digitalrailgun's Soul Calibur V (Xbox 360) review

Soul Calibur V

Hey guys here's my review of Soul Calibur V for Xbox 360. This review was originally posted on my maid blog but I wated to share it with every one here. Enjoy.

So I’m sitting around playing Soul Calibur 5, and here’s a great looking game. It’s visually stunning. I’m watching two fighters battle it out on the dust filled plains, the sun setting in the distance. White and yellow rays are reflecting off the two swordfighters armor making them look angelic. Blades meet each other in a spectacular array of red and blue sparks. Dry spiky tumbleweeds bounce lazily on the arid desert floor. In the distance there is a war happening. I can make out tiny battles between pike men on the horizon. More soldiers are struggling to bring down a war elephant. There is a break in the swordplay and both fighters stand apart. My warrior’s armor is intricately decorated, multi colored feathers lightly dance in the wind. I prepare to rush my enemy to deliver the final blow. It’s my fifth or sixth hour into Soul Calibur 5 and I realize “this game is really friggin boring.”

And that’s the main problem with Soul Calibur 5. Visually it’s amazing, the sword fighting is solid, but there is nothing remarkable about the game as a whole. Graphically the game designers out did themselves. It’s a gorgeous looking game with a astonishing amount of detail in the fighters, stages and pre-rendered cut scenes. There’s even a character creation tool with near endless customization options. Once you finished creating a fighter you can them bring into the ring and pit them against computer opponents. The fighting mechanics are competent enough; characters wield their weapons as expected, although some of the special moves come across a bit clunky. But here’s in lies the problem, the fighting is too, well… mechanical. It’s not fluid; it’s just there. You don’t feel like you’re pulling off a stylish combo, or executing a tricky special move. It feels like just going through the motions.

Then there is the game’s story mode. It’s pretty standard fare, a young sword fighter’s sister is kidnapped and he goes searching for her. You take turns swapping player control with the various characters in the game’s storyline. This story is told between battles using still frame artwork with lackluster voiceovers. After creating a drop dead beautiful graphics engine the design team went with still frame sketch art to tell the story. And it goes back and forth this way. Breathtaking swordplay combat one minute to crappy still frame artwork the next, the effect is very disorienting.

So in the end I cared more about looking at the fighters rather than participating in the actual fighting. Online modes flesh out the backend of the game with plenty of stats and opponent tracking, but there is hardly a community to support it. With the mass deluge of nextgen fighting games out there it’s hard to recommend Soul Calibur 5. In this age of multi million dollar big studio games is there be a future for the Soul Calibur series? Is it worth it for a big studio to continue with something that is not a sure hit? Who knows? Perhaps somewhere out there, on the moonlit plains, under a pile of broken spears, glossy dented shields and shining chipped swords the souls still burns.

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