What happened to the Soul?
Disappointment, confusion, rage, sadness and regret – these are all emotions that I would not expect to feel when playing a game from one of my all-time favourite franchises.It was first back in the early 2000’s when I first played a game from the Soul Calibur series. Soul Calibur II on the GameCube was, in simple terms, incredible.It was easy to play for those who were inexperienced. You could learn complex move-sets with ease. The main draw was the well thought out single players story. The special bonus of the GameCube version was that Link of the Legend of Zelda series made an appearance.
The strength of SCII was the main reason carried on buying and enjoying the games. SCIII was a great follow-up and only added to the prestige of the series.Then came Soul Calibur IV and oh my, did it blow me away. It was great because there were so many elements that the production team got perfect. It had a solid single player storyline for every character.The secondary single player mode called “The Tower of Souls” is a level progression challenge where a player would have to overcome certain stipulations in order to progress further.
When it came to the playable characters, it had the right mixture of old and new. Speaking of new, the massive character inclusions came from an unexpected source. The power of the force comes thundering down upon the world ruled by two fueding swords.Jedi master Yoda, Darth Vader and The Apprentice all have a key role within the game-play. The fact they are even included in the game showed substantial development and progression they series has gone through.
SCIV is just so amazing to play. You could easily spend hours enjoying the vast amount of details and work that was put into every aspect of a near perfect brawler.Now, I understand that you’re now thinking, “What’s your point?” don’t worry, I’m getting there.Despite being a massive fan of Soul Calibur, I held off buying the fifth instalment, but I was too sure why. Maybe because I knew that it could never be as good the previous games or just that I didn’t want to.
Even the guest appearance from Assassin’s Creed protagonist Ezio Auditore wasn’t enough to get me rushing to get myself a copy.Fast forward a few years and we get to two weeks ago. I decided to buy SCV. It was cheaper now, and can’t be terrible. The other games have been awesome.This is where the unexpected emotions first appeared. The menu screens echoed what had preceded it. So I instantly jumped into the story mode.Here came the confusion. You are thrown into a story about a guy called Patroklas and he battle through 18th century Europe. At this point, I have no clue what is going on, who this blonde guy is, why should I care about him?
I persevered and continued through the story still wanting answers. Then enter the “cut-scenes”. Transitional stages between tasks usually allow the person playing to learn something about the narrative through interesting visuals, but, in this game, there are no real cut scenes, at least not all the time.What I mean is, there were many occasions when you’re presented with a series of pencil sketches, put on a sepia background as you listen to audio clips. This is how the transitions are shown throughout 75% of the game.
Then every now and then, you get a well polished, entertaining computer-generated cut-scene instead of the basic drawings.If the team at Project Soul could put together a handful of pretty decent cut-scenes, then why not extend the hard work and effort to the rest of the game? Cue my rage.The fact that this kind of decision was made as a stylised choice during production screams laziness on the part of the production team. This the aforementioned rage I was talking about started.
Another rage inducing concept is the fact that the playable characters are not available to use during the narrative. Some, like Ivy and Voldo make cameos as enemies, whereas others don’t even feature all. The most notable absentee is my favourite character Kilik.He is referenced with the story, but it seems that the character added to the roster in his place is an idiotic adolescent boy with an obsession with steam buns. Why? Well the answer to that is still unknown.Completing the story mode only took a grand total of three hours, (and by no means was it a perfect run through,) with the ending explaining nothing and leaving only sadness in my heart.
Soul Calibur V just seems like a lazy attempt at bringing fans something that developers think they want. After the success of SCIV it would have been the perfect opportunity to build some great and implement a breakthrough game mode that would blow any competitors.Sadly, this didn’t happen. It felt like it was quickly thrown together in order to meet a deadline. It turns out that this is actually close to what actually happened.The original plan for the showpiece game mode was for it to be four times longer than the final product. This is evident towards the end. There are so many questions that demand answers, but they’re not provided.
The fact the storyline and the confusing changes are overwhelming problems, it really detracts from the overall quality of the game, but not the game-play. By no means has the combat been affected. It is still just as entertaining and slick as before.Main attack formats have not been changed drastically. Yes, minor tweaks have been made, but the all out brawling capabilities are outstanding. Every character has their own weapon and abilities. The mixture between varying speed and varying range attacks provides unbelievable balance. Which allows players to remain competitive at all times, regardless of the type of foe they are facing.
The brilliant beat ‘em up aspect can provide hours of entertainment for a group of mates looking to kill some time. This is where the good stuff end. Unfortunately, this positive does not outweigh all the negatives.So now the regret, it’s simple. I regret buying Soul Calibur V.Now I hear there is going to be a Soul Calibur VI. If major improvements are not made, I fear for the future of the series.
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.