Soul Calibur IV (PS3)

By Moe Rantala

Published on Friday, August 29, 2008

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 9.00
Replays: 8.00
Gamelength: 8.00

Soul Calibur IV brings steel clashing action to the PS3.

Soul Calibur IV is the latest entry in the Soul Calibur series, and with it comes new content, and familiar faces. It boasts four single player modes, two versus modes, and an online versus system, as well as character creation and a museum. To start things off, the single player game consists of Story mode, the Tower of Lost Souls, Arcade mode, and a training mode. Story mode allows you to fight your way through the character’s story, to see how they end up at the final boss. The Tower of Lost Souls allows you to ascend the Tower, and battle against various opponents with preselected skills and abilities, or, once you clear a certain number of floors via ascension, you can descend the Tower, and see how far you can get. Arcade mode has you battle your way past randomly selected opponents until you get to the end, at which point you fight the final boss. Training mode is just that, a mode in which you can practice and become a better fighter.

The versus mode consists of standard and special. Standard versus allows you to fight with the standard characters. No special abilities or weapon effects will be active, and everyone will have the same amount of health. Special versus allows you to use the various skills and weapon effects that you can obtain in the Character Creation mode. The online mode consists of the same modes that Versus mode does, however there are ranked and unranked versions of each.

The character creation mode is pretty solid. When you enter it, you’re brought to the character selection screen. From here you can either make a new character, or modify one of the exisiting characters. At the beginning, your equipment selection is very limited, but as you gain new Honors, the selection expands rapidly. Honors are unlocked through completing certain objectives in story, arcade, or online mode, or even through the purchase of items and weapons. A new (IE/ not a modification of one of the original characters) can equip items in every slot, however all the original characters have limitations on which slot you can equip things in. The generic weapons/movesets from the previous game are gone, and you can only select the weapon/moveset of the standard fighters. No, you cannot make your own character with a lightsaber, or dual katanas. You can, however, modify those certain characters to some extent. For created characters, everything from clothing color to voice and hair style can be changed. When you’re almost finished, the only thing you really have left to do is set your skills.

The skill system in Soul Calibur IV revolves around skill points you obtain from the various items you equip your character with, and the leveling up of said characters through using them in battle. The more you use a certain character, the more you’ll level that character up. The only thing this affects is which skills you can use. The core of the skill system is all about finding armor which suits your skill point needs. There are two types of skills, passive skills, and skills that need to be activated during combat. The passive skills are always in effect, while the others must be activated via button press.

The gameplay is like that of the previous Soul Calibur entries. You have a horizontal, vertical, and kick attack, and you can also use throws and other moves during battle. New to Soul Calibur IV is the Soul Crush and Critical Finish. During combat, when an opponent blocks your attack, they will lose part of their soul guage. When the soul guage is empty, a powerful attack will stun them for a brief moment. From there you can either attack them, or use a Critical Finish which instantly ends combat.

The graphics are pretty slick. The game transitions from cutscenes to gameplay without any noticable difference in appearance, and all the characters look better than they ever have. The sound is pretty awesome, as well. The clash of steel on steel has never sounded better, and the character’s voices are all crisp and clear. The sound and graphics work in unison, and there really isn’t any lag at all, even when you have a lot of movement and effects going on at the same time.

Overall, Soul Calibur IV is a great game. While it lacks the level of content its predecessor had (huge story mode, higher level of customization for characters) it still delivers an excellent game that should last for some time.

Overall Rating: 8.75

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