Posted by John on February 11, 2012

Soul Calibur V (PS3) Review

Soul Calibur V (PS3) Review

Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 02.11.2012

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Vitals

GenreFighting
SystemPS3, 360
Release Date
Q32012

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Soul Calibur is back with it’s latest outing. Does this fighting franchise still have some new tricks up its sleeve? Jeffrey Harris checks in with his full review for the PS3 version of Soul Calibur V.

Title: Soul Calibur V
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Project Soul
Genre: Fighting
Players: Single-player; Multiplayer
Rated: T For Teen

Soul Calibur V in all honesty was my first exposure to the franchise, so this perspective will largely be one that hasn’t gotten into it yet. While I’ve always thought the series looked cool, I just never got into it and would normally gravitate to other types of games and fighters. Soul Calibur V is the latest next-gen console addition of the franchise. The series is best known for its blade edged weapons gameplay as well as special guest stars from other franchises from Zelda’s Link to God of War’s Kratos and this time Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio Auditore.

As a fighting game, it is a 3D fighting game. There is no blood, guts, or gore for parents that might worry about that sort of thing despite the type of weapons you are using. Players with their various weapons get to mix in three basic attacks: a horizontal strike, a vertical strike, and a kick strike. Using the shoulder buttons or the proper button combination will allow you to utilize a special grapple or throw attack. Using your guard or block function is key to mastering the gameplay and fighting technique of Soul Calibur V. In terms of controls, I found forward and back movement overall quite frustrating and at times unresponsive. A lot of the attacks lack range and it seems almost impossible to jump. Strafing and sidestepping works pretty well. The fighting is more focused on close quarters combat, but even with these gigantic swords you are swinging, having some better range on these attacks would be nice. The fighting and combat is comparable to other 3D fighters like Namco Bandai’s Tekken. Overall I find the controls nowhere near as smooth as say Street Fighter IV or Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Over time during a match, you can build up your critical gauge which you can use to unleash special, more powerful attacks. The most fun I have during a battle is when I was able to pull off an armor breaking assault on my opponent. The stages are all really well done and change over the course of the battle and also have some added interactivity like being able to bust down a cage wall after flinging your enemy through it. The graphics look great and I love the design aesthetic of the game, sort of like almost a steam-punk, fantasy 17th Century Europe. Animations are nice and fluid and the colors are vibrant. The characters are all nicely detailed and individually unique.

The game features several modes of play besides playing online or against the computer you’re your friends. Story mode is the single-player campaign mode. The main storyline is set some fifteen years after the events of Soul Calibur V. The new wielder of the soul sword, or Soul Calibur as it’s called, is the young man Patroklos Alexander. Patroklos exploited by the nefarious Graf Duman of Eastern Europe to vanquish his rebel enemies. Patroklos believes them to be the malfested, demonic monsters possessed by the demonic aura of the evil sword called the Soul Edge. Patroklos hates the malfested because they killed his mother and kidnapped his sister when they were both very young. Overall the story mode is a bit disappointing. The storytelling and presentation, what little of it there is, is rather confusing. The story mode opts for storyboarded type images with voiceovers rather than fully CG rendered cut scenes or FMV videos. There are a few CG cut scenes sprinkled throughout the game but they are few and far between. While the story mode does attempt to tell a compelling story few of the plot twists make any sense. Despite the colorful cast of characters in the game, the story mode only limits you to play as Patroklos, his sister Pyrrha, and ZWEI. A little more variety in the story mode like say the new Mortal Kombat game would’ve been nice. Once story mode is beaten you can also unlock Legendary Souls mode where you can face bosses in time trial battles with a higher degree of difficulty. Arcade mode lets you play through six set stages without any story elements, and of course there’s a Versus Mode and a Quick Battle mode. By using Quick Battle you can unlock additional titles for your gameplay experience.

The game also once again allows for creating and customizing your own character. You can unlock more weapons and features to select from your progress including the powers and abilities of Devil Jin from Tekken. If you are fan of fighters and the Soul Calibur series there is probably enough to keep you amused for a while between the timed battle challenges and online play. The learning curve for the fighting does seem a bit high and the training mode itself is also a little hard to use and follow.

I really enjoyed the traditional orchestral music and soundtrack for the game. The voice acting for story mode was a mixed bag, not that the actors are bad but the script they are working from makes next to no sense at times.

Pros

-Great graphics and design styles.
-Fun and interesting looking fighting stages.
-Nice variety of playable characters and weapons to play with.
-Great music and soundtrack.

Cons

-Tough and rather frustrating control layout.
-Forward and back movement does not work very well.
-Enemy AI is extremely hard at times and will make you want to angrily destroy your controller in disgust because you are not getting anywhere.
-The learning curve on the controls and overall gameplay comes off extremely high.

The 411

Overall Soul Calibur V is a decent fighter entry. The story mode is lacking and the controls seem rather flawed. The game design looks great, but the story mode cut scenes are disappointing as is the storyline itself. There is a nice variety of characters and weapons to choose from, but I would’ve liked to have learned more about the other interesting characters you can play as in the more competitive modes of the game.

Screenshots

All 5 Soul Calibur V Screenshots


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