Soul Calibur V screenshot
Soul Calibur V screenshot

SoulCalibur V is trying to be all things to all people, so intricate changes are felt across most facets of the game. Guard Impacts have been modified, with no need to discern between high and low attacks. The ability to parry your opponent and throw them to the ground is no longer an option, but this been replaced by the Just Guard system, where slapping the block button as an attack connects lets you absorb the attack in a manner similar to Street Fighter III.

But these mechanics don't work in harmony, with the Just Guard superseding the Guard Impact in almost every possible instance, as both require finicky timings but the former doesn't consume your meter and has less recovery time.

Then there's the Brave Edge, which uses a large chunk of your meter but allows you to use certain moves to extend combos. These attacks promote variety in an series that's been blighted by repetition and can even be finished off with a Critical Edge attack if you wish, although strict damage scaling means you'd only want to do this for the purposes of showing off.

SoulCalibur has always placed a greater degree of importance on 3D space than most fighters, and quicker side-stepping means evading telegraphed attacks is easy and vital. The combat, which can initially seem closed and restricted, blossoms once you get to grips with its 8-way movement. The key is in managing space and creating openings with cautious and considered use of quicker horizontal attacks as opposed to the meaty weight of powerful vertical strikes.

A robust training mode helps your fingers limber up with each character, offering up detailed advice on how to use their various intricacies to both press the offensive and counter common attacks. This is an excellent inclusion, only marred slightly by a cumbersome and messy UI, and this kind of hand-holding is exactly what most fighting games sorely need if they're looking to attract genre newcomers.

Other single-player modes include a threadbare arcade campaign, composed of a brief six fights with no ending cinematics, and a Quick Battle mode designed to emulate traditional Versus play. Namco Bandai adds a nice little flourish to the mode by having all of the opponents designed by the game's community using its character creation tools, but it's hard to imagine many players actually choosing to slog through the masses of AI drones.

All of this is designed to shift players towards the skill and comprehension required to tackle competitive play against humans, and SoulCalibur V supports the usual local versus modes as well as a now-mandatory online component. The implementation here is a step in the right direction compared to the shockingly dire netcode of Soul Calibur IV and Tekken 6, but lag is still too frequent (even on five-bar connections) and pulling off precision moves subsequently too fussy for any semi-competent play over the Internet.

Other online options are handled better. There's a suite of a few hundred titles to adorn your player card, similar to that of Street Fighter IV, though most selections feel prescribed and charmless. There is also the option to establish three rivals over Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network, whose records will be displayed alongside yours throughout the game's menus - a particularly nice touch for those with a competitive streak.

SoulCalibur V is definitely a step in the right direction for the maligned series. Despite plenty of changes and improvements, however, the game is still too complex to be casual and too flawed to be taken seriously. SoulCalibur V might have forged its own soul, but it's not burning brightly just yet.

Version Tested: Xbox 360

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Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Endless

Damn straight! I need to up my game in blocking as I tend to go out all offensive, with the odd defence now and then.
Posted 22:08 on 01 February 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ Wido

I really hope Sfxt fosters a community at least as good as when SF4 came out. I remember when it was first released sat in group chat with everyone just doing the tutorials and talking about how cool it all was to be able to do that.

This time around we can all sit in a lobby and train with eachother!
Posted 09:58 on 01 February 2012
pblive's Avatar

pblive

As I've been a Soul Calibur fan since Soul Blade/Edge, I'll probably end up getting this too, but probably not at the moment considering hiow many other games are coming out and that I've only got enough credit for 1.
Posted 08:16 on 01 February 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Endless

Haha. The critical edge which is the ultra combos for SC I believe... Says how much I clearly know about this game, but I rather be surprised once I get my arse handed to me on SCV. Makes it refreshing and its faster than previous games from what FilthieRich says.

I wouldn't mind getting a Fighting Stick, but that has been pushed back, due to my 360. Probably get one April time or so, but is there any real point? March could be possible with the likes of SFxT, as the hype would just run wild.

