But the soul still burns…

I’ve always been a fan of the Soul Calibur franchise. I thought Soul Edge was good. Soul Calibur was revolutionary. Soul Calibur 2 was excellent, and one of the best examples of a multi platform video game launch ever. The third installment faltered a little… and the fourth game is an embarrassment. Are we going on a Soul Calibur retrospective? Oh yes…

Soul Calibur has been accused of being a mindless button masher, and I’ve always rushed to its defense. Sure, a monkey smashing buttons madly as Kilik can occasionally beat an average level player, but he wouldn’t stand a chance against someone good. A good player would absolutely smack down button mashers… and if you DID have a monkey, wouldn’t you rather dress him in a li’l engineer’s outfit instead?

Another common accusation is that it’s all about boobs. As the series has continued, this has been a harder and harder one to field… since Taki seems to have been using her ninja magic on her cup size. I always feel the need to justify playing as Ivy, the pale chick in the fetish gear with the whipsword thingy. No dude, she’s the best at FIGHTING!

With Soul Calibur IV, I’m officially off the bandwagon. Namco added a lame ass statistical leveling system, which seems like it would really extend replay value, but it seems like they spent way more time on this than the actual game design.

The “all about boobs” complaint is now more prevalent than ever before. They gave many of the characters different “destructible armor”, so you can now watch as bits and pieces of the ladies clothing gets smashed off by some cleaving axe strike or something. I have nooooo problem with boobs… but it leaves you feeling like the game is talking down to you and trying to appeal to the 13 year old boy in everyone.

Oh and here we go… they added Darth Vader, The Apprentice (from force unleashed) and YODA to the game as playable characters. WHAT? Soul Calibur has had cameos from other franchises in the past. Some worked better than others, but never once did a character from a science fiction franchise enter into the fray. Certainly not a well known franchise like Star Wars. How is that even supposed to work? The lightsabers would just go through all the other swords! It’s stupid, and it opens the door to further experimentation with Soul Calibur… something I’m not looking forward to.

Also… they only added two other new characters. I’m not really sure why… Maybe it’s because of their stupid insistence on having a “make your own fighter” option. The thing is, outside of dressing a fighter up, which is a stupid way to spend time already, you can’t really design a balanced movelist for them that will work nicely with the other characters. You definitely can’t create a character with a new style of play or weapon… so what’s the point?

I’m not going to use the phrase “jumped the shark”… because it didn’t. It just sucks now. I’ll stick with Soul Calibur 2 from now on… and if you mess with it, I’ll whipsword ya.


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February 2009
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