Soul Calibur IV

By: Tristan Clark    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Friday 8 Aug 2008 10:00 AM
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Now this is a game that’s been getting a lot of attention (not least from our own humble website). With the announcement that Yoda and Darth Vader would join the usual ranks of swordsmen, axe wielders, and pole bearers, the game suddenly got noticed by a bunch of new people. So does it stand up to all the hype and scrutiny bestowed on it? In a word, yes.

For those who somehow missed out on all the hype, the Soul Calibur series focuses on weapon-based combat, providing a huge range of characters and fighting styles, all wrapped up in pretty graphics and an excellent combat system. Button mashers can get a lot of mileage out of this one – something people criticize it for – but there’s an incredible amount of depth here as well, providing a lot of things to learn for pros.

SC IV sports an insane amount of content. You might think fighting games don’t traditionally have many meaty modes, but this one has quite a few. There’s your basic arcade mode, some short story modes, and the standard array of versus modes. But you can also play the Tower of Lost Souls mode, a rather epic and varied journey up (and down) a tower. You’ll be faced with a wide series of increasingly difficult challenges, as you try to get to the top and bottom.

Along the way, you’ll unlock extra items for the character creation mode. This mode is in itself deep enough to sink some serious time into, especially when you’ve got a lot of items unlocked. The sheer scope of this mode is pretty impressive, and a lot of fun can be had from making your own character and facing it off against your mates.

If you don’t happen to have any friends nearby, you can battle them over the net – a first for the series. While performance will vary depending on the quality of your (crappy New Zealand) internet connection, the robustness of the online features is pretty impressive – this ain’t no barebones operation.

For longtime fans, you’ll notice a few minor changes to the gameplay. The usefulness of sidestepping feels slightly gimped, at least when compared to older Soul Calibur games. It also feels like it’s easier to punish people on the ground or in the air – and when that’s combined with the new breakable armour/Soul Gauge system, you won’t want to stay on the defensive too much.

I’m not totally convinced of all the changes, but it’s hard to complain when there’s just so much to this game. The character roster is impressively large, the graphics are stunning, and the gameplay is as fast and smooth as ever. I had particular fun with Darth Vader – it took us ages to defeat Algol, the final boss in arcade mode, but we finally did it with the exact same throw that Vader used on the Emperor in the Star Wars movies that threw him off the side of the ring. Good times.

All in all, this game is definitely worth checking out, even if you’re only vaguely into fighting games. It’s much easier to get into than Tekken or Virtua Fighter, and the characters are generally – in my opinion at least – much more interesting. If you’re sitting on the fence, give this one a rent. But if you consider yourself a fighting fan or a longtime Soul Cal vet, then…well, you’ve probably bought this already.

The Score

Soulcalibur IV
"This game is definitely worth checking out."
Rating: M   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 5 Min


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Comments (14)

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Ubercuber VIP VIP Silver
On Friday 8 Aug 2008 10:30 AM Posted by Ubercuber
Yeah Ill give this a rent at some stage - probably worth a $49.95 purchase further down the line.
Illmatic VIP VIP Gold
On Friday 8 Aug 2008 12:12 PM Posted by Illmatic
When i have money, this will eat some of it up.
djkicks VIP VIP Gold
On Friday 8 Aug 2008 2:58 PM Posted by djkicks
Oh my! Sounds very tasty. Must make purchase... must get money first... got a dollar ow?
Syn-Ryn VIP VIP Gold
On Friday 8 Aug 2008 7:13 PM Posted by Syn-Ryn
Im still pissed off about Yoda & Vader, ok putting them in the game was alright but on the Cover!?!?!?
Munkah VIP VIP Gold
On Saturday 9 Aug 2008 2:32 PM Posted by Munkah
RE: Syn-RynPosted by Syn-Ryn on 8 August 2008, 07:13PM

Well the guests in SC2 were on the covers.
On Saturday 9 Aug 2008 5:12 PM Posted by Ruptunex
Is there gonna be a 360 review of it?
Grunt of God
On Saturday 9 Aug 2008 6:27 PM Posted by Grunt of God
Sounds cool, might give it a try...
Munkah VIP VIP Gold
On Saturday 9 Aug 2008 8:15 PM Posted by Munkah
RE: Posted by Ruptunex on 9 August 2008, 05:12PM
There's little difference between versions, so I doubt it.
NiCkAdAmZ73 VIP VIP Bronze
On Sunday 10 Aug 2008 8:13 PM Posted by NiCkAdAmZ73
i love this game got 12 achievements in 1 day :)
On Tuesday 12 Aug 2008 12:19 PM Posted by Lisa3x3x3
i think adding yoda and vader was just a way to get more people intersted in the game, nd therefore make more moolah, but hu wudnt wana kick as* being that lil green guy!?
On Wednesday 13 Aug 2008 4:04 PM Posted by Ruptunex
@ Munkah. but why only class this title as a PS3 review? I mean shouldn't it be both 360 and PS3 and do the review as one? that way the small comparisons could be analysed to some extent.
On Monday 6 Oct 2008 1:31 PM Posted by GloryDog
It seems we may finally have a fighting game on station that lives up to the fun of DOA2 back on the ps2. Will be checking this one out.
On Tuesday 4 Nov 2008 5:28 PM Posted by rider211
On Tuesday 21 Apr 2009 1:03 PM Posted by dman
this game rocks