|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Project Soul||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
January 23, 2008 - If you are a gamer who loves 3-D weapon-based fighting games, you have most likely already played a SoulCalibur game. For anyone who hasn't played one before, shame on you. SoulCalibur is a franchise that has been around since the Dreamcast days. It has seen many improvements and a few missteps in its three game history. Historically, the good has definitely outweighed the bad, and it looks like SoulCalibur 4 will keep the series moving in the right direction.
First of all, the people who were unhappy with the combat of SoulCalibur 3 should be much happier with this title. Instead of trying to fix the many problems that were present in the third title's combat, the developers have instead tried to make this game's combat play more like an improved version of the second SoulCalibur. Another major issue with the third game, the balancing of the fighters, is also said to be vastly improved upon. Fortunately, since SoulCalibur 4 will be coming to the Xbox 360 and the PS3, even if the combat does end up slightly unbalanced, they should easily be able to patch it quickly with a download on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.
Not everything in SoulCalibur 3 was bad. One of the best features in that game was easily the ability to create your own fighter. This feature will make a reappearance in the fourth game and is supposed to be quite a bit more robust. You will be able to change everything from your character's voice to their move list. This time around new outfits won't just make you look cooler, but will also help define what your character is capable of. While nothing concrete has been announced yet, it appears as though what you wear may open up new abilities for your fighter. This seems like it will be a very intriguing aspect of creating and maintaining your fighters. Hopefully they won't make all of the best items cost money to download (fingers crossed).
A finalized roster of fighters hasn't been given yet, but you can expect there to be quite a few very unique characters. Some classic characters such as Mitsurugi, Taki, and Cassandra have been confirmed, as well as some astounding newcomers. In a move that took many by surprise, SoulCalibur 4 has decided to open its doors to Force users. That's right; gamers will now be able to play as the ominous Darth Vader on the PS3 and as the little green sage Yoda on the Xbox 360. How these characters will fit into the Soul Caliber universe is anybody's guess at this point, but it is no more ridiculous than say playing as Heihachi, Link or Spawn in SoulCalibur 2. The decision to make these characters console specific has outraged many, but it will still be awesome to deliver a lightsaber beatdown on your opponents.
Since this will be the first SoulCalibur game to be released on the next-generation platforms, it will be extremely pretty. With the upgrade in hardware, characters and environments will contain many more polygons than the previous titles. This will allow the game to appear much more lifelike than what was previously possible. Breathtaking and accurate lighting will also be included to really make the game's beautiful graphics pop that much more. Soul Caliber 4 should look as gorgeous in motion as it does in still photographs since it will also make use of realistic physics this time around.
Another major benefit of being on the next-generation consoles, Soul Caliber 4 will have a large online component. While the rest of the game looks to be shaping up well, this is definitely the most exciting addition in SoulCalibur 4. You will be able to fight against people from all over the world this time around. I would expect this title to have a very strong and dedicated online community so you should always be able to find someone to pick a fight with. This should add a huge amount of replayability to the game that was somewhat missing in its previous iterations. You will also be able to exchange created characters online, giving you a virtually endless supply of fighters to use and enjoy.
Since the game is only about fifty percent completed, there are still a lot of unknowns floating around this title. The number of characters, a complete character list, characters' move lists, game modes, options, and the game's storyline are all still shrouded in secrecy. Still, Soul Caliber 4 is really shaping up to astound fans of the fighting game genre upon its eventual release. Although there are still many unknowns, the limited information that has become available really has me excited about the possibilities for this franchises current endeavor. This is definitely a game that you should keep your eyes on. Check back for more information, as it becomes available.
CCC Freelance Writer