The Soul Calibur franchise is probably my favorite fighting game series. I think it’s the different weapon styles that appeal to me. It’s a fairly unique aspect of the series in comparison to most fighting games, which just used hand-to-hand. That, on top of the fluid combat & interesting characters, makes the game a lot of fun to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play all that much of Soul Calibur V today before I had to turn right around & send it back to Gamefly — because I changed my plan back down to one game at a time but for some reason they decided to send me a second game right before the new pay cycle, so they sent me a message saying I have to return one of my games. But no matter. I plan on picking up my own copy this weekend.
I find it strange that there are so many new characters in the roster this time around. Of the twenty-one starting characters available, eight are new. Unfortunately, only three of these new characters bring new fighting styles. All of the others use the same styles as previous characters. Patroklos & Pyrrha use the same sword & shield style as Sophitia, Natsu replaces Taki, Leixia replaces Xianghua & Xiba replaces Kilik. There are some minor upgrades to these styles, like a few new moves, but it would’ve been better if they’d either stuck with the old characters or revamped the styles entirely. But the new fighting styles are unique, interesting & a lot of fun to use. Z.W.E.I. uses a sword but can also summon a phantom werewolf. Viola uses both claws & a magic orb. And of course Ezio of Assassin’s Creed fame uses a variety of blades as well as a crossbow. It’s also good to see the returning characters. I’m particularly glad to see Hilde back. Although I’m not crazy about her sword & lance style, there’s something undeniably badass about a woman in full armor.
The combat, in some ways, seems simplified. Or maybe streamlined is a better term. There seems to be fewer moves than in the previous titles, but there’s a greater emphasis on stringing moves into combos. To that end, the moves are easier to execute, with more variety in holding or delaying attacks. Overall, it feels faster than before, even with the heavier styles. But seriously, what’s up with the training mode? Do you know how annoying it is to have to go to the menu every time I need to look up the next set of moves? I really wish Soul Calibur would adopt a system like in Dead or Alive where the game shows the button prompts for a single move, you complete it & it moves on to the next rather than forcing me to open menus all the bloody time.
Anyways… I spent the majority of my time in Character Creation, which is the real draw of this game. You have three options here: You can modify an existing character’s designated outfit, create a completely new outfit for an existing character or create a new character from scratch. The character creator has seen some improvements, & I don’t just mean superficially. Outfits no longer modify your character’s ability. In SC4, each item of clothing had certain stats with it which affected the skills your character could get. This no longer seems to be the case. Personally, I think this is a huge improvement. This means you no longer have to make your character look like a clown just to get some decent stats. You can make your character look however you want. The game also has prints & stamps to further customize your appearance.
Messing around with the options, I was able to come up with (what I think are) three pretty cool characters using Tira, Viola & Natsu’s styles. Please excuse the blurriness, these images were taken with my mobile.
The ability to customize icons is pretty cool as well.
Hopefully, once I get my own copy of this, I’ll be able to start getting the hang of the new combat & compete in a few online matches.