The soul still burns
Soulcalibur IV is the newest game of the perpetually misspelled, weapon based fighting series. The fighting is exactly what you would expect if you have played any other game in the series. It mainly focuses around blocking and parrying different weapons then exploiting your foe in their time of weakness. The wide variety of weapons covers anything from razor sharp katana to obnoxiously large diamond swords. With so many different types of weapons and fighting styles it remains unique from other fighters.
The single player portion of Soulcalibur IV is rather lack luster. The story is a series of five disjointed fights with an underwhelming pre rendered cinematic to cap it all off. You can easily beat this in 15 minutes which makes playing it almost completely pointless. The arcade mode is exactly what you would expect as well, eight fights strung together with no real purpose other than testing your skills. The only interesting mode to be found is Tower of Lost Souls. In this mode, you ascend said evil tower in an attempt to get to the top, fighting random enemies to get there. Alright maybe that’s the same idea as the other two modes. Overall the single player is exactly what you would expect and does nothing new or exciting.
In terms of the rooster, Soulcalibur IV is really strong; the character list is large and diverse. With the large amount of fighters, the fighting styles vary enough that anyone can find a style can suit them. While all of the old favorites, like Mitsurugi and Nightmare, are back and ready to go Soulcalibur IV features Yoda and The Apprentice into the mix. As was the case in Soulcalibur II these guest characters don’t fit very well into the overall continuity of the rooster. Especially Yoda, due to his obvious height issue you can’t hit him with high strikes or throw him. This makes him extremely annoying to face and makes you almost invincible when you play as him. While the new comers are a questionable addition, the most perplexing thing about the rooster is what was done to all of the female characters. Ivy and Taki are the main offenders. There is nothing with putting a sexy lady in your game but Soulcalibur takes the line of decency clubs it over the head and then snaps it in half. We get it women have boobs, get over it.
If you are not satisfied by the present rooster you can create your own from scratch; or you can tweak an existing character. The amount of customizable aspects for your fighters appearance is mind boggling. The sheer amount of items made my head spin when I first looked. All of the equipment you put on have different stats associated with them which would encourage you to pick the best armor but when you do that you end up looking like a complete fool. The game could have done a better job of making different items mesh together. As it is now, you either have to go for a cosmetically pleasing fighter or an idiotic character with the best stats.
Graphically Soulcalibur IV is a feast for your eyes. All of your characters are extremely detailed and animate extremely well. The fluidity of the fighting is plain stunning. The arenas you fight in have had the same attention the fighters had. Your battle grounds range from a pirate ship, arctic tundra, or the deck of the death star. Short of the obnoxious breast graphics, Soulcalibur is the best looking fighter to come out yet.
Online play is a new addition for the Soulcalibur series. I’ve played a decent amount of matches. For the most part the actual fights are lag free. Of course since we are not yet aware of the awesome power of internet 3.0 there is still lag present. You can play strait up verses with the default characters or you can bring your customized online and play as well. Overall is online portion is well executed and as long as the community remains, it’s a worthwhile addition to the series.
Overall Soulcalibur IV is a competent fighter that remains true to what the series has been come to known by. There is nothing remarkable about Soulcalibur IV but then again there is nothing wrong with a polished version of what you already have. If you want a weapon based fighter then there is no better choice then Soulcalibur IV.