Why Namco…why?

A tale of souls and swords…eternally retold…almost every gamer has heard this line. It’s obviously from Namco’s hit weapon based fighting series; Soul Calibur. SC5 dropped just last week and I’m…less than ecstatic about the latest installment and its fifteen year time skip. The game is beautiful, it’s amazing how impressive it is compared to SC4 and almost any fighting title out right now. The backgrounds are engaging and make for an entertaining stage to battle in, the character models are equally detailed, the fighters get soaked when they come in contact with water, their outfits look shredded in combat after taking a heavy finishing hit, it’s a visually striking game. The music is back up to snuff as well, I personally though the soundtrack was lacking in SC4, SC5 rectified that with a more robust soundtrack and gave every combatant their own theme and stage. The character creation is back and just as good as before, albeit a little less…full then the previous titles. However what it lacks in a sheer amount of outfits it makes up with a surprising amount or ways to tweak your combatant’s body and face. The roster of fighters has taken a change as well…whether the changes were good are arguable in my case.

Too busy being epic elsewhere to show up.

The “new” characters are a nice change up but are totally underdeveloped and don’t feel fresh at all…save for Z.W.E.I, Viola, the Alexandra kin, and Ezio “Nod at the birds” Auditore…oh and one other guest style included. The other “new” additions are just rehashes with new skin and a few move changes. The omissions of some of the original cast is one of my major issues. No Sophitia? No Taki? No Talim? No Lizardman…who cares about him? They changed the old style of guard breaking and made it a one shot, power bar draining waste of commands.  But the biggest travesty (to me) was taking Cassandra out of the picture…which leads me to the story mode…It gave NO insight to anyone aside from Sophitia’s children…at all. The story was easy even on the hardest difficulty…until the last few fights when Boss Syndrome kicks in. Sure you do a fight or two with Phyrra and Z.W.E.I, but it focused on Patroklos almost the entire affair. The voice acting was decent but the story was told in half hearted stills. Which disappointed me, I was hoping Namco would have tried to out do the story mode of it’s earlier games, and try to go the route Mortal Kombat went with it’s fully rendered, meaty story. The game has an arcade mode but it’s just a fight through the stages affair with nothing else to bring you back, this is literally Patroklos’ game. There’s an extra hard arcade mode too but again it feels tacked on. The online play however…that’s where it’s at SC5 is a multiplayer game through and through, the online play is fluid…unless you or your opponent has a crap router. The Brave Edge system (read: Super Moves) are a good way to get cussed out online too, they add a little flair to the fights but that’s about all, let Street Fighter and Marvel VS Capcom do that.

THE BOTTOM OF THE GLASS…

I love Soul Calibur, I’ve been playing since Soulblade and I’ve enjoyed every title, but for every step taken in this title they took one back. I begrudgingly give Soul Calibur V 8 oz out of 10 oz. With all the time they had I was expecting more, but I’m indeed satisfied. Besides…Tira and Pyrrha are all I really need to make you feel bad.

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