Monday, February 6, 2012

Soulcalibur V - fun game, high price of admission

Soulcalibur V

Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Project Soul
Available: NOW
Available on: Xbox 360, PS3
Price: $59.99

I liked Soulcalibur V. It's a fun game - has my dog Ezio Auditore from Assassin's Creed as a playable fighter, but the LOL story mode made me cry for the main character, Patroklos Alexander. To be a hero, he has to be the dumbest character I've ever played.

Developed by Project Soul and published by Namco Bandai, Soulcalibur V puts players into the role of Patroklos, a misguided soul who's searching for his sister. The surprise that awaits him is a hoot.

There are a host of modes - online and offline, single player, even this Legendary Souls mode, which pits gamers against boss after after. In the mode, the difficulty is ramped up to insane levels.

The other modes include arcade mode, creation mode (where you can craft your characters), a versus mode (you against the CPU or another human) and online matches.

The story mode is a joke. Basically, the best way to describe the story mode a series of storyboards sewn between matches. It's downright tragic listening to how gullible Patroklos is.

Despite the effort that Project Soul put into the single player mode, it was a step in the wrong direction and really unnecessary. The mode didn't add anything of value to the game and even tarnished the brand.

Graphics, however, as a different story. The presentation is slick, the kicks, punches and jabs look amazing. Each fighter has its own unique brand of moves, including Ezio's lunges and hidden knife jabs. The environments are destructible and some of them even have a ring-out option to end the match quickly.

Audio is superb. The soundtrack is some of the best I've heard. The voice acting isn't memorable but the slices, the thumps as bodies hit the ground are pretty much on point.
Gameplay and controls are an interesting mix. I played several matches with the standard Xbox 360 controller - never again - and the Dream Stick Arcade controller (winning). The controls were so much harder with the regular controller versus the ease of use with an arcade stick. If you are a fighting junkie and want this game, invest in an arcade stick. Otherwise, you are playing the game, but not like it's meant to be played.

Overall, the single-player mode left me wanting so much more, but the online and versus modes made up for it. And any chance to play as Ezio Auditore adds major points in my book.

The verdict? 7 (out of 10). As much as I wanted to give the game a higher score, as much as I loved the environment and loved the soundtrack, the single player weighed too heavy on me. Plus, the game is $59.99 and should only be $39.99 since about half of the game is in serious need of repair. If you love the series, you'll enjoy the various modes. If you are new to the series and want to take this for a spin, rent it.

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