A solid fighting game
Soul Calibur IV is the next game in the now five game long series. One of the greatest thing about the Soul series is it's one of the only weapon based fighting game. If you are familiar to the series you will know basically what to expect. A lot of the charecters such as Ivy and Mitserugi make there return while new characters like Hilde, a spear wilding knight, is added to the roster.
In terms of mechanics they added a new feature that is desinged to stop turtlers the soul gauge. The soul gauge is a colored jewel nex to the health bar that goes from blue to red the more you block and back to blue when you land hits on the opponent. When the jewel get far enough into the red it starts to flash and another blocked srong attack by the apponent will put them in a vunerable state. Then the player can preform a one-hit kill move. This system works to prevent turtlers but the change from blue to red is gradual enough rarely any games in in a one-hit kill.Beside the soul gauge system, everything you would expect has returned, such as guard impacts and breaks. Some charectes have had moves added or removed and some remapped but everything I've noticed has been for the sake af balance. Also some charectes have had there speed changed, such as Nightmare, who is now the fastest of the heavy charecters. Most changes are sublte and you likly won't be disapointed when you pick up you old favorite charecter again.
The games has a enough game play modes to keep you entertained. The story mode is pretty short for each charecter and lacks what one can call a "story" so don't expect to be amazed. Arcade mode is what you would expect, eight rounds, timed, fight til the end. The single player shines in the Tower of Lost Souls, which is conists of groups of 1-3 floors in sort of a challenge mode. There is also nomal 1on1 vs. mode for you and your freind locally or online. Online seems solid in what little I played.
Charecter creattion is fine but lacking. You chose a stlye of an existing charecter, throw on some armor and choise a premade face and your off. The best part is you can link skills to your charecter such as auto-impacting and preventing ring-outs. You can also do this to the already existing charecters so most people won't even use there own charecters and for competative your just going to be using the defaults anyway.
Lastly is the addition of the Star Wars charecters. I was surprised to see how well they fit in with the rest of the crew. As long as you can't stop thinking, "How come I didn't slice threw his blade," than you'll be fine. The force powers are present and the charecters have and extra force bar. The bar is limited enough and the moves blend well that they aren't anymore over powered than moves you can do with the Soul Calibur cast.
If you like the previous Soul Caliburs than chances are your going to like this, if you don't this won't change your mind. If you've never played one than rent it, give it a try.