jmd_13's Soul Calibur IV (PlayStation 3) review

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Soul Calibur 4 - Deepdeepdeep game

Soul Calibur is a really tricky game franchise...do you ignore some of the minor annoyances that plague it so often and simply take it like a grain of salt? Or do you focus on them?

Much like the past franchises, Soul Calibur is about all of the characters we have grown to love on their quests to obtain Soul Edge/Calibur with some new faces and a few new modes sprinkled throughout. For the PS3 version, we are blessed with Darth Vader and The Apprentice, a blessing in disguise. Darth Vader is actually an extremely technically useful asset for some of the later modes to be mentioned, and is actually extremely fun and entertaining to use. More so then both The apprentice and Yoda from the 360 version. The old classic characters are back, with slight editted move sets but pretty much the same style and essence as they have had in the past. The gameplay elements are pretty much just enhanced from the past versions - with a wider variety of characters, like Algol for example that add a new layer of possibilities to the gameplay. The controls are as hard as ever to fully understand and grasp. But the good thing? It's beginner friendly, and simply mashing the buttons is extremely fun I've found playing with friends. The experienced players usually win, but it does allow for a pick up and play atmosphere with the game.

Character creation is a bit of a double edged sword. You are able to create players from scratch, or modify existing characters. I love this feature as it allows so much more customization and creativity, and adds much needed replay value to the game. However, when customizing your characters, the equipment and clothes do come with some slight problems. They have point values attached to them, meaning if you want to get a powerful character in a certain field - he/she will look extremely weird. OR, you get stuck having to style them up with preset clothing, meaning they may look like a voldo clone for example. It works, but it feels like an attempt to add depth to the game that didn't completely work out the way they wanted it too.

Once you get down to the modes, you have a small variety of modes that I am bittersweet about. The Story mode is the basic mode, where you go through 5 battles to eventually get your characters ultimate weapon. It works fine, but is clearly cliche and a tad over dramatic - but that's Soul Calibur main unique selling point. After you do story for a variety of players, you will want to know where the "meat" of the game is - the Tower. And this mode, as much as a lot of people disagree, is what makes this game a purchase and not a rent. Ascend pits you against a series of tougher and more challenging battles that continually test your skill and your ability to choose the right characters that get the job down for that portion. Once done ascending, you go back down and fight again. This is days of gameplay, or hours - it all really depends your own experience level. But thats not even the whole picture, you can also complete very mini challenges per round that will allow you to get bonuses and extra gifts - like more clothing options, more accessories, and more. It really adds a load of replay value to the game, and gives hardcore Soul Calibur fans a reason to play. Then theirs 'Descend', a similar mode where you have to face a flurry of opponents for 40 floors. Every 5 levels gives you extra bonuses. The thing here, is that you don't heal over time. And since you are given 2 characters to use, the level of skill and strategy really shines.

Online play is a let down, as their are only two modes to choose from, and it's simply just facing opponents. Some bit of creativity, or goal oriented fighting modes would have been appreciated, but the depth of the offline mode makes up for it.

Overall. Solid game, not much else I can say. Online play and the semi-par creation mode really brings it down, but the modes, the characters, and the gameplay itself cause this game to get 3.5/5 in my mind.

I recommend a buy, not a rent.




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