|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco (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: Sep. 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Andrew Groen
June 15, 2009 - Even though the unveiling of the latest SoulCalibur celebrity cameo appearance is practically an annual tradition at this point, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who isn't super excited to get their hands on the God of War himself, Kratos, in the latest game in the SoulCalibur series, Broken Destiny for the PSP.
Unfortunately, it seems the game itself has been lost in the shuffle of its own star power, as Kratos has become the major talking point for this new fighter. While it's certainly exciting to see Kratos in action, what is more exciting is the potential for SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny to develop into one of the best fighting games on the PSP. Even in such lofty company as the likes of Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Broken Destiny emerges as a truly remarkable fighter that impresses on nearly every level.
To begin with, the controls are positively spot-on. Even on the PSP, which seems like the antithesis of a proper fighting game controller, executing moves is a breeze. Even technical maneuvers and special abilities were fluid and easy to administer. In some ways, Broken Destiny felt even more comfortable on the PSP. Its true 3-D nature was brought out in full force, as dodging moves into the foreground and background are mapped to the shoulder buttons making full 3-D motion simple. When using the analog nub in addition to the four face buttons to execute moves, combat felt every bit as fluid and natural as it does on its console counterparts, which is no small feat given the PSP's history of hand-contorting control schemes.
Broken Destiny will have much in common with older versions of the game. So, if you're a hardcore SC fan, you're going to feel right at home. However, the developer, Project Soul, has specifically stated that with this entry they wanted to target the beginners of the franchise. For instance, the developers have disclosed that the single-player portion of the game will function in many ways like an enhanced tutorial. It will be a constant learning experience that seeks to help the player grow their skill. There are also more than 80 training missions that can help rusty fighters regain their ability.
Broken Destiny most closely mirrors SC4 in its fighting system, and key components of the console fighter will remain intact. Features like critical finish, soul crush, and armor destruction will still be present in the game. In fact, the development team has said that they've taken steps to improve those elements.
The core cast of the game will return in full force for this iteration, though only eight of those characters were playable at the time of the demo (Siegfried, Hilde, Mitsurugi, Cassandra, Nightmare, Raphael, Astaroth, Maxi). As a teaser, the two new characters, Kratos and Dampierre, were visible on the character selection screen, but couldn't be picked. From the looks of things though, Kratos and Dampierre, seem to have been specifically designed to be polar opposites. While Dampierre is an almost Joker-like finesse character who carries two concealed blades in his sleeves like Altair from Assassin's Creed, Kratos is a far more brutal character that overwhelms the opponent with power and smashes them with the Blades of Chaos or his many other abilities shown off in the trailer such as the Wings of Icarus.
Visually, it appears that Broken Destiny will be an absolute powerhouse in the graphics department. What has been shown so far in both videos and the playable demo was a graphics engine that seems impossibly gorgeous on the PSP. Featuring all-new lighting effects that will allow for players to change the time of day in which they fight, Broken Destiny looks to be just about the most beautiful game on the system to date.
Despite the handicap of being on a handheld with limited sound capabilities, the iconic audio of the SoulCalibur series seems to be intact. Over the top sword clashes, menu sound effects, and that ever so over-excited announcer all continue to play a key role in establishing the tone of this game.
At this point, Namco Bandai is remaining tight-lipped as to whether the final game will include Wi-Fi multiplayer matches. We do know for sure though that the game will support ad-hoc competitive fights, so at the very least you'll be able to engage in multiplayer action if you have a friend who also has a PSP.
Overall, we came away extremely impressed by the demo and are eagerly looking forward to the final release. The combination of a fluid control system, gorgeous visuals, a sweeping epic score, and some interesting new additions to the cast makes for a very exciting package. CheatCC will be bringing you the latest as more about the game is revealed. SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny is currently set to be released later this year.
CCC Freelance Writer