Monday, June 30, 2008

(GameCube/PS2/Xbox) Soul Calibur II



Soul Calibur II

Release Date:
27th March 2003 (Japan)
27th August 2003 (America)
26th September 2003 (Europe)





Soul Calibur II is a weapons based fighting game. There's no real story for the characters apart from they're all looking for the legendary Soul Edge. In arcade mode you fight one-on-one with a number of different characters until you get to a "Destined Battle". This has you fighting a predetermined opponent with some brief dialogue said before the fight begins. If you win you'll fight the final boss Inferno, who has three forms, each changing to a random characters move set.



There are also the usual things you'd expect from a fighting game like team battles, survival, practice and battle theatre. Every mode in the game has an "extra mode" associated with it. This allows you to select from all the weapons you've unlocked in Weapon Master Mode.



The game has an really in-depth character information. This displays everything you might want to know and you can also listen to them say every single piece of dialogue in the game. Another nice thing is the collection history. This shows pictures with information on everything you've managed to unlock throughout the game.



Weapon Master Mode is what you'll be playing the most, since this is where you unlock almost everything in the game. This mode changes the game and adds a sort of RPG element. You level up your character, buy new weapons and unlock new things like more characters and stages.



You're given a map and you choose what mission to do. Most of them are simple defeat a set amount of enemies. Quite a lot have mission objectives like get a certain amount of hits on the enemy within the time limit. Some have wind or other obstacles like quick sand to hinder your victory.



The character selection is pretty diverse with each character has their own unique weapon. Just about every weapon type you could ever think of is in here. There are also some you wouldn't expect like a sword which turns into a whip and even weapons made from dark matter. The characters are well suited to each weapon type and expect to find a lot of clich├ęs.

Exhibitions



Console Differences

The game was released on three different consoles, each having a guest character. The GameCube gets Link from The Legend of Zelda, PS2 gets Heihachi Mishima from Tekken and Xbox gets Todd McFarlane's comic book hero Spawn. Having played all three version I'd say Link is the better of the three. Here's a brief outline of the characters and moves;



Link uses the Master Sword and Hylian Shield. As well as using his main weapon he can use a number of sub-weapons. These include classics such as bombs, boomerang and even a bow and arrow. Having a varied amount of short, medium and long ranged attacks makes him a force to be reckoned with. Most people consider him to be a cheap and spazy character, but that's a matter of opinion.

When you win a fight you're treated to the item pick music from most Zelda games. This really put a huge smile on my face when I heard it for the first time in-game.



Heihachi Mishima uses what looks like his bare hands, but in fact are gauntlets. He plays just like he does in Tekken with some minor changes here and there. He's a great character if you like a challenge since he's quite hard to get to grips with.



Spawn uses an axe made from his cape. He can shoot some weak projectiles for distractions. His most unique moves are the ability to teleport and levitate for short periods of time. You really need to keep your eyes on this guy because he's a lot stronger than he looks.

Music

This is the first time I've mentioned the music in my reviews. I just had to mention it since it's absolutely amazing. Namco have really made an effort to immerse you in the game. The orchestral melodies are really well suited and always remind me of the good times I've had with the game. As with many game sequels you'll hear some familiar songs from the original Soul Calibur. I'd say my favourite is the music from the credits because it includes the Mission Mode music which I loved.

I loved the music so much I bought the limited edition guide book just for the soundtrack. I'd also even go as far as to say this is one of my favourite game soundtracks of all time.

Graphics

This is another first for my reviews and this is because of the three different version of the game. I'll only be briefly covering which version has what features. The PS2 is the worst simply because it doesn't offer anything special. The GameCube comes in second place because the game can be displayed in progressive scan. The Xbox version is the best because it has the highest texture quality, smoothest frame rate and gameplay. The Xbox version can also be displayed in 720p which looks great even when emulated on the Xbox 360.



Final Thoughts

Transcending history and the world. A tale of souls and swords, eternally retold. The famous words from the intro which sum up the game quite nicely.

This is a fantastic fighting game which proudly stands the test of time and will always have you coming back for more. You'll spend at least 20 hours unlocking everything and even more time play against the CPU or your friends. There are lot of different modes to choose from so you'll spoiled for choice.

The super easy pick up play controls give the most enjoyable fighting game experience you'll ever likely to get. Even people who have never played can look and feel like professionals within minutes.

There's only one major fault with this game which is the English voices. They're so bad they make my ears bleed. This isn't a problem because the game has the option to change the voices to Japanese. This is great and makes the game so much more playable.

I've 100% completed this game on GameCube, PS2 and Xbox and loved every minute of it. I can't give this game anything other than a massive thumbs up. I'd say it's Namco's best ever fighting game and you can't afford to miss out on playing it.

Make sure you look out for Soul Calibur on Xbox Live Arcade. There's no confirmed release date yet, but I think it should come out near to when Soul Calibur IV does.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_Calibur_II

http://www.soulcaliburuniverse.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heihachi_Mishima

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spawn_%28comics%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_%28The_Legend_of_Zelda%29

No comments: