SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny Hands-On

We get our hands on Namco's portable fighter and kick some butt with Kratos.

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We've been excited to get a deeper look at SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny, the Japanese developer's portable installment in its fighting series, since the game was announced and we got a brief taste of what to expect with the Electronic Entertainment Expo demo. Like most fans of the series, we've been hungry to see more of the game to get a proper feel for it. Fortunately, we recently got a chance to get an exclusive hands-on with a more full-featured work-in-progress version of the game, which let us explore all the modes it will offer and, most importantly, let us try out the two new additions to the roster of fighters, Dampierre and Kratos. While the game wasn't 100 percent finished, it made a very good impression on us and was packed with a meaty selection of features, stunning visuals, and solid controls.

The version of the game we played let us try out all the characters and poke around the various modes. The roster of fighters tallies up to 28, most of which were seen in last year's Soulcalibur IV for consoles. There are a few omissions, such as Angol Fear and the Star Wars characters. However, the roster evens out some thanks to the inclusion of two new characters: Dampierre, a blade-wielding fancy lad with a questionable mustache, and Kratos, Sony's God of War. In addition, the game will feature a robust character-creation feature like its console cousin so you can make your own fighter. As in SCIV, you'll unlock more content to use in character creation as you play.

SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny has a solid assortment of game modes to play alone or against a friend. The single-player modes are Quick Match, The Gauntlet, Trials, and Training. Quick Match pits you against an opponent that you choose from a pool of custom characters created by the development team. The Gauntlet mode is a story mode broken up into chapters made up of a handful of fights. In a change of pace from previous SoulCalibur games, this story mode has a tutorial aspect to it that is designed to teach you the game's fighting system. The story is set up by the game's dramatic intro cinema that shows everyone trying to stab one another, which is how you want a SoulCalibur game to kick off. The game narrative plays out as you'd expect: some setup for the fight via story screens and you're off.

Trials mode features three different trials to test your skills, the trial of attack, the trial of defense, and the endless trial. The attack and defense trials will task you with clearing a series of fights, while the endless trial is a test to see how long you can last against a never-ending wave of enemies. Finally, Training mode lets you set up battles against computer-controlled opponents to hone your skills. Versus mode is SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny's multiplayer option that lets you take on a friend in head-to-head fighting. Unfortunately, the game doesn't feature the infrastructure for proper online play.

Combat is exactly what you'd want in a SoulCalibur game. The game sticks to the four-button system that has been refined over the course of the series. Broken Destiny uses a tweaked version of the system introduced in Soulcalibur IV, so those familiar with the combat in that game should be fine on the basics. You'll have three attack buttons--horizontal, vertical, and kick--and a guard, which you'll mix up to perform combos and special moves. We're pretty intrigued by the new stuff the team has added to the mix based on feedback from Soulcalibur IV. There have been some balance changes and all-new moves added for characters, which may require some strategy tweaks for veteran players. Most of what we were able to catch seems to fit in well. For example, Ivy has a new whip attack that's very handy at midrange.

The new characters click with the tweaked combat system and have their own unique feel. Dampierre is as quirky as he looks. He's a close-quarters character who feels a bit like Talim but with some of Voldo's randomness, which is handy for throwing off opponents. Kratos, on the other hand, is death in a skirt. The Grecian butt kicker has some easy-to-pull-off moves that are right out of the God of War games and devastating. Our first impression of him is that he's a bit overpowered. He does a lot of damage, and it feels like his attacks are pretty thorough at doling out damage to an enemy at varying ranges.

Kratos, Dampierre, and the rest of the roster pop thanks to SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny's gorgeous visuals. The game appears to be on its way toward matching if not surpassing Namco's last high watermark on the PSP, Tekken: Dark Resurrection. The visual quality of the character models is incredibly sharp. While there have been some necessary compromises in the number of polygons being thrown around to compensate for the PSP's more modest graphical horsepower in comparison to the PlayStation 3, the game is doing an outstanding job of hiding it. The only thing to nitpick about is that the fighters' shadows look a little rough, but that's not really an issue. Besides the characters, the game's backgrounds, which offer different lighting to reflect the time of day, look great. SCIV fans will recognize many of the backgrounds from that game, which are smartly re-created on the PSP. In addition, there are some new stages on hand to keep things interesting. Despite all the visual flash, SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny purrs along at an impressive frame rate.

The high level of quality even reaches to the game audio, which features the expected array of voices and effects. The game's soundtrack plays out much like its stages, with some tunes from SCIV being used for the corresponding arenas and new tunes being dropped into the mix as well.

High-quality action condensed onto your PSP.

From the look of things so far, SoulCalibur PSP seems like it's easily going to match Tekken: Dark Resurrection in terms of visual quality and even surpass it in terms of features. The game is packed with an impressive array of content to unlock and explore that should make it a fixture in your PSP for a while. We're bummed out by the lack of online multiplayer, but considering the current landscape of PSP fighters, we're glad to have a quality fighter to play around with. SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny is slated to ship this September for the PSP.

