Taking the Battle Online
For the first time in the franchise, Soul Calibur is available with online play. No longer do you have to whip out a roll of quarters and head out to your local arcade for some competitive weapon-clashing action with strangers. This is the good news. The other good news is that I rarely suffered any major lag and there was always someone around for a match. Their experience varied significantly, but you could see your opponent’s level and win-loss record before entering the arena.
The bad news is that it doesn’t really replicate the arcade experience. There are ranked and unranked matches, but you are not given the opportunity to request a rematch after getting your butt handed to you. Instead, you simply go searching for another match again. There is no sense of continuity or community, even if you can do your trashtalking over Xbox Live. I would have liked an online mode that included team play, rematch requests, and perhaps a “lobby” area to simulate the arcade experience.
Namco didn’t do much to change its already winning formula. Sure, they tossed in the Soul Gauge to deter excessive blocking and they created the Critical Finish for incredibly rare finishing moves, but the core gameplay is much the same. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’ll love the variety of characters and the stunning visuals, as well as the intense ability to customize your characters in a number of different ways. The weapon-based combat is incredibly thrilling, especially since you can now take the battle online. Even though the online integration isn’t as good as it could be, I can still recommend Soul Calibur IV to all the fighting game junkies out there.
I hope it’ll satiate my fighting game hunger until Street Fighter IV hits consoles next year.
- Fantastic character creation tool
- Challenging weapon-based combat is back
- Finally online multiplayer for Soul fighting games
- Breathtaking visuals and interactive environments
- Nice assortment of characters
- Weak online multiplayer
- Fighting against Yoda is unbalanced
- Critical Finish is gimmicky and unnecessary
- Story Mode is very short and unsatisfying
Overall Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
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