Soul Calibur V Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3
Soul Calibur V screenshot
Soul Calibur V screenshot

For a game that boasts to be a tale of soul and swords eternally retold, Soul Calibur IV was a little too soulless. The fifth entry enters the ring embroiled in an identity crisis, then, with SoulCalibur V forced to reinvent a series quickly losing its relevance despite a fighting genre in the midsts of renaissance.

First impressions are positive. Stages burst with colour, and silky animations ensure characters' attacks flow neatly into one another. The series' bread-and-butter combos have been remixed so they're not as frustratingly cheap, and there's even basic moveset parity amongst most fighters. By taking a leaf out of Street Fighter IV's hallowed book, new Critical Edge moves take on the role of Ultra combos and are executed with the same button inputs.

In peak moments this is swift, balletic combat that's beautiful in full flow, though beginner players (like me) can find themselves immediately flicking from a smooth rhythm to stilted, lumpy weapon swinging. It's a faster game than its predecessors, too, with flurries of attacks springing out of characters despite the overall movement speed feeling similar.

But some of the series' main problems quickly make a return. Soul Calibur (SoulCalibur?) has continually struggled to establish its own enticing title character, instead drafting in gimmicky guest appearances to bolster its ranks. This time round it's the turn of Ubisoft's colossally successful Ezio Auditore to step up, giving the game an iconic cover star to sit alongside the ranks of a refreshed roster that's mostly filled with the descendants and protégés of various mainstay characters. Thankfully, Ezio is easily Namco Bandai's most successful guest star to date, and his careful and considered implementation goes a long way to remove the bitter taste left by Soul Calibur IV's disastrous inclusion of Yoda and Darth Vader.

Leading the in-house charge is Patrokolos and Pyrrha, son and daughter of Sophitia, who act as the primary characters in the game's brief Story Mode. Told via weary dialogue and painted stills, it's a three-hour trek through jumbled lore. This is an inert, lifeless tale made inherently redundant by its design - it needs to keep coming up with excuses to throw you into 1-on-1 combat, but runs out of steam within a few encounters, leaving you bashing away at the odd fight to unlock a few hidden characters and clothing options.

Other newcomers, such as gruff werewolf Z.W.E.I. and orb-flinging Viola, feature more complicated fighting styles - the game neatly summarises the accessibility of each combatant on the character select screen, though I severely question which person at Namco Bandai thought to write that the mash-happy Cervantes wasn't easy to use. It's particularly disappointing to see three different mimic characters, including Kilik - but overall this roster feels balanced and varied. There's also a big open space for downloadable characters, with comedy con-man Dampierre already announced.

Creation tools have also returned, allowing use to take any of the named roster's fighting styles (or a bonus Devil Jin moveset) and apply them to a suite of appearance and clothing options. The options are fairly balanced - you can't give Nightmare's hulking sword to a teeny-tiny character - but still allow everyone to realise their secret fantasy of making a swollen meathead and giving him the bouncy posture of a teenage girl.

New stuff to check out

14 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

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
Soul Calibur V
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: 942 26
View Full Site