Swords, sticks and chicks
What do you get when you mix stunning graphics, a great variety of characters, and a name everyone instantly recognises? Well, you get Soul Calibur V. Does this latest addition to the series manage keep up with the masses of fighting games currently available? Read on to find out.
Game: Soul Calibur V
Developer: Project Soul
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Without giving too much away and spoiling the game for you, Soul Calibur V’s story is quite shallow. The story centres around the children of Soul Calibur veteran, Sophitia. Potroklis, searching for his sister, Pyrrha, who he believes has been kidnapped by the Malfested. Throughout the story he is entrusted with Soul Calibur itself to aid his search. However, there is a real lack of depth that can really be felt while going through the story mode. You inevitably come to blows with the holder of Soul Edge, in what should be an epic battle, but really is quite dull.
The game is bathed with beautiful cutscenes, followed by some fighting, and then rounded off with what can only be described as sketches with voice-overs. They are disappointing to say the least, and fail to reel you in to the story like the stunning, movie-like cutscenes. Whenever they show up during the story mode, you’ll more than likely end up skipping them.
As for the story itself, it fails to reach any sort of satisfying conclusion and is lacking any sense of worthiness. It will make you make you wonder exactly why you’re playing the story mode, when other aspects of the game are so much better. You’ll either end up quitting or trying to finish the story mode as fast as possible, just so you can move onto the other, better modes the game has to offer.
Project Soul has done an amazing job with Soul Calibur V’s visuals. From start to finish, the graphics shine, literally and figuratively! The gloss on the character models is beautiful, you see sweat and even clothes rip off when you or your opponent has been given a good beating.
The cutscenes are the most impressive visual aspect though, they really make you feel like you’re watching something out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Of course, they retain their over-the-top Japanese style, and you wouldn’t really have it any other way. Each cutscene is a pleasure to watch, even if it doesn’t particularly make much sense!
Whilst Soul Calibur V’s sound does its job, it’s nothing to get excited about. You’ll most certainly have something to listen to whilst you beat the holy crap out of your opponent, as the game includes a vast selection of music, one for each stage. You’re also able to manually select the music before each fight in battle mode, so if there’s a track you like quite a bit, then you’ll be able to give it whirl as you try to beat up your friends.
This is where Soul Calibur V gets it so right, but also so wrong at times. Against the CPU, you’ll find yourself getting frustrated at the fact that every battle is easy until the final stage. In the exhibition or story mode, you’ll come up against a character considered to be a “boss”, and then all of a sudden you won’t be able to get close enough. You’ll find all your moves getting blocked and the opponent will seem to be faster than lightning itself. The only way to achieve victory against these opponents is by spamming them with certain moves, which is no fun at all.
It’s a shame, because even though the gameplay might lack the depth of other fighters, Soul Calibur V still remains fun to play. The left shoulder buttons are used to pull off simple grapple moves, you’ll use X to block, circle to kick and square/triangle to attack with your weapon. If you’re new to the series, Soul Calibur V does feature a training mode, but it’s not really that helpful. There are no proper tutorials, which means it’s up to you to find out how to pull off new additions such as the “Brave Edge” and “Critical Edge” attacks (akin to the ultra moves in Street Fighter IV).
Playing Soul Calibur’s Battle Vs. mode is by far where you’ll have the most fun in the game. Getting a bunch of friends together, creating your own characters and then having face them against each other is so much fun. When playing against a friend or any human opponent for that matter, you won’t come across any of the crazy difficulty spikes that you will when taking on the CPU. It is all comes down to who is genuinely better player or who knows their character the best.
The eight way movement is present, allowing you to move side to side, as well as up, forward and back. This, of course, takes away from jumping and crouching via a simple flick of the analogue stick, but (don’t worry) you can still perform these basic functions.
Soul Calibur V can be offer you an incredible amount of fun if you have your friends over, but the story mode is way too shallow, lacking any real depth, much the gameplay itself. The game’s online modes might keep you hooked if you’re a massive fan of the series and have a few friends who enjoy a regular battle. However, apart from that, once you’ve collected all the trophies, you might well find yourself running out of options.
Beautiful graphics, destructible environments and simple core mechanics make Soul Calibur V a title that’s easy to pick up and play. The amount character creation and customisation options is great too. Sadly, the shallow story mode coupled with gameplay that lacks any real depth, makes it a title that is also very hard to recommend to anyone who is serious about their fighters.
If you’re looking for a fighting game that you can easily dip in and out of, then look no further than Soul Calibur V. However, if you like a fighter with some depth, then you’ll be probably be better off looking elsewhere.