|System: PSP||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: Sep. 1, 2009||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|
One of the most recent defining features of the SoulCalibur series has been its customization. The series has always allowed fans to choose different weapons for their favorite characters (as well as use different power-ups), but the customization feature was never fully realized until last year's SoulCalibur IV, which finally included the ability to create custom characters. This full customizability is incorporated very nicely into SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny, and while there isn't as much depth in this customization mode as there was in the console version, there is still quite a bit to enjoy. Characters can be made with varying body structures, plenty of clothing and accessory choices, and can also be given several voices. The character creation mode was quite snappy overall, and although the preview view of characters drags a bit if you don't install the game, the creation aspects are quite satisfying overall.
As far as multiplayer modes go, SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny unfortunately only includes an ad-hoc mode. While this is great if you have a lot of friends who play SoulCalibur, we've seen plenty of handheld games, particularly in the sports and shooter genres that use the PSPs hardware to handle multiplayer, and it is disappointing that most PSP fighters do not include online play. Still, if you are a master of the ad-hoc party, SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny's multiplayer mode will let you battle your friends in the same way as the console versions, which is nice.
Technically, SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny is quite sound. I am continuously impressed with the PSP's graphics capability, and SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny is no exception. Character models more than retain the look of their console big brother, and I would confidently say that SoulCalibur: Broken Legends is on par visuals-wise with SoulCalibur III. Characters have a tremendous amount of detail, and the fighting environments are just as large as you remember them to be. Framerate during fighting is also very consistent, which is actually an improvement over the sporadically-choppy SoulCalibur IV.
Audio is also on-par with the console versions of the franchise. Several tunes have been lifted from previous entries (as you might expect), but there are some original compositions that sound great as well. And for those who were wondering, the over-zealous narrator is back as well, doing the ultra-dramatic "in a world where " and "two souls, entangled in fear " pre-fight narrations to pitch-perfection. As for the voiceovers, the game allows you to pick between Japanese and English for your character's speech. Both of these are very good options, as the voice acting is top-notch either way.
SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny is a great handheld fighter. It features plenty of characters and a battle system that is the spitting image of its console big brothers. However, I was quite saddened by the lack of story mode. Although the SoulCalibur story has been told plenty of times over, having it in portable form would have been nice, especially for those who might be picking up SoulCalibur for the first time. Still, despite this shortcoming, SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny manages to be just as fun as its console counterparts. None of the elements of the battle system, look, or feel have been sacrificed for the transition to handhelds, which makes SoulCalibur: Broken Legends an easy recommendation for fans of the franchise. If you've never played a SoulCalibur game before, Broken Legends is also a good recommendation, as its tutorial-like single-player mode teaches the basics as well as advanced techniques quite masterfully. Plus, the game features Kratos as a character cameo how could you go wrong with that?!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor