Reviewed: August 20, 2008
Released: July 29, 2008
Move over Mortal Kombat, there is a new fighting game in town in Soul Caliber IV. I have been one of the biggest fans of the Mortal Kombat series, ever since my first experiences on the Gameboy and Super Nintendo, and I wasnít very excited about playing Soul Caliber IV because it seemed exactly like a knock off version of Mortal Kombat but with swords.
To my surprise this game was above and beyond every expectation I had. Yes this is a hand to hand combat game, but the way it is played sets it about the rest.
The move combinations, story lines, and characters are much deeper and pull you into the game. On top of that in Soul Caliber IV you get the honor of learning to use THE FORCE with Darth Vader, and if you are good enough, his Apprentice. Follow everyoneís unique stories, unlock new characters, and even create your own and experience the entire ass kicking in the fourth installment of Soul Caliber.
You open up the game with multiple options available to you. You have multiple game modes to choose from; arcade, Tower of Lost Souls, story, and online modes. If you donít like any of the characters available to you feel free to create your own as well and fight your way through all game modes.
In arcade mode you choose a character and battle your way through multiple levels. It is if you were playing on a giant arcade game system in the mall or old game shop. You go head to head against a random opponent. Depending on how fast and how well you fight you receive points which can be displayed online to see where you stack up against the die hard in your face fans.
In Tower of Lost Souls mode you can ascend up a mountain and fight with only one and up to three characters for each floor level. Here you fight multiple opponents and you donít get to refresh your life after each opponent falls.
This really tests your skills and shows you how good you really are. After you ascend up to a certain floor level you have the option of descending the mountain as well. There is no change in the level patterns you just get tested again as you make your way down after defeating everyone in y our path on the way to the top.
Finally there are story modes for every character and unlockable characters. Each character has a reason on why they are on this great quest of fighting. Most for power, some for salvation, and some for revenge. Each story has the same floor levels but different characters that you fight. After defeating all the characters in each story, you are shown a cut scene that wraps up everything in that characters quest very well.
If you really want to feel like you are in the game you can create your dream fighter and custom him or her anyway you want. If you like certain weapons from other fighters, give your character that weapon.
Customize their fighting equipment to the clothes they were with the gold you earn from playing anything in the game. If you are set on one character you can customize each one up to ten times.
While you play any of these modes you will quickly find out that this is the ďKing GameĒ of button mashing. This game is filled with amazing multiple button combos to inflict the greatest damage. You will quickly find that some of the more damaging combos require tough combos and they donít always register or take a long time to perform and that leaves you defenseless often.
Anytime you play while hooked up online you can have all your scores posted or fight anyone of your choosing. Get ranked and then build on it as you learn to master your character and go set your mark in Soul Caliber IV history against the best of the best.
I truly wanted to fall in love with the graphics. I really did try, but I canít help but notice major flaws with some characters. The biggest and probably some of the main reason average gamers bought this game was to play as Darth Vader. That is the only reason I got it, well other than also getting to play as his Apprentice too.
It seems like he was only half complete. His helmet and armor look fantastic! It looks polished and reflects all the light beautifully. Absolutely no complaints there, but the rest of him looks incomplete. PlayStation 2 quality at best.
There is no texture to his suit over the chest or arms. The same problems show up more noticeably with the Lizard creature and less notable on many other characters. It really ruins the look and feel of the game at first notice.
On a more positive note the graphics look flawless during game play. The background levels look vivid and unique. During fighting, as you move around, there are no graphic glitches at all. Neither with the background or with the characters movements. You see all the sparks fly when hitting each other on metal or with each others weapons. Even the characters clothes flow well with the movement with minimal glitches with the long flowing clothing items that seem to cut holes to allow feet to flow through them.
This category really caught me off guard. From top to bottom almost perfect. Finally!! Every detail paid attention to. You could understand how hard a blow was being thrown by the characters grunts. You could feel the force being used when a character jumps by the sound of them landing or the grunt to get more power in the jump. You could hear every shattering blow to the other characters weapon or to them. The only issue that I could muster up was some of the pre fighting and post fighting ďtrash talkingĒ didnít seem to flow all that well together.
Once again torn while playing on thinking about is this game really worth full price, I came to the conclusion that it isnít. On one side you are looking at a true button mashing game that never lets up and can get very repetitive very fast. All I could think of was is a button mashing game ever worth sixty dollars? This game might be yes but only for a select few. There are so many moves for each character that you may never find the perfect way to fight with them so that could keep you interested for a long time.
On the other hand, you are looking at about twenty different story modes to play with each lasting about twenty minutes. If that isnít enough you have an arcade mode. And then on top of that you have the opportunity to ascend or descend the Tower of Lost Souls. If you are up to the challenge you can compete with anyone online and see where you rank among the best.
As I have stated before I am a huge Mortal Kombat fan and was not excited at all about reviewing this game. After playing for about an hour I quickly forgot about my feelings and become a huge fan. You have so much to do with multiple game modes. I found that once I created a character I wanted to perfect him and it drove me to eat, sleep, and play Soul Caliber. This game sucks you in and doesnít let you go. By the time I wrote this review I forgot about my past favorite fight games and realized that nothing else can and will never compare!