- Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games Inc.
- Genre: Action
- Released: 19 Jan, 2012
- Size: 214.7 MB
- Price: $14.99
- Silky-smooth 3D environments and animations.
- Customizable controls including modifiable 'combo' button.
- Huge range of characters to unlock and master.
- Multiplayer feels like a huge omission.
- Time-attack and Survival modes don't provide the same variety the Mission Mode could have brought to the table.
While not necessarily as flashy as more recent releases in the fighting genre, SoulCalibur remains a compelling and incredibly varied 3D fighting title despite its age and usual platform-specific concerns (controls).
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It seems as though it was only a matter of time before someone would eventually remind Namco Bandai that they're sitting on a gold-mine. Thanks to iOS releases of Street Fighter and King of Fighters, SoulCalibur has been provided with an opportunity to show off its 3D fighting gameplay on a hand-held platform. While the usual genre concerns with regards to virtual controls remain ever-present, SoulCalibur is still a fantastically fun romp for fans of the series.
However before we continue lets get a couple things out of the way as they may be make-or-break issues. Firstly, there's no multiplayer, which is a huge omission for what is essentially a fun and competitive Arcade title. Secondly, there's no Mission Mode - this may not be such a huge loss, but learning the ins-and-outs of a character by being placed up against stiff odds and strange situations provided a much-needed distraction from the vanilla 'vs. CPU' arcade gameplay.
Those not familiar with the series directly are in for a treat as this classic title with Arcade origins pits unique characters (often with a historical edge to their inspiration) against each other in a weapon-based brawl. Whether they're sporting a sword and shield, a bow-staff or carrying the largest slab of metal they can drag along, each character brings a huge variety of techniques, combo attacks and special maneuvers to the table. Players have a lot of freedom of movement as well, with many moves making use of the 3D space to attack from the side as well as the front, though more manipulative gamers can simply push opponents out of the ring for a free win.
Initially players have access to ten varied characters, ranging from the button-spamming favorites of Kilik and Maxi to more refined weapon users such as Sophitia and Taki. Successful progress through the arcade mode will unlock more players, building up a healthy roster complete with alternative skins to add some flair. The usual customization options of modifying the round length, number of wins needed and overall difficulty of the AI will make this process easier or more challenging in turn.
A handful of alternative modes and unlockables add some variety to proceedings, including a gallery for setting up AI vs AI 'show matches' or watching a particular character 'practicing' moves all on their own. Both of these modes help to show off the game's silky smooth 3D engine, though as you'd expect the requirements for such a great looking title are heavy and subsequently restricted to fourth gen or higher iDevices.
Ultimately SoulCalibur lays the groundwork for what could be an outstanding 3D fighter for the platform - despite its age the game still feels as exciting as it did in the Arcade or home consoles, however until critical features such multiplayer are added to the game it will always feel like it's missing something compared to these original releases.