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Soulcalibur IV Preview
publisher: Namco Bandai Games
developer: Pacific Media
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jul 29, 08 (released)
|» All About Soulcalibur IV on ActionTrip|
About twelve or so years ago, Namco released a fighting game called Soul Edge. The series changed the name to Soul Calibur and ended up being as popular as other beat-'em-ups such as Tekken (incidentally, also created by Namco). The SC series rocketed to fame after a visually impressive edition of the game made it to the Sega Dreamcast in 1999.
Anyway, unlike Tekken, which had a relatively standard choice of weapon-free fighting styles on offer, Soul Calibur featured various characters engaged in combat with different cool-looking melee weapons - well, huge, bad-ass swords mostly. In the next chapter, Soul Calibur IV, gamers get a whole variety of new possibilities in terms of combat, as Namco claims. The game is being developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Now, despite some of its flaws, the previous installment in the series, Soul Calibur III, was well-received. At the same time, however, many have criticized it for the lack of online play. That's about to change with SC IV. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here, so let's back up for a sec.
Soul Calibur IV continues the customary one-on-one 3D weapon-based clashes that have always been the series' trademark. The game's backdrop, once again, sees the appearance of magical swords Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. Soul Edge appeared in the original arcade version of Soul Edge, as well as the PlayStation port. Fans of SC will be glad to know that a number of familiar characters are making a comeback, including Taki, Mitsurugi, Cassandra, Astaroth, Ivy and many others. However, the game also sports a selection of new characters, such as Hilde or Hildegard von Krone.
New characters, like Hilde, mark a slight detour from typical Soul Calibur character design. Familiar female characters in SC, like Ivy, preferred teasing us poor sex-deprived dweebs with their enticing scantily clad physiques, whereas Hilde doesn't really show a lot of skin (bugger!). In fact, she fancies going into battle dressed in heavy knight-style armor (and a massive chastity belt, no doubt). She's also an expert when it comes to dual-wielding melee weapons. Hilde likes to slash at her opponents with a mighty spear in one hand and a short sword in the other, making for an assortment of new moves. Although this won't be the first time a SC game features dual-wielding, Hilde's character allows for some pretty nifty moves during combat. The spear-sword combo gives her an opportunity to deal out effective ranged and close attacks.
Along with new characters and more advanced combat techniques, other improvements found their way into Soul Calibur IV. Each area includes a choice of usable and breakable objects that can be employed during fights. Next to the improved environmental combat, the game offers generally larger stages than in any of the earlier installments, which is indeed a welcomed addition.
Because there's a great number of returning characters and some new ones; because there's finally online play; other cool moments for SC fans.
Seeing Darth and Yoda in a fighting game makes some people (me) vomit.
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