Soul Calibur 2
Soul Calibur was a revolution on the Dreamcast when it was released so you can imagine the expectations being very high when a successor was announced. Now, on all three major console platforms, Soul Calibur 2 has been released. Let’s see if the game lives up to the hype.
Let’s first start with the beginning, what you can do with Soul Calibur 2.
Like many beat’em ups you’ve got a couple of different modes and Soul Calibur 2 has all of them going from Arcade over Versus to Time Attack, Survival, Team Battle, Training, and so on.
Next to the usual modes there’s also the “Weapons Master” mode where go on a journey where your mission is set in multiple area’s and everything gets told to you in text-mode. The idea is that you are on your quest to find Soul Edge (the sword). Your mission will take you all over the place and you’ll have to complete several tasks.
Each area also gives you the possibility to buy clothes and more important, weapons, each having different main features. This is probably the biggest mode as it is quite large and you’ll need to switch characters to be able to complete your tasks. Pretty tactical also because of the combination of characters and weapons you’ll need to be able to finish it.
Every time you complete a mode (or finish off a location in Weapons Master) you’ll be rewarded with something. These rewards can consist of various things going from the end-movie of your character, extra info on the character, new characters to more importantly new modes and very important for Weapons Master: gold with which you can buy stuff.
Many of the characters present have appeared already in previous versions of the game but also some new ones have appeared like Necrid, Talim and Raphael. Also each console has its own exclusive character being Heihachi for PS2, Spawn for XBox and Link for Gamecube.
I haven’t played the Gamecube version yet but for PS2 the very strange thing was that Heihachi is the only character without a weapon. To compensate, he’s one mighty warrior in close range as his uppercuts can almost get you into orbid
Each character has his/her own unique features and way of fighting but you’ll soon realise that they’re pretty well-balanced which is a very good thing for a game like this. I didn’t really find a character that was weaker than another although everyone will have his/her favorites.
Nicely done is also the defense which, like in Dead or Alive, can become a counter-attack and sweep your opponent of his feet after which you can make nice combo’s and finish the battle although you started out in a loosing position.
Also a nice feature is the Soul Charge. You can blow your opponent away with only one attack if he gives you the time. All you need to do is start your Soul Charge, make sure your opponent gives you enough time and make one good blow and no defense will be able to withstand your attack. No attacker will be dumb enough however to give you time for that
The graphics are one of the major point winners for Soul Calibur 2. The surroundings look very nice and “realistic” while the characters are magnificent. Animations are fluid and fast, detail is tremendous and the only thing we could have wished for is gore… but we’re not making a review of Mortal Kombat of course so we’ll keep that to a wish
One of the major downpoints I often see in this kind of games are the cut-scene movies right before and after a fight. Most of the time you keep getting the same movie over and over again, making it incredibly repetitive. Not so with Soul Calibur 2. It took me quite a couple of battles with the same character before I started to see movies re-appear. Very impressive.
The sound and music is good aswell. The music is present but in a way you hardly notice it which is perfect. Nothing can get you more frustrated than irritating music while you’re bashing the head of your opponent. Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t turn off the volume, I’m just trying to say that the score fits the atmosphere perfectly.
Same goes for the effects which are completely up to par and nicely fit the action you are doing. The kicks, the sword bashing… everything sounds as it should.
With six levels of difficulty to fit anyone’s needs, graphics that make you drool, sound that fits the characters and surroundings perfectly, and plenty of modes you just can’t go wrong. A while ago I stated that Virtua Fighter 4 was the best fight game I had ever seen. Well, see here the new Number One.