Soul Calibur V is the fifth installment in this weapon-based fighting series known for its accessibility, and women who think it’s smart to fight in skirts and cleavage-revealing costumes. We’re looking at you, Ivy.
The response towards the game has been positive. It’s still much of the same, but since it’s Soul Calibur we’re dealing here, it’s not a bad thing. It still packs the same intense swordfights and the gorgeous graphics (possibly the best in its genre) that the series has always been known for. It’s still very much easy to get into it: just mash a couple buttons and you could be pulling off spectacular moves that you have no idea how you did. In short, having fun is not a chore in this game, as opposed to, let’s say, a regular session in the torture chamber that is Dark Souls.
If you however decide that button mashing is too cheap for you, the game has a notably deep fighting system, complete with all the nuances that allow it to challenge the best in the genre today. Its main new draw is the Critical Edge system. You fill up a Critical Gauge by attacking and by getting hit, and then once it’s full, you can unleash a flurry of super attacks. Sounds familiar? That’s because it borrows heavily from the likes of Marvel Vs. Capcom or Street Fighter, only with more sharp things for slicing and dicing.
On that random sword swinging, you may want to take it easy. Perhaps, it's time to learn the game like you would a real martial art. Soon, the newbies you might see yourself matched up with online will be bowing down to you.
Ten new characters enter the ring in this installment, including Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio Auditore. Set 17 years after the previous game, the story revolves around one of those new characters, Patroklos, who’s out on a quest to rid her sister Pyrrha of a strange condition called “malfestation.” He is also the son of series mainstay Sophitia. The quality of the plot is memorable, if only because of how laughable it really is. IGN.com notes the “over-the-top dialogue and a nonsensical, fan fiction-quality plot.”
So our advice: just stick to the fighting, and don’t take the single-player campaign mode too seriously. There are many other modes to play around with in the game anyway such as Quick Battle mode (where you can increase your player level and unlock new stages or gear) and a very comprehensive training mode that’s nearly as obsessive as the ones in Virtua Fighter. If you really want to test your mettle, Legendary Souls mode will have you fight the A.I. at its peak form—novice players need not apply.
Last but not the least, SC V has the best online system yet of the series. It now lets you sort out possible opponents by region, set up private rooms with friends, or just enter a random battle. A spectator mode has also been added, which feels like you’re just watching guys fight at a real arcade.
That’s what’s great about Soul Calibur V. Take away the gorgeous graphics, and all those great modes, and you’ll find a fighting game that’s simply pure and fun, and one that has never lost its soul throughout the years.