STAFF REVIEW of Soulcalibur V (Xbox 360)

Monday, February 6, 2012.
by Brent Roberts

Soulcalibur V Box art The fates and destinies of every soul are interwoven into the threads of time. Always starting and ending but constantly evolving and moving, the only control we have is how our destiny will impact those around us. We all have a choice in our involvement: whether to wield our influence for destructive purposes in order to obtain our goals at any cost, or we chose to be a beacon of light; helping those and using our powers to better the lives of all around us by eliminating the shadows of evil. While our souls each have a choice, the one undeniable truth is that each choice presents a challenge which is why we must fight and fight to win. The task at hand of choosing your destiny is always a daunting one, however, there are tools that you can wield to help you achieve victory and those are the Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. These swords are locked in a constant battle for eternal supremacy and rely on the will of its owner to tip the scales of balance in its favor. Come with us as we walk the ribbons of time and space and uncover the destiny of the latest chapter in this holy war and find out the fate of Soul Calibur V.

Before we begin our quest let us take notice that Soul Calibur V boasts a hefty fighter roster with a wealth of brand new weapons, fighters and fighting styles. Some of the older characters' descendants apparently make their first appearance such as: Natsu who is a student of Taki and must learn to confront and control her inner demons to harness her power, Xiba who resembles the infamous fighter Kilik, and Patroklos and Pyrrah who are the children of Sophitia. There is one new addition to the fighter roster that fits the feel of Soul Calibur V and that warrior is the Assassin himself, Ezio Auditore. This Assassin's close and ranged combat combined with fluid striking movements make Ezio born for a game such as this.

Different fighting stances and styles blend perfectly with the weapon combat and deliver the smooth and fluid combat that has been the backbone of the Soul Calibur series. Button mashers will have an ease about picking up the game and going toe to toe utilizing the revamped Critical Edge attack, but for those who have the determination to reach into Soul Calibur V's core, they will find a complex and brutal fighting system where mercy is but a theory and total domination is guaranteed. Soul Calibur V takes what has been great about the series and improves every aspect of it while introducing some new innovations that rekindle the fire that burns within each of our souls.

When talking about unraveling the story and history of each character the bread and butter behind the single player experience is the story mode. This mode is one of the game's biggest thorns in its side as you are stuck using one fighter named Patroklos who could be considered an arrogant spoiled brat and without any warning, guidance, or instruction you are thrown into battle after battle and forced to pray for salvation as you fight through 20 stages of opponents in a quest to reunite your family and end the Malfestation. While the story had a good foundation the execution of this makes you pray for an Astaroth axe to the face. To complement the single player experience, Soul Calibur V brings to the table various modes such as Quick Battle where you can earn new titles and other character customizable items, Arcade mode which is essentially a six round time trial, and the seemingly impossible Legendary Souls mode where the warriors do everything possible to prove you worthless in the ring.

Facing this adversity head on, Soul Calibur V delivers some major improvements and innovations that really add to the overall quality of the game. For starters, the character creation makes its return but now in enhanced to deliver a truly customizable warrior. If you wanted a fighter who was tiny like Yoda but had tons of muscle mass while wearing a chain mail shirt, a head of a horse, and the loin cloth of Conan, then by all means seek immediate professional help, but you could easily do this. New titles and customizable equipment can be won either online, or via single player modes. Almost everything can be changed, altered, or um... enhanced which allows you to truly create a unique fighter. Some of the other new innovations include improvements to the multiplayer aspects by introducing a lobby where you can view ongoing battles, register for a match, and more. Given that the core of Soul Calibur games is the multiplayer experience, the new streamlined interface and new innovations breathe new life and power into this stunning fighting game.

While we know Soul Calibur games to deliver a smooth and fluid fighting system, we have also come to expect amazing things in realm of graphics, and without question Soul Calibur delivers a knockout. While there are some very tiny flaws with some of the clothing, every visual aspect of this fighting game is breathtaking. The character models, cinematic sequences, the fighting arenas and even the combat itself look as though a piece of art has come to life. Even though the graphics are beyond beautiful, the sound however is something that doesn't bear much contribution to the game. The ring announcer becomes very tiresome as you progress through multiple matches and rounds and the stage music itself does very little to make a big impact on the combat itself.

If you want a fighting game to be a success, then nothing can be held back and all punches must be thrown. Soul Calibur V does take a couple shots that would normally stagger and cripple other fighting games, but the spirit will always live on as it brings gamers smooth, beautiful combat combined with a strengthened multiplayer system to provide hours upon hours of enjoyment. What destiny will you choose? What will history say about you? Time to draw swords and step into the ring of Soul Calibur V.

Please work on developing multiple quality storylines for the characters and quality sound. Make the next entry in the series feel like an epic impact on the fabric of time.

Overall: 8.3 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 7.5 / 10


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