Soul Calibur III
Wednesday, March 29, 2006| Posted by Matthew Nyquist
Soul Calibur III
From the fighting game Gods, Namco comes the the 4th installment of their "Soul" series titled, "Soul Calibur III". Yes, all of your favorite characters are back plus some new faces are added to the mix to give the series that much more longevity. Now I know what you are saying already. You are mad because Namco wouldn't release it for the other consoles like they did with "Soul Calibur II". It would make any Link and Spawn lover tremble, its sad but true, Soul Calibur III is a Playstation 2 exclusive. Would the game have sold better if it was ported to the Xbox and Gamecube? You be the judge.
So where to start? Ah, yes, let me start by giving you the skinny on the characters making their first appearance of the series. Zasalamel: A dark man searching for the Soul. He is not the kind of person you would want to meet in a dark alleyway alone. He wields a Scythe but does not compete all that well against the faster characters in the game. Tira: A blue haired assassin, with looks to kill and a Ring Blade to boot. Setsuka: A traditional Japanese women who hides her Latio in an umbrella. Olcadan: One of the funnier looking characters, he had his head turned into that of an owls head by the gods. He has the ability to use any weapon used by the other characters in the game. Finally we get to the last boss of the Tales of the Soul, Abyss: He is a form of Zasalamel that has been consumed by the powers of the Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, he also wields a Scythe like his human counter part.
Now that that is out of the way, lets brush up on the new game modes added to the game. A new feature on the series is the Create a Character mode. Don't get too excited though, when you first play the game, the number of customization options are limited, to fix this you must play the other modes to unlock items and armor, so you can then go and buy those unlocked things in the armor, item, and weapon shops. Once you have more things it makes creating your character much easier since you will have a wider variety of things to clothe/dress up your character.
A new mode that works entirely off of the Create a Character mode is the Chronicles of the Sword mode. This is quite an innovative feature in the fighting genre, It is half RTS and half Fighting. You are a member of the Grandall Empire, and must fight against surrounding Empires. The RTS portion consists of moving your character across the battlefield taking over enemy strong holds, making sure you don't lose yours and completing the tasks assigned to you. When you encounter an enemy that is not in a strong hold, you have the option of leaving it alone and letting both of them battle it out RTS style (you have no control over your character) or Engage a battle in which it switches over to the regular fighting style. As the levels increase so will the levels of your enemies and sometimes you will encounter characters from the game, which have super amounts of HP and are hard to beat. The main objective is always to take over your enemie's main strong hold. If you lose in a battle that character dies, but his/her life will regenerate and return at a later time. Just make sure your characters do not all die at once.
This mode is not new, but holds some new features in it. The Tales of the Soul which is the normal arcade mode. There is a different story for each character in which you may want to play through more than once. There are different options on your path and it is in your best interest not to miss out on it. In some of the FMVs there are scenes in which you must react fast when a button flashes on your screen, if you hit the correct button, you will avoid whatever was about to happen to you. Failing to hit the right button or button combos will result in your player loosing some of his/her life in the next battle, all the more reason to make sure to hit the right thing.
There are a few odds and ends, the typical Practice mode, there is also a tournament mode in which you fight other characters in the game, but their A.I. is increased heavily, making it harder to become victorious. There are tons of unlockables in the game as well. As I mentioned before, weapons, armor, and items. There is a museum of different things you can purchase or unlock as well, from art to FMVs to weapon demos of all the characters, the unlockables are almost endless.
Graphics- This game looks stunning, its a bit of a step up from its previous installment, but that bit really helped. You are sucked into the intro movie that basically introduces all the characters of the game, it is nothing short of beautiful. The characters look amazing, and the stages are not to shabby either. This game will have any graphic nut go wild, and especially on the Playstation 2, it really looks quite well. The guys at Namco didn't hold back this time. I'm going to have to give this an 18.
Sound- There is a lot of sound. From character voices, which were done exceptionally well, to sounds of combat with your enemy, and to the music of the game, the sound just blows the game into a whole other realm. It really makes for an entire new experience, I give a standing ovation in the sound department, a 20.
Gameplay- The gameplay is awesome in its own right. Not straying too far from that Soul Calibur feel, the A.I. is head scratching at time though. Sometimes you will be fighting someone, and they will barely hit you, making for a really quick and easy fight, and at other times you will just want to pound your controller into the ground screaming "FUCK THIS". Other than the A.I. gripes, the gameplay is well rounded, I wouldn't expect anything less from Namco. A solid 17.
Fun- Fun in games is very important, if it isn't fun at all, why play it? The fun factor in a video game is a crucial element. This game delivers, from the regular arcade fighting mode, to the Real Time Strategy in the Chronicles of the Sword, Namco delivers fun, there are a few things that could be changed though. Possibly more rewards, sometimes you feel you have worked your hardest, and leave with a few pieces of armor, and some weapons, sure it keeps you playing to try and reach your goals, but how much fun are you having when all you get is a slap in the face. 17 here as well.
Replay- The fact that you have to play through the Tale of Souls mode more than once with everyone, is replay enough. The unlockables keep the player coming back for more, and really makes for replaying the game exciting, you can't really be content with the game if you haven't unlocked everything. Hardcore fans of the fighting genre will have their bags full with this game. a big bad 19 here.
Overall Score- 91/100.