Soul Calibur has hit consoles once again, however, it is a bit of a mixed bag. There is the standard modes that one would expect including a story mode, a mode where you can create your own fighter and, of course, an online mode where you can play against others on Xbox Live. If you are new to the series there is also a training mode that you can utilize to try and sharpen your skills. The Soul Calibur franchise has also become well known over the years for the cameo appearances that other video game characters tend to make. The last title had Darth Vader and Yoda and now this one features Ezio Auditore de Firenze from Ubisoft’s popular franchise, Assassin’s Creed. After spending some time playing as Ezio I think this was a great move and that he fits in perfectly with the rest of the roster. Being able to pull off some of the same moves that I have done in Assassin’s Creed was a lot of fun and everything seemed to flow really well.
The story for Soul Calibur V picks up seventeen years after the events of Soul Calibur IV. A good portion of the story focuses on Patroklos Alexandra and his quest to right some wrongs committed against his family and find his long lost sister. The story mode itself is fairly underwhelming and, at times, you might not really know what is going on. It seems like that fighting games have generally been getting better over the years with the only caveat being their respective stories. There is no question that these games are built for online play, however, it would be nice to see more attention paid in the story department. With that said the story is fairly short in this game and you should have absolutely no problem working your way through it in the course of an evening.
The gameplay itself seems to be really well done and everything flows really nicely. Once you start chaining combos together and begin getting really adept at the Soul Calibur fighting style you’ll be able to appreciate just how fluid the fights can be. There is a bit of a learning curve here so if you want to become really good you should be ready to spend at least a little bit of time with it. You always have access to the move list for whatever character you might be playing by pausing the game. That is where you will learn how to do both basic and advance moves alike which might be the difference between you winning and losing the round.
The character creation mode has returned from previous iterations of the franchise and I definitely had some fun with it. Along with the standard items available, you can also use items that you have unlocked as you level up your profile. You can create the character that you see fit and can customize almost everything from the type of body your fighter has, their weapon style, equipment and more. Unfortunately you can’t really mess with their move sets as you will pretty much take your style from one of the fighters already on the roster. There is one exception though where Devil Jin’s fighting style can also be applied. Tekken fans should be happy to hear that and it will be interesting to see if anyone takes advantage of that option.
As I alluded to before, the heart of Soul Calibur V is really in its online multiplayer. I am happy to say that my experience with Soul Calibur V online was fantastic. In all of the fights that I participated in there was absolutely no lag at all and everything flowed seamlessly. While I was in a room waiting to begin my fight I was also able to spectate the fight of people that were in line before me which I thought was a really nice touch. You have the standard ranked and player matches, however, there is also something called “Global Colosseo”. This is a massive lobby where you can fight and chat with people and it is filled based on area. When you first select this mode you are asked to select your area whether it is North America, Europe, Asia or wherever. After picking North America I was given a bunch of lobbies to select from such as a New York lobby, a Los Angeles lobby, San Francisco lobby and, well, you get the idea. After I picked my lobby I was brought to a screen where I could pick to join a random match or a join a tournament that was looking for some fighters. There is also a rivals system where you can see how your rivals are doing in the overall game. Once you select a rival his gamertag will appear in a slot right under your name and you’ll know about his progress throughout the whole game. It will tell you how much of the story he has gone through, how long he has spent playing on Xbox Live and many other things. It is an interesting idea that should prove to be fun for people that are competitive. Everything seemed to be really well done and multiplayer as a whole is a tremendous amount of fun.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Soul Calibur V. I think your enjoyment of this title will be dependent on whether you like the roster and how much you enjoy playing against other gamers online. The story mode is short and really baffling at times. There are parts of it that don’t make a whole lot of sense and you won’t miss anything if you decide to skip it entirely. The creation suite is pretty nice and multiplayer is where this game really shines. If you are on the fence about this game I would definitely suggest that you rent it before you buy it. If you happen to be a big fan of the franchise then there should be enough here to satisfy you as long as you like fighting online.
- Controls work well once you understand how combos work.
- Online multiplayer is the heart and soul of the game.
- The campaign is a mess which at times doesn't make any sense.
Summary: If you enjoy playing fighting games online than Soul Calibur V is a fantastic title. If you are here just for the story then there isn't much to see.
- Format: Xbox 360
- Developer: Project Soul
- Publisher: Namco Bandai
- Release Date: January 31, 2012