Soul Calibur 2

September 7, 2003

It is not secret to many that I am not a fan of the 3D fighting game. It was not till recently I rediscovered fighting games in general that I started playing them again. I was content to just keep to older 2D fighters. Out comes Soul Calibur 2, and after all the hype and demos I have played I decided to go ahead and give the third dimension one more go. Looking back I am glad I did as Soul Calibur 2 has much to offer in the way of game play, features, and hidden goodies.

Something for the mashers, something for the style freaks.

I know folks that turned Tekken into an art form. I myself have survived the genre by relying on the few moves I memorized, and of course I let button mashing take care of the rest. Funny thing with Soul Calibur 2 is that both button mashing and strategic gameplay meld into each other. So much happens so fast during gameplay that in time of panic you will mash away to get some space between you and your ever attacking opponent. I find myself also setting them up for a great counter attack or special move, most of which are fairly easy to do, but not nearly easy to land. The game has a great practice mode where you can see all the moves in your character’s arsenal as well as programmable opponent A.I. It is always good to hone your skills for the challenge that lie ahead.

Character modeling 101

The characters in Soul Calibur 2 look fantastic. I am extremely impressed with the design of all the character’s minus McFarlane’s Necrid, as he looks like complete crap. Fighting animations, movement, everything is top notch and beautifully rendered. I own the cube version, and it looks not just good but great. I play the Xbox version over at EB and of course it looks the best. The PS2 version however looks like someone smeared Vaseline all over the TV. Then again the PS2 blows.

Nooks and Crannies

I will be the first to say that Soul Calibur 2 has about a zillion things to unlock. While the exact number of unlockables is unknown to me as of yet, I bet it reaches zillion status by next week. There are many modes to unlock, including practice modes, new versus modes, time challenges, extreme modes, and of course the weapon master mode unlocks the neat weapons you can dawn on your character. The weapon master mode of course is where the Namco got creative. It plays almost like an RPG as the games lays out the settings and emotions of your character as you fight different stages and missions. You will even dungeon crawl from time to time. While many people will just zip through the reading and setting of the stage, it’s actually very good. Along the way you will of course unlock new weapons you can use in extra arcade mode as well as new characters and costumes. You want to make sure you search every nook and crannie of the dungeons or you might miss out on someone’s sixth weapon, and of course that would be a crime.

So help me god if they hit me up in the air again.

Just a forewarning, if you get knocked up in the air you are subject to a severe ass kicking. The combo system in Soul Calibur will make many fighting game fans giddy with happiness. Once you get the controls of your fighter down, your next step is customizing your own combos to hit in particular situations. I know I am setting up different strategies depending on the distance I want to keep from my opponent. Taki for instance I keep my distance from, and A
aroth with his big axe I rush upclose. Then again that’s just me, but I’m sure you will find your own strategy to use for just about every situation.

This game is dare I say…great!

I have really taken to this game as it has brightened up the future for me and 3D fighters. It’s not very hard at all, but it will challenge the expert and button masher. The weapon master mode itself is a genius include on the part of Namco. My only real annoyances are the repeated characters and of course the A