Namco will be showing the localized American versions of Soul Calibur II at its booth on the E3 show floor. Released in Japan for all three consoles in March, Soul Calibur II will bring fighting fans more of the same complex, skill-oriented, weapon-based combat found in the previous games in the series, Soul Blade on the PlayStation and Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast. Soul Calibur II contains a multitude of new characters, all-new backgrounds, and extensive gameplay options. In addition, each platform's version of the game will have a unique playable character. The PlayStation 2 version contains Heihachi of the Tekken series, the GameCube has Legend of Zelda hero Link, and the Xbox gets Spawn from the Todd McFarlane comic book of the same name.
The majority of the characters in Soul Calibur II will return from the previous game. Among the newcomers are Raphael, an agile French fencer who fights with a rapier; Yunsung, a broadsword-wielding replacement for Soul Calibur's Hwang; Cassandra, the younger sister and near mirror image of Sophitia, who also appeared in Soul Calibur; and Necrid, a large, enigmatic character designed by Todd McFarlane. These characters will appear in all three versions of the game. In addition to the standard gameplay modes, which include arcade, versus, and practice, Soul Calibur II provides a lot of replay value through its weapon master mode, which has you completing a variety of mission objectives in the interest of accumulating wealth. You can use your money to purchase new weapons and the like for your characters, which can then be applied back to the other gameplay sections.
The three versions of Soul Calibur II actually look pretty comparable in graphical terms, so if you own multiple consoles, your decision should be based on which of the three special characters and which controller you prefer. We'll bring you more on the American version of Soul Calibur II as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, refer to our import coverage of the game for more information.