I think a lot of people will be picking this up and I cannot wait to become part of the online community and getting a few wins there and then hopefully. :laugh:
Posted 07:26 on 01 February 2012
thedanyrand's Avatar

thedanyrand@ squidman

I hope they know that they just opened the flood gates for DOA to get even creepier.
Posted 04:16 on 01 February 2012
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ squidman

Alright, cheers for the answer.

SFxT, ALWAYS that, too many elitists are preparing for Skullgirls so i'm avoiding that like Las Plagas.
Posted 00:22 on 01 February 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ thedanyrand

Yea, if you attack enough while blocking your opponent's armour will break off - it's similar to a system in IV, but without a little on-screen gauge (which is why we didn't really know what was going on) and now for aesthetic purposes only.

It also happens if you attack enough times after KO (possibly random) like in the video, so mash a few buttons post-victory for naked party success.
Posted 00:14 on 01 February 2012
thedanyrand's Avatar

thedanyrand

Any explanation of the sudden strip mode that happened at the end of the extended play haha?
Posted 00:04 on 01 February 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ Bloodstorm

There's reviewing it and then there's investing my time into it after I've reviewed it, and what I'm saying is that I'm not going to do the latter. If it was a better game then I would - I haven't properly trained at the genre since SSFIV and I'm about ready to dump another Spring into a fighter. But it ain't gonna be this. Maybe Skullgirls? Probably SFxT.

I've played every one of these since Soul Blade, just in a post-SFIV world this one just doesn't do it for me. Sorry.
Posted 23:54 on 31 January 2012
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

"I have no real desire to work on my SCV game, which says it all if you ask me. "

And yet you reviewed it? I'm not questioning your skill or anything, just how much this score merits, nothing personal.
Posted 23:18 on 31 January 2012
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ Bloodstorm

Give it 6 months and we'll see what they're saying then. I can't see why someone would train at this instead of SF or MVC, but then I am a bit ***** at all of these games compared to that hardcore lot over there. Still, I have no real desire to work on my SCV game, which says it all if you ask me.

The net code is alright for a bit of a buttony mash, sure.
Posted 15:43 on 31 January 2012
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

Wasn't considering buying it until i got it as my MOTM prize, hopefully should get me competing against the others in my local scene at this.

Surely the netcode isn't that bad?

"However, the game is still too complex to be casual and too flawed to be taken seriously."

That's not what the lads over in Eventhubs, SRK and Giant Attack are saying......
Posted 14:58 on 31 January 2012
Endless's Avatar

Endless

Comes out way way too close to Streetfighter X Tekken to contend with my buying bucks unfortunately; Even Skullgirls comes above this in the pecking order. I'll probably rent it, create some freaks of nature in create a soul and likely become very bored due to the fact that no-one I know (other than Wido ;)) is even considering buying this :|

I have a fighting stick I got on the cheap and I have to say i'm not massively impressed with it. The problem being that in order to get a better quality one I need to spend more money but I dont know if I want to spend the money if I ultimately end up not getting on with a stick.

I have a feeling though that my MadCatz Fightpad isnt as accurate as it used to be, so I may have to pony up for something for SfXt anyway :|
Posted 14:40 on 31 January 2012
Wido's Avatar

Wido

I cannot wait for this game to be honest. Surprising I wasn't going to get this day one, but after all the gameplay videos, I will be getting this day one. Fighting games as of late has re-ignited the desire to play more of them, as I use to play fighting games quite a lot back on the day of the Megadrive leading into the Playstation.

My favourite Soul Calibur's are 2 & 3 and I haven't played SCIV. SCV looks fresh, yet I still feel it doesn't have that same appeal like Street Fighter and your Tekken. Big name just not as popular as the other two in my view. I still enjoy them however, so that is the main thing! I am heavily debating to invest in those fighting sticks. I do want to go a bit more mainstreamed with Fighting games as something has triggered it.
Posted 12:50 on 31 January 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
7
Out of 10
Soul Calibur V
  • Looks pretty
  • Good cast of characters
  • Story mode is dull
  • Online netcode could be better
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 03/02/2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Fighting
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 1,038 49
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