|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|
Like I mentioned before, the series has received a tremendous graphics upgrade. Even if SC II and III looked gorgeous on last-gen consoles, the step up to HD makes all the difference. The environments and characters look crisp, very detailed, and the varied textures are very well represented and rendered in the game. The fast-paced rhythm of the battles rarely causes visual glitches or affects the framerate. Perhaps some issues may be noticed while fighting near walls, but it's nothing too exaggerated.
Character combos and special attacks trigger cool special effects that are sometimes dazzling, especially when using lightsabers or huge, shiny swords. Furthermore, the fighting animations are wilder than ever, leaving a good taste in your mouth after you crush someone against the floor and then step all over them, or when you perforate the enemy with your weapon and then twist it till he's KO'd. Even without blood, this game manages to be wild and exciting.
As far as sounds go, you won't miss previous SC titles. In fact, the main musical theme and a few other SoulCalibur tunes are heard throughout. The soundtrack is memorable and very exciting overall, with a few sound clips from Star Wars movies and several new and original tunes that are just as epic. The pretentious, tacky, and mostly cocky voice acting is there as well. It wouldn't be SoulCalibur without comments like "Curse your fate for running into me," or "Don't scream, you cur!" The only thing I missed from my good old times with Soul Calibur II is the solemn announcement of the players you were fighting against: "Vs. Voldo!" or "Vs. Link!" (Too bad the Wii version - SoulCalibur Legends- didn't quite make it!)
All in all, SoulCalibur IV is a great addition to the franchise. There's a good amount of play modes, excellent character customization options, a strong character roster, smooth (though intricate) controls, and exciting online play. It's difficult to say which of the two versions is better, even though I think Yoda's the best. Both Yoda and Sith Lord Darth Vader will eventually be downloadable characters through Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network, so I don't think their current separation is a big issue.
CCC Site Director