SoulCalibur is a series that is almost 14 years old, and has become famous for its great graphics, its pompous characters, its dense story and its interesting special guests. If you’ve always enjoyed this mix, you’ll like to know that SoulCalibur V it keeps almost everything intact, and still manages to insert one novelty or another, as well as a new generation of characters.
Always trying to bring depth to his narrative, this time the plot takes place 17 years after the events of the previous game. Again, the story revolves around the swords of good and evil – Soul Calibur and soul edge – but this time, the script is basically focused on two characters, both newbies: Patroklos and Pyrrha, children of the veteran sophitia.
This cast renewal is a real double-edged sword: while it’s cool to have new characters joining the cast, on the other, it’s sad that they’re coming not to add, but to replace old acquaintances. Considering that many of the characters left out have been in the series since the beginning, many fans may be disappointed by the changes.
This is exceptionally frustrating when we see that many of the new warriors are nothing more than descendants of the old ones and therefore have weapons, blows and even look very similar to their predecessors: Natsu is the ninja’s apprentice Taki (but is possessed by a demon, which grants it some new powers). The character Xiba is the spiritual successor of Kilik. Yan has the same fighting style as his mother, Xianghua; Pyrrha is identical to sophitia, and so on.
We have nothing against changes, but in this case the tradition should be taken into account: have you thought about frost – in Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance – had replaced his master, Sub-Zero, once in the series? Yeah, in SoulCalibur V, that’s more or less what happens: pupils replace masters, which leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth of those who have been following the series for a long time.
Precisely because it is so focused on two new characters, the story mode – which has 20 chapters, and basically progresses through texts and static scenes – can become uninteresting. Perhaps the excellent story mode of Mortal Kombat has left us very demanding, but it is a fact that, in terms of the single player campaign, SoulCalibur V falls short. the focus on Patroklos and Pyrrha leaves the impression that Ivy, Mitsurugi, back, astaroth and so many other classic characters are there just to “meet the table”, as none of them have their own solo campaign.
In addition to the story mode, those who play alone will be able to venture into other game modes, such as the traditional one Arcade Mode it’s the Quick Battle, where you must overcome a series of challenges, which raise your ranking in the game and unlock tons of items that can be used in character customization. We still have the new mode Legendary Souls, which has a very high level of difficulty and is only recommended for the most skilled.
Well, but since no one buys a fighting game to play alone, SoulCalibur V offers the best quality brawling in its multiplayer mode, great for playing both offline and online. Among the online modes, the most interesting is the Global Colosseum, which creates rooms separated by region, allowing you to meet other players from your country, interact with them in chats or challenge them to quick matches or mini-tournaments.
The gameplay remains solid and functional as always – albeit a little faster – but there is room for welcome innovations in game mechanics. SoulCalibur V brings new features that nowadays are essential in any good fighting game: the special moves – brave and critical edges – and the special defenses – just guards and Guard Impacts.
Each fighter has a critical edge just below the energy bar. It is charged dealing or taking damage and, when filled, allows the player to use a powerful special move, which features differentiated camera angles and stylish animations in the best style of the Ultra Combos in Street Fighter IV.
The fact that these moves do not require complex sequences of commands makes SoulCalibur V be a very accessible game. Hardcore gamers will even strategically duel, sacrificing their special bar to open their opponent’s guard with the Guard Impacts, but even those who have never played SoulCalibur will be able to apply some cool special moves in no time.
For the rest, the gameplay follows that scheme we already know: melee brawls in large 3D scenarios with a lot of freedom of movement. The special guest of the time, Ezio Auditore, in Assassin’s Creed, fits very well in the game (and visually, it has more to do with this universe than Darth Vader or yoda), using familiar weapons – such as the hidden blade and the crossbow – in their attacks.
An interesting novelty is that the scenarios now have multiple levels: the infamous “ring outs” (the act of knocking an opponent out of the ring) still happen, but now we have some arenas where, when taking down your opponent, you go after him, and the fight continues in a whole new area. We also have scenarios that deteriorate as the battle progresses to reveal new areas.
Since we are talking about scenarios, we must talk about graphics. The series SoulCalibur has always been a benchmark in terms of visual quality, and the new game honors this status, offering scenarios so beautiful and detailed that they seem true three-dimensional paintings. The character models are beautiful, with fancy outfits full of different textures, all with fluid and natural animations.
The sound also maintains the same style we already know: some inspired compositions (others not so much), accompanied by squeals, groans and a convincing steel-on-steel clang. The excited narrator continues to unleash his epic catchphrases, but some voiceovers are overly melodramatic, which turns certain comments into unintended comedies.
Initially, 21 of the 27 characters in the game are enabled. With a little effort in single player modes, it won’t be long before you unlock all the fighters. If the 27 available characters aren’t enough for you, there’s a dense system of creating fighters that will offer hours of fun for those who enjoy creating a character from scratch. The sky is the limit here, and with a little creativity you can create very stylish warriors… or very bizarre, whichever you prefer.
Unfortunately, the character creation system is restricted to your warrior’s look; the fighting and striking styles are all copied from existing characters. A curious addendum is the possibility of putting the fighting style of Devil Jin – that’s right, the demonic version of Jin Kazama, in Tekken! – in his creation.
In short, SoulCalibur V honors the series in almost every aspect, managing to insert new features that make its gameplay more modern and dynamic. Except for the slide in its story mode and the replacement of several veteran warriors, the game offers a great 3D brawl, with a visual to behold, both for the beautiful scenarios and for the beautiful warriors.
This review was originally published in issue 32 of BestyGames magazine.