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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Bandai Namco

 

Developer

Bandai Namco

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

July 29, 2008

 

 

- Lots of characters

- Gameplay is still solid

- Character creation is better than it was in SC3

- Nice graphics

- Online play

- Darth Vader makes a great guest character

 

 

- Story mode was poorly done

- Character creation does have some problems

 

 

Review: Dead or Alive 4 (360)

Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

Review: Soul Calibur III (PS2)

 

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Soul Calibur IV

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Soul Calibur was one of the main reasons why I bought a Dreamcast so that after all these years Iíve really been looking forward to Soul Calibur IV, which marks the first appearance of the series on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.  The only upfront difference between the two versions is that PS3 owners have the privilege of having the Sith Lord himself, Darth Vader, on the character roster, while 360 owners have Yoda as an exclusive. (Both versions feature the Apprentice from the Force Unleashed.)

 

soul calibur iv          soul calibur iv

 

Letís jump right into the gameplay. Veterans will feel right at home with SCIV, while new comers will most likely find themselves button mashing, which can work for a while, but wonít get you very far against some online opponents. I highly suggest going to training mode and learning your favorite charactersí moves and acclimatize you to the new features in SCIV, which include the Soul gauge. If a player or AI blocks too much, the Soul Gauge (located beside the life bar) will start flashing red and then his or her armor could shatter from the force of a strong attack. There are 3 sections Ė top to bottom Ė of armor or articles of clothing that

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can be destroyed. If, say, the upper body armor was destroyed, then taking further upper body attacks will cause that player to suffer more damage. This helps against online fighters who rely too much on defense.

 

Single player modes include Story mode, Arcade mode and Tower of Lost Souls. Story mode is very basic this time around and only consists of 5 matches.  Arcade mode

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is your pretty standard: win eight Stages match and Tower of Lost Souls is a new addition. You can either ascend or descend the tower. If you ascend, you have to go through a few floors filled with multiple enemies. Whatís cool here is that you pick two characters and with a simple push of R1, your character changes tag team style. There are treasure chests on every floor and if certain requirements are met (like ringing out every enemy for example) treasures filled with new items for customization will be unlocked. Descending the tower is basically a tag team survivor mode where your health does not replenish until you have completed a whole set of floors.  

 

ďCreate a SoulĒ makes another appearance and this time we have the option of editing existing characters. Donít like Siegfriedís long hair? Well, now you can give him an afro. If youíre creating a character from scratch, then some players might be disappointed that there are no longer original styles and that every new created soul shares the same move set of an existing character. However, on the positive side, there is plenty of equipment that can be unlocked (as mentioned earlier) and you can make some pretty cool looking modifications to existing characters or create completely new original souls. Some pieces of equipment also have different stats. You also have the option of equipping special skills like nullifying ring outs or adding HP to the health bar for example. Thankfully, special skills are only effective in special matches and Tower of Lost Souls so you still have the option of having a good old fashion fight with your customized characters.

 

soul calibur iv          soul calibur iv

 

If you want to play against a friend, you have the option of Versus mode or Special Versus, which allows you to carry over your special stats from Character Creation. Surprisingly, Team Versus does not make an appearance in the latest instalment of the series.

 

If you happen to have nobody to play with, do not fret, because you can simply play other people online through the PSN. You can play either ranked or unranked matches. Normal Versus and Special Versus modes are both available online as well. There are plenty of people to fight; however, it is annoying that the network also searches for rooms that are full, which forces the player back to the search screen. I have experienced some really bad lag on rare occasions, but most of the time the game runs smoothly. 

 

There is a lot of eye candy in SCIV. Itís definitely pleasing to the eye to finally see our favorite Soul Calibur characters get the PS3 treatment. Stages are very nicely done too. The only problem here is that they went all out on some character designs, which sometimes look ridiculously overdone. Astaroph looks like a pile of rocks from the outset.

 

Even with all the positives running for the game, I still felt a little bit underwhelmed by SCIV, itís definitely still a solid entry to the series and finally being able to play online is worth the buy. If you are new to the series, I do not think youíll be disappointed.

 

- JíTonello

(September 4, 2008)

 

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