SoulCalibur, the highest-rated console fighting game, has returned to the next generation! Sharpen your blades as you relive old grudges against classic adversaries in new high definition graphics. Prove your mettle against the world with a variety of leaderboards spanning every character and mode, or challenge a friend in local-play Versus mode.
No of Players: 1-2
Review July 2008 by Keith Murray.
It’s amazing how things change so quickly in the world of videogames. Nine years ago, SoulCalibur was a Dreamcast exclusive and one of the finest examples of the fighting genre. Fast forward to 2008 and we find it as a relatively small download released on the Live Arcade section of the 360`s download service.
There can’t be many gamers out there who don’t hold fond memories of SoulCalibur. Combining stunning looks with perfect controls (considering how unwieldy the Dreamcast joy pad was) Namco Bandai’s weapons-based fighter was an instant hit and garnered a massive worldwide fan base because of it. So just how does it fare today?
Surprisingly the core gameplay is still intact and controls are as instinctive and easy to pull off as they ever were, while still offering another layer of depth for those looking to master a certain character and their moves. As soon as the stirring musical score strikes up the hairs on the back of your neck rise in unison, proving it still has pulling power after all this time. The resolution hasn’t been tinkered with, maintaining the originals 4:3 resolution instead of updating to widescreen 16:9. It’s not a major complaint and the game doesn’t suffer due to this.
Unfortunately, whether due to the size limit of titles on XBLA or not, Namco have removed the superb mission mode from this release. This was seen by many as SoulCalibur’s crowning moment and it feels as if something is missing from this release due to its omission with all the cool features it encompassed. The different weapons & costumes that were unlockable extras for each character are now available from the start and while this may suit some gamers it feels slightly cheap as you don’t have much to play for.
Also there is no online mode, which it is slightly strange given that the same company managed to release Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection on the PlayStation Network with online play, albeit added at a later date. It would have been nice to be able to participate in bouts with people from your friends list, but given the shocking way that Mr. Driller Online (also from Namco) was handled, it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
No matter, there’s still something special about this game after all this time. While some titles suffer the ravages of time, SoulCalibur can be regarded as a fine addition to XBLA and well worth the 800 Microsoft Points it costs for entry. Even if it’s just to attempt Ivy’s Summon Suffering Move just one more time.