gaming since 1997

Soul Calibur III

A little over two years ago Speed looked at Soul Calibur 2 on the PS2 and gave it a 95% score. Today it’s my job to see if the succesor does just as wel… not an easy task if you haven’t played the previous incarnations.

Very recognisable in Soul Calibur III is the build of the game. Those of you that know the Tekken series will share this opinion. And why would Namco change this winning formula – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it! On the other hand is the fact that Soul Calibur III is indeed a game that stands on its own!. Firm gameplay that is easily entered but hard to master. This statement of course stands for most fighting games, but is not intended as a negative. This genre suffers from a lack of gameplay originality, and this game is the same as the earlier releases: beating the hell out of each other with various weapons. Or would you like something new like the incredible potato-peeler or broomstick? Enter the horrific feather duster! Naaah! Great broadswords, spears, katana’s and knifes that would make Crocodile Dundee blush are the prefered weaponry!

Talking about arms, these aren’t limited to a single standard per character. After each fight, and keeping in mind the speed and style of chopping up your opponent, you get a small pile of gold which can be used to unlock various weapons. Maybe a small bit of criticism: the unlocked weaponry basically stays the same with a couple of minimal changes – as far as I was able to see. But you can of course use your hard earned gold to unlock various other items – up to and including artwork. Not that this adds a lot to the game, but the hardcore fans will probably keep playing to unlock absolutely everything…

What else can a developer do to make the classic bashing a bit more atractive?•Renew the characters, replace a few and add a little extra – Check.

This little suprise comes in adding the only Tekken persona worth of transfer to SCIII… Yoshimitsu.•Garnishing the game with a bit of a storyline – Check.

Not that I’m very interested in a storyline, I’d rather just get into it, but a nice little extra was put into some cutscenes where sometimes a demanded buttoncombo will influence the following round or the end story.•Add the obligotary Tournament mode – Check.

This will certainly help with unlocking several items and weapons, and is in my opinion more fun than the story driven mode. Pure bashing to win a tournament! Especially great when you know all the moves your chosen character has.•Include an original extra game – check:

In “Chronicles of the Sword” you will use a persona that you made yourself in sort of “RPG meets Risk” style of gameplay. This mode, next to the different tournament styles, will give the game the longer lifespan it deserves. I haven’t played an awful lot of it yet, but the fact that you are fighting with your own creations gives you the opportunity to try it again with another, and another, and… you get the point, don’t you 🙂

Building your own character is rather extensive, and for you little perverts: yes, you can have them fighting in their underwear, but you’ll have to unlock a lot of items to make things really interesting. This character can be used in the tournament modes or agains a friend in a “Versus” match. You can’t go online with this game which is a missed opportunity in my opinion. Other games, like “Mortal Kombat Deception” have proven that online fighting works, so why not do it with Soul Calibur III? Testing you own creation online would have been a very cool extra!

The graphics are top notch, and sound is really great too. Again Namco has succesfully integrated nice atmospheric tunes without being overpowering. A little thing that did bother me was the fact that the packaging promises “Dolby Digital 5.1” sound but in fact this is only true for the THX intro movie. They did use Dolby ProLogic II ingame and this worked like a charme.

As stated earlier, this type of game does not score big on originality, but the different game-modes and unlockable content will keep you playing for while. A quick round, alone or against a friend, or training hard to know all the moves, it’s all there. If we have to remember a negative then the lack of online playing would be it…

Our Score:
related game: Soul Calibur III
posted in: NamcoBandai, PS2, Reviews
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