Friday, March 24, 2006

Soul Calibur III Review

Soul Calibur III
Platform: PS2

Once again, the power of the dark sword Soul Edge is rampaging across the known world. Nightmare has appeared again and is destroying everything in his path. A mysterious man named Zasalamel appears to be attempting to use the power of the sword for his own benefit. You must use your fighting skills to aid or hinder Soul Edge.

Soul Calibur III introduces three new characters to the fighing line-up: Zasalamel, who wields a reaper; Setsuka, who uses a katana; and Tira, who fights with a giant, bladed hula hoop. The characters, especially Tira, are fresh in their style and add to the quality of the fighters.

The main mode of the game is Story Mode. Through this mode, you unlock all sorts of goodies to be bought in the store and earn the players’ different endings. This time, you get to choose the path you travel as you go through the mode. Though your decision influences who you will fight, it has no real impact on the game. Since most people will use the same thought process each time to make decisions, you’ll like find that you’re fighting the same people. The game also throws in some cut scenes to break up the monotony between battles. However, after the first few times of seeing the same cut scene for each player, you’ll wish you could fast forward through them. The ending are different if you press certain button combinations during them. Though have two different ending for the same character is cool, it leaves you confused as to which one really happened.

The game also adds a mode called “Chronicles of the Sword”. You create a custom character and use strategy to guide their team through battles. The character customization is really great. There is a wide variety fighting styles to make your player, from a knight with lances and swords to a dancer who fights with tambourines and fans. The game lets you dress your character in many ways. You can clad yourself with armor, or you can run around in your underwear. However, I don’t like how what your character is wearing doesn’t affect the gameplay. They’re just as protected scantily clad as when they are wearing many layers of defense. The mode itself is really fun since you have to think to make it through battles. However, the dialogue and storyline are really cheesy and flat. Even the attempts at humor seem lame.

A competition mode in the game allows you to fight many battles. Though the battles can get boring, the money earned makes fighting worth the effort. There is a challenge mode that tests your skills at using strategy in different battles to fulfill certain goals such as defeating 50 enemies in a row or taking down a giant colossus in Greece. I found many of the challenges to be colorful and fun. The shop allows you to buy a plethora of goods, from character photos to new weapons and armor. Museum and practice modes of course come standard.

Conclusion: I was quite well pleased with the title. There many of hours of gameplay packed in. Certain spots just contain too much repetition, and the plot could certainly use some work. As compared to other Soul Calibur games, this one does not offer quite as much innovation.
Score: 4 out of 5

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