Soulcalibur V Review

By on February 3, 2012

The popular 3D fighter is back in its fifth iteration.

Good: Solid Gameplay mechanics; gorgeous visuals; Impressive creation/edit mode; Stable online experience
Bad: Mixed quality in voice-acting; Mediocre Story Mode; lack of Single-Player modes; couple of characters are too similar to each other.
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First Impressions
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It’s been 4 years since Soulcalibur IV arrived on consoles and the next entry in the popular franchise has finally arrived. Soulcalibur V is a fresh installment in the series that aims to welcome both newcomers as well as veterans of the series. Soulcalibur V presents a fantastic fighting game experience but suffers from a mediocre story mode and lack of single-player modes.

Soulcalibur V takes place 17 years after Soulcalibur IV and revolves around Sophitia’s children: Patroklos and Pyrrha. The main story mode follows the siblings as they venture around the world in search for answers regarding their past as well as a method to stop the evil doings of the series main antagonist Nightmare. While this is the first time that Soulcalibur has had a full-fledged story mode instead of the usual quest mode it still leaves much to be desired. The story is nothing impressive and the mode is extremely short spanning only 20 episodes which in total will require 1-2 hours to complete. The Arcade mode is just what you expect from a fighting game. Surprisingly however the mode lacks any story bits for the characters you choose to fight with. This leaves a lot of characters without proper introductions or endings that usually provide background information on the character’s history or motives within the game. There is also the quick battle mode which has you fighting a series of opponents until you lose. As a whole the single-player modes in the game are quite lacking when compared to other popular fighting games currently in the market and are definitely the disappointing portion of Soulcalibur V.

Now that the story is out of the way, let’s talk about what really matters in a fighting game: the gameplay mechanics and character roaster. Namco did an outstanding job with the fighting system of Soulcalibur V by improving its accessibility to new players while still retaining the great deal of depth that the franchise is known for. Most Soulcalibur fans will be familiar with the system in this iteration while still having a lot of new features to delve into. It gets rid of critical finishes from previous games and instead introduces the “critical gauge” that acts as a meter which can be utilized to do devastating special attacks. Soulcalibur V involves mechanics from both 3D fighting games as well as 2D fighting games which really makes for a fantastic hybrid.

As for the character roaster, it involves a mix of both new and old faces. Lots of the new characters act as sort of successors to previous characters in the Soulcalibur series such as Patrokols resembling Sophitia. While there is a great diversity in the playstyles of most characters there are a few characters that are very similar to one another. For example, it’s weird that the game decided to go with 3 characters that essentially mimic other characters each time you play with them which seems like a rushed decision to do. The majority of the cast however does impress as they play very differently and uniquely from one another.

Soulcalibur V also brings in an updated version of the creation mode found in previous games. This mode allows you to edit characters in game appearances to a great deal of detail. It also allows for the creation of your very own character to play with both online and offline. The creation mode has a great deal of options to mess with and boasts one of the best editing and creating systems in a fighting game yet.

Online in the game felt pretty solid from what I experienced. Playing with people close to your location is non-problematic as the game masks lag well. You can choose to play in both Ranked and Player matches as well as being able to create your own lobbies to invite your friends. Soulcalibur V also has the ability to save, play, and share replays of the matches you played as well as the ability to watch other people’s replays. The online mode holds its ground very well and is probably where you will be spending the majority of your time with Soulcalibur V.

What Soulcalibur lacks in Single player content, it makes up for it by having solid gameplay mechanics, fantastic visuals, and fairly good roaster of characters. The game felt like a great mix of 3D fighters with some mechanics popularized by 2D games. If you are looking for deep gorgeous looking fighting game to pick up then look no further as Soulcalibur V is definitely one of the best fighting games to experience out there.


A young zergling from Bahrain dreaming of one day magically morphing into an ultralisk. 20 years old, 2nd year of university, and a lover of all types of games specially RPGs and RTSs.

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