Sunday, October 11, 2009

Soul Caliber 4 Wrapup

This weekend was pretty much devoted to two games: Soul Caliber 4 and Resident Evil 5. I'll have more to say about RE5 later, but thus far Rachel and I are not terribly impressed.

I played the original Soul Caliber on the Sega Dreamcast. At that time SC was a technical marvel, with fighter models and fluid animations the likes of which most of us had never seen. Of course, gaming has advanced pretty far since then.

Playing SC4, the thought that really struck me was how this franchise really hasn't progressed much since that original title. The cast of characters is mostly the same. The moves are the same. The animations, once so groundbreaking, now feel stale.

What's new in this iteration? Well, you can create a custom character (or just monkey around with existing ones) by shifting around weapons and equipment. You can assign special abilities as well, things like regenerating health or resisting ring-outs. It's an interesting feature, but the fighting styles stay the same so it really feels mostly like fighting with a (badly dressed) version of the same characters that are already present.

Beyond that, not much has changed. There are a couple new characters added to the SC canon. And they decided to put some Star Wars characters in there for no discernible reason. I guess the big new feature is that you can play against other people over Live.

Let me tell you how that experience will go. If you're a hyper-obsessive SC fanatic with lightening reflexes and a photographic memory for your favorite character's moveset, then you'll really enjoy playing online. If you're just an ordinary gamer giving it a try (or trying to get the Achievements), then you'll enter a world in which your clumsy flailings are summarily dismissed as your character is tossed about the environment like a rag-doll by those hyper-obsessive types I mentioned earlier. I admit that I totally suck at fighting games, but they could have found a way to make this a bit more accessible, no?

All in all, I found SC4 to be a polished experience, but only because it feels like the same game they've made three times before. If you've never tried a SC game and enjoy the fighting genre, I recommend it. Otherwise, a rental is the most this game warrants.

1 comment:

  1. I actually quite enjoyed watching the rag doll Smackdown via Live. Very entertaining to watch!