review
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POSTED 3/2/12


SOULCALIBUR V

Namco Bandai
PS3 (also on Xbox 360)

Five! 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 Titanic.

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...

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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.