PS3 (also on Xbox 360)
Five! Five! Five! Let’s sing a song about five. How many is five?
Uh, one more than four, one less than six – duh! Still, if you
inhabit the world of SoulCalibur, you’re forgiven if
confused, as what’s labelled with a five – or, if you wish to get
technical, a big Roman numeralic V – is actually the sixth main
instalment in the series of lore-laden fisticufftaculars.
Story-wise – if anybody cares over going the biff - things catapult
some 17 years on. Sophitia’s an oldish bag now, so her son
Patrokolos takes over the family business of deadly fighting
prowessiness. His sister Pyrrha’s also somewhere out there, and she
too has a natty way with the punching and kicking and ducking and
weaving and swording and na-hey. You’ll discover this as you
occasionally flick-boing between the two characters.
Modes aren’t exactly bountiful, with only the basics for solo
brawlers to get busy with. As always, mastery of combos is key to
getting past early levels anywhere other than within a body bag, so
training’s a wise move. Yes, those whose sole strategy is to go the
mash, to go the button mash, will have fun fleetingly. But without
deigning to actually learn anything they’re doomededer than an ocean
liner called Hindenburg – or, indeed, a blimp christened
Visuals are sumptuous, and one of the keys to the SoulCalibur
experience, music, doesn’t disappoint. As always, there’s a teensy
whiff of RPG, as you level-up gradually by nabbing XP points through
successful opponent pulpination. Character creation offers a
veritable cornucopia of possibilities – hey, why say ‘heaps’ when
more syllables are available?
Those who can hack the inevitable idiocy of online encounters will
benefit more than solo buffs, but otherwise SCV gets the
balance right for newbies and oldies alike – even though they’re
actually nothing alike. Erm, it’s not easy being green...