Soul Calibur is one of those series that in recent installments seems to of lost its way, the once popular arena fighter, has seemed to focus too much on a story mode, and special characters ,Who can forget dearth Vader and yoga making a special appearance. It’s not to say that the actual fighting has changed more that the general feel of the series has gone a bit too serious, so it isn’t a big surprise that they are remaking them in HD forms, even I’m personally waiting for a HD of the 3rd. After the warm welcoming of the first Soul Calibur HD, it’s good to see one of the game’s most consider to be the gem of the whole series remade, though it has been released a little late in the console generation so it would be nice to see a PS4/Xbone release/announcement.
So from the original release back in 2003, 10 years later we finally have Soul Calibur 2 HD online, which if the title didn’t make clear, is the game remade in high Definition, with the extra ability to play online as well. It also adds two characters that were originally only platform specific, Hitachi from the Tekken series, which was originally only on the PS2 version, and Comic hero Spawn, originally only found on the Xbox version, it’s no surprise that Legend of Zelda Link won’t be found here.
So apart from the slight addition to the character roster, there isn’t much else to be found, though each of the characters really do look fantastic in there new HD remaking, in some cases you forget just how old this game is, it did look fantastic a decade ago, but now even more fantastic. Each of the characters have had their own HD treatment, and I’m sure something to do with their colours, I’m not sure what but when I was playing, the colours of the characters really stood out to me. Same with the stages, everything has been given the same level of attention, and it really does make this HD remake an enjoyable game to watch.
All of the modes that were present back then are still here as well, you can test your skill on the Arcade set up, and go through the standard x amount of characters until you get to a boss, where you can then unlock new characters or new costumes for each of them. I’ve always enjoyed the Arcade mode in fighting games, and it’s something that in recent Soul Calibur that has been taken out, and it always makes it feel less like a fighting game, sometimes I don’t want a story. Of course in the title we have a new added “Online” which if you can guess adds the ability to play, well online, allowing for the first time Soul Calibur 2 to be played across the internet.
If you can remember the big units this game used to take up in Arcades, then it’s a nice addition to just be able to play across the net, sure every time I did play I got my ass handed to me by Japanese players, but it was still fun. Net code is pretty good, though there isn’t really any excuse in this day and age to have poor netcode, I did have one match where I experienced some annoying input lag, but that was out of about 15 matches, so the ratio was pretty good. Though it isn’t all great, the mode does leave something to be desired, if you’re used to modern fighters you might be a bit put off on how the online works. There is no lobbies or spectator in player matches, so you can’t join a few people and wait your turn which I find disappointing, as for games with low population online this method made it easy to find and play with the few others. Ranked is pretty standard affair though, but if your only looking for a quick battle, or one to raise your player level, some of the people in ranked are not what you would call a friendly spar. Also there is only Player and Ranked match to choose from, so there isn’t any Tag team action for those who enjoyed it, so the online is barebones at best, though they have managed to stick a 10 year old title online, but it could have had some more love. For those who do like there fighters online, it isn’t the best game by all means, I think the best fighter in my opinion for online is Tekken Tag 2, but if you have a good connection it is fun to while an afternoon away.
One of the modes that is still here is Weapon Master mode, which if you remember the game from back then, you probably remember spending a lot of time in this mode, which is understandable, it’s the quickest way to unlock character’s, and get access to all the alternative weapons and costumes. It’s a mode where you tackle different fights with certain restrictions, or with a time limit, at first it is fairly easy but later on you can get some truly frustrating levels, some of which I still remember to this day.
Over all Soul Calibur 2 HD Online is a pretty fun affair, it’s been remade very well, and sometimes I forget that this game actually was on the PS2 originally, not to mention this game is what some say is one of the pinnacle of fighting games. Personally for me whilst I did enjoy this game, I will be looking forward to a possible Soul Calibur 3 version to be released, as that was one I really did sink far too many hours into. With the slight Online niggles aside, this is still a solid game 10 years on, it shows it’s age with some of the modes by today’s standards, but I’ve always thought the soul calibur series should go back to roots, and maybe it will if sales prove it’s wanted, 4/5 altogether.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.