tonicmole's Soul Calibur IV (Xbox 360) review

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Almost everything you would want.....and boobs!

Soul Calibur 4 gets off on all the right feet and does a damn good job of bringing the fighter genre into the current generation of consoles.

Graphically it is easily the best game out there. From effects to animations SC 4 excels in big ways as you would expect from the franchise. Every character in the game shows off amazing attention to detail and a fluid animation system that brings it all to life. If you want proof look at the hairs on Yoda's head, LOOK AT THEM!! Once you wrap that all up with amazing lighting and visual effects you have a master piece. This is much more then the HD upgrade in Dead or Alive 4.

Gameplay wise you basically get SC. If you liked it before you'll like it now. It's been tweaked a little, but all in all the same idea. One thing has been added, just not very well. It's called the soul gauge. It basically restricts how much you can block. Block too much and the opponent can destroy your armor and then do a finishing move that KO's you instantly, problem is, you will never get that far cause it takes so long to deplete the gauge and then even longer to bust the armor that you'll have beaten them old fashioned style long before it comes to that. The best part of SC 4 is the character creator, but this time it is almost a must due to the fact that it really matters what armor you wear. You can literally shuffle skills and armor for hours to get the perfect fit for your gameplay style. The modes feel a bit more lacking then the last entry due to the streamlining of the whole thing down to online multiplayer, versus, story mode, and arcade mode.   The modes get the job done, but a wider variety could have lessoned the frustration you'll feel once you've played through all the story modes and are tired of arcade.  The online holds little surprises ,but is still the best online fighting to be seen on any console. The story mode is a short affair having only 5 stages but each stage has up to 3 enemies that you must fight consecutively. This is basically the main back bone of all modes. You now rarely fight only one character, rather you fight 3 to 4 in a row with one health bar. The last mode is the Tower of Lost Souls. This gives you the option to "Ascend or Descend" fighting a wide array of characters. If you achieve specific secret goals you can open up special armor or gold. The Tower starts out good enough, but the difficulty sharply cuts you down around the 12 floor, and becomes plain unfair around the 20th level, and descending is actually a survival mode, which is usually one of my favorite modes, but this time around the intense difficulty make survival,....less survivable. It would have been much wiser to give a little more on this mode since it makes up a majority of the gameplay. Few will reach the upper floors or even the mid floors for that matter. Though it lacks the amount of varied modes that SC 3 had it is still the largest fighters on the current consoles, and will probably stay that way until SC 5.

I also wanted to point out an odd fact. SC 4 has a TEEN rating, but is FAR more sexual and violent then that of it's M rated counter part DOA 4. Jiggly women in there under wear and swords some how slipped under the radar.  On top of that, as you fight your characters clothing will actually be knocked off leaveing them in their underpants.  I personally don't care. I think the T rating is fair, but it brings to question why DOA 4 earns a M for MUCH less sexual and violent content.

In the end SC 4 is a terrific game ,but is missing a strong narrative and primary game mode which leaves you wanting more around 3 to 4 hours in.  If you are a fighting game fan then this is a must have, if not, you still should check it out.
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