Excerpt: Quarter-circle forward, B, quarter circle back, A. Down-back A+B... Ring Out! Yes, SoulCalibur has returned, and, reassuringly to fans of the series, it still lays down seven Samurai swords worth of stabbity action on all comers to the ultimate beat-em-up crown. First thing you notice when seeking out the fourth iteration of Namco's Soul franchise of games, which first exploded into the arcades as Soul Blade back in 1995 (God, has it been ten years?
Excerpt: In Soul Calibur III , I am a lowly level 10 Saint-class warrior dressed in a traditional Chinese changbao robe and armed with a magically elongating Monkey King-style quarterstaff. Across from me is my opponent, the 1000 pound, level 60 barbarian, Astaroth, with his 2000 pound "great" sword. The omnipresent announcer chimes "Fight" and I lunge at Astaroth with a wide swing. It's deftly blocked. I sidestep and twirl my staff in big circular attacking motions. No success.
Excerpt: Fights at school were always the most entertaining part of the educational day. You remember the homing-beaconesque call of ‘FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT’ and the crowds that flocked. Some kids would even drag you along if you weren’t already running – a psychotic grin stretched across their faces, their eyes wide with the anticipated excitement. This all in aid of two boys (or girls) attempting to beat one another up.
Conclusion: Time was when Soul games were deep and technical, while Tekken was goofy indulgence. Now it seems the roles are being reversed, and I for one hate to see it. The sheer amount of stuff that you can eventually obtain in SC3 is enough to tempt any fan of the series, but do not be like me. Be strong and don’t support this path. We want deep and balanced fighting and lots of good, fast ways to do it. Don’t give in, draw the line in the sand.
Conclusion: As always, the Soul Calibur series’ audio continues to impress, largely thanks to Soul Calibur III again going with a sweeping orchestral score. On top of this, the sound effects have a whole lot of punch, especially for those with a decent surround sound system since this game supports THX. Combat itself is quite similar to that in previous Soul Calibur games.
Summary: Namco has consistently improved this
long-running franchise over the years and the additions this time around
are quite impressive. Giving players the ability to create and customize
their own characters is an excellent start, with a custom avatar on screen
allowing you to further immerse yourself into the action.
Conclusion: THE VERDICT: Soul Calibur III is a very fine sequel that continues the series' tradition of thrilling weapons-based combat. The new characters are pretty cool and quite effective, and the game's finely tuned A.I. brings the game's challenge to a level not seen since playing the original Soul Edge coin-op. Soul Calibur III is absolutely worth the interest of all fighting fans.
Conclusion: franchise provides all of the action that fans have grown accustomed to. The only problems really come from some lackluster modes and the fact that the game is starting to feel a little long in tooth. It could just be me considering that I've burned countless hours on the series over the years, but I found myself bored after only a short while.