Soul Calibur 2 Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 9.0
Gameplay : 9.0
Multiplayer : 8.0
Overall : 9.0
Review by Patrick

For this particular game I won't waste time on a ton of background coverage, mainly because it's a fighting game. Soul Calibur dates back past the Dreamcast as the #1 weapon fighting game to date on modern consoles. The story is about fighters from around the world, searching for a legendary sword of power, called Soul Edge. This sword is evil though, so it will take the fighter that gets it willpower of ungodly strengths – to undo the evil.

Gameplay:

Since this is a fighting game, it mostly revolves around timing different attacks on each other. Avoiding and parrying clashes will save your life, as shown later in the game. There are a lot of moves to mess with, many ways to counter them at the same time, and sometimes even ways to strike back whilst countering opponent's attack. With the hundred or more moves per person, you would definitely have a lot of chemistry going on – but more often than not, you will find a move that will stick in your head. With over 15 unique characters, this is a lot of moves to master. An interesting feature in Sould Calibur II is the fact that the different game versions released for the different consoles are not the same game at all. The PS2 version borrows a character from the TEKKEN series of fighting games, Heihachi, on Microsoft's Xbox the infamous comic book anti-hero Spawn is introduced and on the Gamecube, Nintendo's second most renown character pays a visit: Link.



With a sequel come new game modes, such as Weapon Master mode and Extra arcade, vs, and practice modes. Weapon Master is a remake of Soul Calibur 1's adventure mode, where you fight and advance through many levels; unlocking extra modes, features and clips for viewing pleasure. Along with this new remake, comes the ability to find and purchase weapons with unique stats, new costumes, and sometimes new modes; and also, the ability to level up with experience (which only merely changes your rank, nothing else). The "Extra" modes are just remakes of their counterparts, with the ability to use all weapons that were unlocked in Weapon Master. Unlocking things in WM isn't as easy as it sounds, the farther you get, the more it relies on your abilities to time attacks. To a point, WP definitely stands to it's name, Weapon Master.

Since this is a fighting game, it is repetitively slow and exciting at the same time. You and an opponent in a ring, fighting to the death over the last Soul Cookie with only the most scrumptious cookie in the world as a loss :) Sometimes, SC2 can be such a unique amount of fun, that you become addicted to it, and not stop for hours (like me). I loved the original Soul Calibur, and this sequel can only get better. A unique experience of kicking another one's butt, especially with all of these modes and characters.


Picking up the guide

Mastering every aspect of the game will take many, many hours, and still you might not be able to advance and unlock every single secret or mode. Yet again Piggyback comes to the rescue. No matter if you think that guides are lame or on the opposite would never start a game without one, you will likely have come across a piggyback guide at least once in your life. They produced the official guides for blockbusters like Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts, both Metal Gear and Silent Hill titles, and lately the even the fantastic Zelda: The Windwaker guide. And when Soul Calibur II was ready for release, their guide was in stores as well. On its 246 pages you will as always find exclusive behind-the-scenes info on the characters and tips and tricks on how to become a real Soul Calibur professional. A total of 3500 moves (no typo: three-five-zero-zero) are listed in the book, and only after reading this guide can you be absolutely certain that you have found every single secret and are a worthy wielder of Soul Calibur!

Sound:

With all fight scenes and games, music has to accompany the duel, and make it more and more immersive and dramatic. SC2 does a good job on the musical detail, nicely done with drama, darkness, and righteous fury. Along with music, the weapons clinging and bashing sound just like a metal bar hitting an iron sword should sound. The voice-acting is amazing, the characters sound just like they look. The Japanese theme is great too. Sound, which most companies usually don't invest into in fighting games, is marvellously well done in SC2.



Graphics:

Definitely an improvement over the original, as the Gamecube really brings the game to life. The levels and characters, so highly detailed down to the last thread of clothing they have on, look awesome. The detail just to the arenas is so great, that there are roses on walls, fountains, water, clouds, dust and dirt (sometimes) and metal grids. With this much detail, no wonder people love SC. Now, the characters, have unique hair and clothing styles, and definitely look rich and pretty.

Since there is a large selection of weapons per fighter (about 13 per fighter), there has to be a visual distinction. Each and every one of these weapons looks unique and deadly in it's own aspects. For example, Nightmare's huge swords all look different: one is a rusty cleaver, while another is a long blade with thorns coming out the back of it. Each of the weapons made of silver/iron have a nice shiny reflection on them too, for a small detail. I was very impressed with the graphical additions.


Multiplayer:

As with all fighting games out there, there is a VS (Versus) mode. This mode allows two people to fight against each other with their favorite characters on different stages and so on. I tried VS with my brother, and man was it fun. Extra Vs mode allows weapons that you unlocked in Weapon Master mode to be put to use on one another. With all of the new characters, new moves, and new costumes, this VS mode turned into twice as good as the original. Gather some friends and kick each others' heinies. A very fun experience, and doesn't let down a fan of the genre (besides the part where you have to unlock more levels and characters).

Conclusion:

This has to be an excellent addition to any fighter genre fan's collection. With all of the new modes, weapons, costumes, levels, characters, and art to unlock, you will be busy. The replay value is great, because you can play through the game on one of 7 difficulty levels, which provides a challenge to mind and skill.

With very nice sound detail, graphic detail of beyond great, and massive replay value – of over 200 weapons and 5+ characters to unlock (each with new styles and moves) this game definitely has a spot in Fighter history.