Soul Calibur 5 was released at the end of January and I have spent the last several weeks playing the game regularly. At first I was disappointed that many of the characters From previous Soul Calibur games had been removed but I quickly became attached to some of the characters. I feel confident saying that Soul Calibur 5 is my favorite game in the series and I expect to spend many fun-filled evenings with the game over the next few years.
Since I began playing Soul Calibur the basics of the game have remained about the same. Soul Calibur 4 introduced finishing moves but to this day I have never successfully performed a finishing move (though I have rarely tried). The finishing moves seemed like a nice new feature when it was announced but in the end the moves didn’t change the gameplay at all. Soul Calibur 5 has finally taken the series in a new direction and made real chances to the way the game is played.
The most obvious change is that the finishing moves from Soul Calibur 4 have been replaced with super moves that are less powerful and easier to perform. Soul Calibur 5 has more-or-less copied the “super bar” that is present in most of the latest 2D fighting games.
Soul Calibur 5 has pulled another feature from 2d fighters: combos. There have always been some combos in Soul Calibur games, but they are much easier to execute than they have been in the past.
Lastly, a quick dash has been added as a basic character skill. This is my favorite new feature a d allows you to quickly circle around your opponent. When I first started playing Soul Calibur many matches seemed as if they took place in a 2d arena because my brothers and I had not yet learned how to effectively use the 3d arena. Over the years I have learned how to use the 3d aspects better, but sidestepping has always been slow. Often sidestepping is not enough to evade an attack. The new quick dashes fixes these issues with sidestepping.
Overall I’m very happy with the changes that have been made, and It gives me hope for the future of the series.
Lackluster Single Player
At this point I’ve come to expect a poor single player experience from Soul Calibur (and truthfully most other fighting games), but I’m going to spend some time elaborating on the problem anyway. Most of the single player modes are standard faire, but “quick matches” are a new addition.
“Quick matches” pair you against computer controlled characters of various skill levels. It’s a nice feature if you only want to play for a few minutes, but it grows old quickly.
The other noteworthy single player mode is the story mode. In this case the story mode is noteworthy because it is terrible. The story mode consists of matches separated by cut scenes and storyboard-style images. The animated cut scenes are beautiful, but the storyboard images are dull. It actually feels like the developers ran out of time and couldn’t make animated scenes for all the story segments. Regardless, the story itself is…in-a-word…bad. Of course, I seriously doubt anyone plays Soul Calibur for the story.
Despite the single player shortcomings, I am very happy with the way Soul Calibur 5 turned out. The multiplayer is fantastic, and multiplayer is the reason I play fighting games.
If you want single player, forget it.
If you want multiplayer, don’t miss it.