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Soul Calibur II

Developer: Namco | Publisher: Namco
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 08/27/03 | Genre: Fighting

With the release of Soul Calibur 2 for all major consoles, the fighting genre is once again about to claim the hearts of most all gamers. By including exlusive characters for each console, if you own either an
xbox, ps2, or gamecube, there's really no reason for you not to own this game.

The original soul calibur revolutionized the concept of fighting games with the unique weapons and fighting abilities of each character. Soul Calibur 2 pretty much sticks with that formula, it just looks a whole lot better. The fighting styles of each character are for the most part dependent on the weapon each wields. For instance, Astaroth, with a huge build and huge axe, is a fairly slow yet powerful character, while Talim on the other hand, who carries a pair of small elbow blades is very small, not very powerful, but
at the same time has an incredible amount of speed.

Using these different pros and cons, it's pretty easy to find a character who best fits your style of gameplay. Using this as a basis to find a character suitable for you, it's best then to learn the basic fundamentals of Soul Calibur ownage. To become the ultimate fighter you must understand the cancellations that some moves have over others. Realize that vertical attacks win over horizontal attacks, the 8-way run sidesteps the vertical attacks, etc. The fighting in Soul Calibur is something close to what I would call art, at least in the instance that the fighting is well-trained, and not sloppy button-mashing. Which brings another point across.

The people in the fighting world assigned the term "button masher" may find themselves having a good time at first because most moves in Soul Calibur have pretty simple button combinations, but giving other players time to learn their attacks will leave them cursing as their losses incline because they do not know what they were doing when they won those few games. In other words, knowledge of the fighting system and your characters abilities will easily overcome any button-masher, unless they're using raphael, but that's personal.

Now let's talk graphics. Soul Calibur 2 is a great-looking game, with an awesome intro movie, and some truly spectacular special effects. The backgrounds also look good, which all add up to make Soul Calibur 2 one of the best-looking fighting games ever made. But the arcade mode has no video of your character at all, and beating it only leads to still images with captions explaining the character's story. If Sould Calibur 2 wanted to up the ante as much as Soul Calibur did back on the Dreamcast, something, anything could have been done to help the disappointing endings, although they did unlock character profiles after winning.

Other unlockables are obtained in the special Weapon Master mode of the game, where your character journey's across far lands in search of...well, it doesn't matter, you just need to go through it and buy what you want with your earnings, which are awarded to you after completing missions. You get
money and experience, money lets you buy extra goodies like new costumes or weapons, while experience just raises your rank every once in a while. This mode can get very tough and it is suggested, even in the player's guide that you listen to music or something soothing while playing through it! But the
most valuable mode for this game and for many fighters is the versus mode.

Versus mode in Soul Calibur 2 is the perfect way to hang with your friends on any given day. If you're bored, have everyone you know over, and chill, taking turns trying to beat out the current champ. I have already hosted a couple Soul Calibur 2 mini-tournaments at my house with my friends. Things get hectic and it's always a blast. It's the perfect way to get the most out of what you bought, and it makes you pretty good at the game, preparing you for the awaiting Weapon Master mode. All in all, an awesome game, fun as any fighter with a practice mode of course, an arcade mode, a new Weapon Master mode, and versus. It's the total package, and by the way Talim rocks!

By Keith Schaefer - 09/05/03
ESRB Details: Suggestive Themes, Violence
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Screenshots for Soul Calibur II

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