. Unfortunately Tower of Souls also lacks depth and feels like nothing more than a dull exercise, you will get quickly get bored and not bother playing it again.
Fortunately Soul Caliber 4 has a solid online experience, which is a first for the series. Finding matches is an easy process, and the online gameplay is very smooth and free of lag. It's quite impressive to see how easy it is to transition from an offline match to an online, you can't tell the difference in quality, that's how smooth the online is. Soul Caliber 4 also boasts a character creation mode, much like it's predecessor. The customization options are vast, able to make virtually any kind of character you can imagine, however unlike Soul Caliber 3's character creator, Soul Caliber 4 merely let's you copy another fighters style.
Gone are the different classes and the level up system, you just choose another characters fighting style and that's it. This makes you feel like your character doesn't have his/her own identity, and due to not being able to level up in Soul Caliber 4, you never feel like your character is ever growing or getting stronger. From a visual standpoint, Soul Caliber 4 delivers. The character models are top notch and the lighting and environments are bold to look at. And quite gorgeous, thanks to the fantastic art direction. Textures are detailed and polished, easily one of the better looking games around. However great graphics do not make up for the lack of content and weak single player aspects.
Soul Caliber 4 had so much potential. It was the first Soul Caliber game on the next gen systems, the very thought is exciting. However Soul Caliber seemed to have lost it's way in this next-gen transition, and the end result is a game that is lacking.
Soul Caliber 4 get's a 3/5