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SoulCalibur IV

Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Date: July 29, 2008 (US), Aug. 1, 2008 (EU)

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13. 'Soul Calibur IV' (PS3/X360)

by Rainier on Jan. 19, 2008 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

Swords will be honed and weapons optimized in Namco Bandai's Soulcalibur IV. Delivering new gameplay modes, characters and enhanced features with unprecedented 3D modeling and animation, Soulcalibur IV will be the definitive fighting game experience. Yoda and Darth Vader are not the only playable Star Wars characters in SC IV as Namco Bandai revealed the Secret Apprentice from Lucasarts' Star Wars: The Force Unleashed will be included on both platforms.

Alicia Ashby: I'm sort of a die-hard fan of the Soul Calibur series, the unfortunate Soul Calibur III aside. Soul Calibur IV somehow features Darth Vader and Yoda as playable characters, and that alone would've led to me checking it out in the name of morbid curiosity. With that said, Soul Calibur IV also seems to be moving away from the grotesque designs of Soul Calibur Legends, and frankly, SCIV couldn't possibly be worse. So I'll dutifully buy it and play it, probably for the 360, and run through the unlock gauntlet. Hopefully, it'll have the story and cool special modes that made the early games so great, with a little less of the gimmicky Create-a-Fighter system that was actually quite limited. If Create-a-Fighter does come back, please make unlocking parts less stupid, Namco Bandai. This is all I ask.

Redmond Carolipio: I was looking forward to this game even before Darth Vader and Yoda showed up. Given how much I enjoyed the character design, I'm really excited about the ability to create a character and take him or her online. Speaking of characters, what's up with the Hilde, the female knight? I want to see what she can do and if she's really as much of a badass as she looks in some of the pictures. Call me a weapons freak, but I want to see how the game handles sword-and-spear combat. I have a feeling I'll either love it or hate it, but the fact that I'm even talking about a fighting game like this bodes well for the future.

Xav de Matos: When Soul Calibur was released on the Dreamcast in 1999, gamers anticipated the future of connected gaming and what it meant for fighting games to go online. Nearly a decade later, Namco is on the heels of releasing a fully online sequel to its critically and commercially successful series with Soul Calibur IV. While online fighters have had years to perfect the system, Soul Calibur IV has the added benefit of being one of the best 3D fighting franchises to grace the home console. With a rumored 20+ playable characters, gameplay more in line with Soul Calibur 2 and complete online access to its various modes, Soul Calibur IV is a fighting fan's dream come true.

James King: The original Soul Calibur marked a significant evolution in the fighting game genre by introducing many new concepts that have impacted fighting game theory and designs of later fighting games. The series has pioneered concepts like guard impacts, eight-way run, horizontal vs. vertical attacks, and a number of other ideas. SC3 seemed to suffer from some balance issues and a lack of multi-platform support. If those issues can be resolved, then SC4 could redeem the series and establish itself as one of the top fighting games.

Chris Lawton: If there's one fighting series that I've always loved, it's been Soul Calibur. When others were playing Namco's other series, Tekken, I was sinking my quarters into the world of Ivy, Maxi and Mitsurugi. My favorite thing about the series is that Namco never tries to weigh down the formula by adding new gameplay elements; it always feels like Soul Calibur when you step up to the joystick. As for the addition of Yoda and Darth Vader to the ranks, this fanboy is both confused and excited. I'm certainly confused because they don't seem to fit, but I'm excited because it's freakin' Darth Vader and Yoda! I hope that Namco continues to refine the solid gameplay they've given us with the past games. If so, they can expect my money.

Zane "R3X" MaƱasco: Soul Blade was great on the PS1, and subsequent games have had a great fighting system. It's fast and satisfying and in my opinion, it's the best fighting series out there. Early games had weapon upgrades and character customization, which are features that I hope to see in this installment. Soul Calibur IV has some Jedi and Sith fighting (depending on which console you own), which is a bonus for me. Although the campaign mode can be hit and miss, the games do not disappoint when it comes to beating the snot out of your friends.

Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen: The Soul Calibur series is pretty much the definitive game in the 3D weapons-based sub-genre of fighting games. The original Soul Edge was unexceptional but fairly popular nonetheless, but Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast was one of the biggest hits of that short-lived system, while Soul Calibur II brought the interesting choice of having different characters unique to each console version. More recently, Soul Calibur III, derided by many due to being a PS2 exclusive, brought a very robust character-creation engine and a simple real-time strategy mode to freshen things up. No one is quite sure how Namco is going to make Yoda and Darth Vader work as console-specific characters (one for each of the 360 and PS3 versions), but it's certainly in keeping with the series' over-the-top tone, and it certainly makes an interesting capstone for both editions.

Matthew Szlapka: Even without knowing much about the story line, gameplay, and feature additions and changes, I think one specific point has been made clear: The Force is strong with this game. With Yoda and Vader as playable characters, fans will be sure to flock. The developers have been keeping a very strong stopper on all info, so finding out will take some time, but the battles will certainly be grand and stunning.

Thomas Wilde: Darth Vader may be a bit much, and Ivy's new outfit is definitely a bit much, but Soul Calibur has always been at least worth a few days' entertainment whenever a new game comes out. Namco makes a few questionable design decisions with each game and seemingly takes each game further and further away from the hardcore tournament fan base, but those first few days are always solid fun.

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