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SoulCalibur V in Review

SoulCalibur II is one of my favorite fighting games of all time, regardless of the fact that I had the Xbox version with stupid Spawn as the bonus character. But III was only on the PS2 so I didn’t play it, and I came into IV too late to really dig in to it. So I welcomed a return to the game with this new version, and wound up both pleased that it was more or less SoulCalibur and disappointed at how thin the content- particularly the single player offering- turned out. The thing is, it’s not really all that much of a change from the second game despite a couple of mechanical revisions. It’s not a major update like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter IV. It really kind of needed to be.

It’s a good game. It looks great, and it remains supremely accessible and _fun_ to play. At least until you go online with it, which it’s really tooled up for anyway. Then, casual players are skeeeeeeeerewed. Expect tons of groundpounds and spammy wall hits. It’s not much fun if you just want to play non-competitively. So you’re left with a six match arcade ladder and a terrible story mode and that’s about it.

Review is at Gameshark. Spot the Public Enemy reference.

Bonus round- Nano Assault review. It’s an OK 3DS shooter.

READ ALSO:  Temple of Elemental Evil Review

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

12 thoughts to “SoulCalibur V in Review”





    I was a big Anthrax fan as a teenager

  2. Me too. I heard “Among the Living” and thought “hey, these guys are nerds too, singing about Judge Dredd and whatnot”. I liked them better than Metallica and Slayer. Hated Megadeth.

    Big Public Enemy fan at that age too, so that worked out just fine for me. Still probably the best rock/rap crossover. Apart from Scott Ian’s “rapping”.

  3. I don’t know if I’ve ever played a campaign that was so short yet felt so stretched. It started off with a darker tone than I expected, but when I thought it might ramp up, it just devolved into a big mess. It does seem like a game that’s fun to play with friends, but if you’re somebody looking to play by yourself. . . there’s almost nothing there for you.

    I’m somewhat of a SC series newbie. Button mashing was kinda fun, but I’m only now trying to grasp the fundamentals. The training mode language, I frankly found a bit confusing, but that might be because of my lack of an arcade stick. I’m not that into fighting games where I have a desire to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get one. Minor gripe about the fighting games in general is that it almost feels like I need one of those plus a ridiculous amount of time to even be remotely competitive. I played four XBL matches and didn’t win a round. Never came close, really. Pretty distressing. I agree that there is really no such thing as casual in these games, just commitment.

  4. Do you have to constantly remind people that the Public Enemy collaboration with Anthrax came before the Run DMC and Aerosmith song? Frankly, I think the PE song holds up better, but that’s a heavily biased opinion.

  5. Huh, my memory appears to be biased as well then. Don’t I feel sheepish.

    Wikipedia has the DMC/Aero being released in 86 while PE/Anth was in 87. It’s a good thing I’m not a gambling man. I’d be broke. Where are you pulling 3 years from?

  6. Well, I was wrong about Walk this Way, which was ’86.  I thought it was ’88.  But Bring the Noise was ’91, if you are looking for the Anthrax version.  So Walk This Way predates Bring the Noise by five years, not three.  It just bothered me when I saw your comment, because those songs were from the heart of my music years.  I was 18 in ’86 and 23 in ’91.  At those ages, it felt like a lifetime in difference. 

    That said, I think SC V looks like a great game I want to buy on the cheap later.  I loved SC on the Dreamcast.  I ate up SC II on the Gamecube, cause Link was a lot cooler than frickin’ Spawn. 

    I had SC IV, which just felt like the same game with a different little Green Dude, as I had the 360 version with Yoda.  But it got sold off at some point, regrettably.  I’m sure I wasn’t playing it, but it is the type of game that is easy to come back to.  The problem is now, if I walk into Gamestop, can I really consider paying $60 for SC V when SC IV can be had again for so cheap?  The previous three SC games I had, it was the THE SC game for that gen.  I’m not sure we needed a second one this time.



  7. Weird is why we keep coming here, Bill. This conversation would never happen on IGN. Well it might, but the first 3 responses would be people just calling me less than favorable names.

  8. Right, and with ample single player content, it doesn’t matter if you’re no good as long as you’re having fun.

    I’m realizing that I actually don’t like playing fighting games online. I just don’t have the drive to commit to learning them and I don’t really care about competition. I love the mechanics, characters, gameplay, etc. but I have no desire to get beat to death ad infinitum by strangers online who have far more time and commitment to the games.

    I wouldn’t bother with a stick for SCV. I’ve been playing with a plain old 360 gamepad and it’s fine. I don’t think there’s any advantage in this particular game to having a stick. The only  fighters that really benefit, IMO, from a stick are Street Fighter and Blazblue. I actually prefer gamepad with Mortal Kombat and MvC3.

  9. Solo play can go. . . play solo. I’m such a meanie.

    I actually ended up getting a couple friends of mine to get the game, and even a small group messing around with custom fighters is really fun. That’s something they absolutely did right. The past couple nights have been blown coming up with badass and, well, not so badass looking characters. Very satisfying when your friend makes a comment that your creation looks cool, or when you hear them giggling despite themselves. If the game allows me to make a fairly large man wearing pink and lavender fur, wielding a circle blade, and wearing a large medieval helmet with a huge red heart stuck to the top of it, well I shouldn’t pass that up, right?

    I actually started using the d-pad on my Onza, and I found that my gameplay dramatically improved over the analog stick. I haven’t tried the traditional 360 dpad yet.

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