Soul Calibur


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 10

Sound: 9.5

Gameplay: 9.5

Overall: 9.5

While 2-D fighters may still be the preference amongst the hardcore gaming crowd, there's no denying that the move to 3-D has slowly gained ground. With major franchises like Capcom's Street Fighter staying true to their roots, the competition has begun to take over. Here we have Soul Calibur, one of the single greatest fighting games ever designed. Packed full of replay value, varied characters, graphics from the gods, and an impeccable soundtrack, Soul Calibur brings the fighting genre into 3-D better than anything else before it.

After a gorgeous real-time intro, players are led to a menu chock full of tantalizing options. The training mode is a must for newcomers as the involving gameplay may overwhelm those unfamiliar with the game's precursor, Soul Blade. For those playing alone, the quest mode offers gamers a chance to earn tons of bonuses in the art gallery via a point system. This is by far and away the most original option the game has and it will take months to get through all of it. Unlocking the abundance of hidden characters is done through the standard arcade mode, and the survival option gives players one life bar to take on as many opponents as they can. This is definitely a game to get your moneys worth out of.

The gameplay is almost imposing from the start. The ability to move in full 3-D with such ease may throw off many players accustomed to standard fighters. Once the realization sets in that this allows for the deepest gameplay ever conceived in a fighter, gamers will clamor for more. The parry system, deep combo scheme, and easily executed juggles make this one of the deepest fighters ever brought into existence. Ring outs are a common occurrence and an option to turn these off would be welcome, but no game is perfect. It's also obvious that a newcomer to the game will get blown out by a pro. There's little room for error.

While it's sad to see a launch game show off such immense graphical prowess (so much so that no other game came close during the Dreamcast's reign), the result is fantastic. The characters move with a lifelike fluidness never before conceived in a fighter. The characters are modeled with countless polygons and the backgrounds are jaw dropping. The lighting effects are some of the best any console has ever performed and outclass even the majority of more recent fighters. None of the usual problems associated with polygonal fighters (drop-out, flicker, slowdown) are present, a true testament to Namco's ability to harness the power of the little white box.

While the soundtrack may not equal it's predecessor, the orchestrated soundtrack is still astounding. It doesn't seem to have the overall epic feel of the first game. The sounds of weapons clanging and gladiators screaming in agonizing defeat fit the bill and you can't expect anything more.

With flawless gameplay mechanics, characters packed with polygons, nearly endless replay value, and a soundtrack like no other, Soul Calibur is a game not to be missed. With a game like this, it baffles the mind as to why this console is now defunct. It's really impossible to ask much more from any game, especially when it was one of the first games for the console. If you own the console, you must own this game, no questions asked.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Saturday, June 18, 2005 04:47 AM