It has been 10 years since the original Soulcalibur graced the Dreamcast, and now the flashy weapon-based fighting game has moved over to the PlayStation Portable for the first time. Namco Bandai came by to give us a first look at Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny, made specifically for the PSP with many of Soulcalibur IV's features, plus enhancements and new characters. Your favorite Jedi masters, Yoda and Darth Vader, aren't going to make an appearance in this portable version, but we do know that the core cast of Soulcalibur will be included, along with a new member named Dampierre. Details were not given beyond a name, so we're supposed to come up with our own impressions by the character art below.
Director Noriyuki Hiyama from Namco gave us a quick overview of the game and highlighted some of the changes. Our demo consisted of a couple of matches, and we couldn't see much beyond a few initial menus. The character menu looked like it had enough slots for roughly 30 characters, but the final count hasn't been determined yet, since the developers are still working on the roster--there will definitely be more than 20, though. Taki, Mitsurugi, Tira, Astaroth, Ivy, Cassandra, Voldo, Siegfried, and Hilde were our only options for now, so we decided to pit the lethal whip-wielding Ivy against the burly katana-swinging Mitsurugi. As soon as we entered the match, it was like watching SCIV except on a smaller screen. The characters move with the same finesse and grace as they do in the console version, and the detailed visuals and over-the-top, epic-sounding music that SC has always been known for are included here. At this stage in development, the graphics and visual effects are quite impressive on Sony's handheld.
Broken Destiny isn't a port, though; the Project Soul team has built this version specifically to target beginners and novice players with SCIV's content but has added improvements. There will be arcade, versus, and survival modes, as well as a character creation mode, but the only details disclosed at this point are that there will be new parts to play with in the creation mode and that the other modes have been "evolved." What we do know is that a new single-player mode is being implemented to bring new players up to speed and show them the intricacies of the game--almost like an enhanced tutorial system. It is designed to help improve your fighting skills, so newcomers who might be intimidated by the series can find a way to ease into an intense fighting regimen. There are more than 80 exercise missions for you to hone your fighting skills in.
One of the features that Hiyama pointed out was that new lighting effects have been added so that the stages will have different times of day. You could be slicing your way to victory with a glorious sunset at your back instead of winning in broad daylight all the time. Key components of SCIV, like critical finish, soul crush, and armor destruction, are also included but have been improved. Our demo was limited in terms of finding out all the juicy details about the new additions, but we were told that the music was being rearranged so that it could complement the new stages.
There will be ad hoc so players can beat each other senseless in a local match, but we will have to wait to see whether Wi-Fi is a possibility as well. We were impressed with our brief look at Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny and will update you as soon as more information becomes available. The game is currently set to be released exclusively on the PSP this summer.