Discussion

275 comments
cm018b2391
cm018b2391

hooray!!! - no damn star wars characters.... perhaps an update on ps3 version which disables them from all modes now, cos they are really cheap.

TheSpartan777
TheSpartan777

im amazed that kratos is in the game , now i get to make a person like kratos lol

KillerWabbit23
KillerWabbit23

Looks really good. I'm glad I have a psp. And yes, Tekken Vs. SoulCalibur would be AWESOME.

Liamguy01
Liamguy01

This is just one of many awesome looking games coming out for psp throughout now and 2010, I.E., Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake, MGS: Peace walker, LittleBigPlanet PSP, Dante's Inferno, Tekken 6, and GTA: Chinatown Wars. Can't wait!!!!!! Kratos looks awesome.

ZeroTheIronwolf
ZeroTheIronwolf

This game is totally worth waiting for though I miss the tale of the sword mode featured in soul cailbur 3 other then that im really excited

shureshot24
shureshot24

YES YES YES YES! Waiting for this game is making me crazy i caint wait. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

00_raiser
00_raiser

Just can't wait to play. Hmm. Wondering if soul calibur vs tekken would be the next project for namco. Powerfull game.

leon-fenrir
leon-fenrir

Awesome that Kratos is playable. But if he's a cheapo little punk in the arcade mode like The Apperentice was, I'm gonna be so ticked! That aside everything else looks awesome.

SyedMoeed
SyedMoeed

man...........kratos + same combos from god of war + nice graphics + Soul Caliber=sweetness,SWEETNESS baby

bugside
bugside

oh my god! And I've been wasting my time on a DS? woooooow gotta get me a psp NOW

XxppxX3
XxppxX3

the game its gonna be so good

woman4games
woman4games

Having Kratos in the lineup is more than enough to get me to buy this game! This is brilliant!

Testament
Testament

same sh+t with a couple of new player. Dammit Namco can we get something else already. Soul Calibur vs Tekken or something?????????

Nexeus
Nexeus

ahahah kratos looks ridiculous

Aentikraist
Aentikraist

uhh another jewel added to the portable library of miiiine!!! caaant waaaaait!!

Stormuser
Stormuser

Power...power... more power..!

Noriel222
Noriel222

Nice Job! Well done Namco Bandai games! You did an interesting game which gamers want to play a greater games like Soul Calibur in w/c Kratos appear!!! More power...

Sgt_Pshyco
Sgt_Pshyco

this game is cool and the caracters look very interesting

bonoddr
bonoddr

I´m not here to tell someone´s stupid bolton23, hold on... Just to clarify, I love kratos games (god of war) and, in my opinion, this game lacks the original purpose of the character. I think Sony is mixing characters between games unnecessarily, don´t you agree?

icecold49
icecold49

@itachi100 - Kratos is awesome but you're forgetting that this is a soul calibur game for the psp that manages to keep most of the awesome gameplay and great graphics from its console versions. That in itself is more than enough reason to get this game.

itachi100
itachi100

people are getting this solely for kratos? you can NOT be serious....

bolton23
bolton23

@bonoddr ...what? are you stupid? If you meant to say, "So what? I don't prefer FIGHTING games," that would make more sense, but that statement itself made you sound more retarded than the concept of an inverted woman's... Nevermind. =_=;

bonoddr
bonoddr

So what? Street fighter-like game isn´t in my preferences...

Liamguy01
Liamguy01

KRATOS PWNS ALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, but seriously, this game looks awesome, although it would be interesting to see darth vader fighting kratos on the psp. I would get the game just for that battle.

icecold49
icecold49

Kratos!? Yes! Instead of that Dampierre guy, they should have included Zack Fair. Both main characters from the two most successful and awesome games on the psp. Oh well, I guess I'll just try to make him in the create-a-character mode. This game is gonna' be sick.

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

wow Sony wins again, but what's new?

Notelessinferno
Notelessinferno

why could not Kratos simply be a downloadable character like Yoda for the ps3 SoulCalibur 4...

chopis182
chopis182

Kratos rulz, i can't waiting for this game.

Lazule
Lazule

@montruo - I don't know if there's a demo but if there is then tell me! I've been waiting forever for this game! =D

montruo
montruo

there is a demo for this game? if there are,is in the playstation store ? or could somebody give me the link?

Nova_Luenros
Nova_Luenros

@ Devil Kazuya: Cuz the 3d modelers were able to make him a character, lol. I was at E3 this year, and I got to play this game (it's awesome, btw!) but Kratos' slot was greyed out. I couldn't play him! I was excited but sad at the same time...I wanted to kick ass with him.

DevilKazeya
DevilKazeya

Can anyone tell me how come KRATOS is in the game? does anyone know??

vecsim89
vecsim89

Looks pretty good. Might buy it.

ultralesus
ultralesus

SoulCalibur is IMO, best fighting game ever.... after Street Fighter. This and GT: Mobile have been my 2 most wanted titles for the console and I'll have them both before the end of the year... plus Tekken 6!! I love my hobby... I love Namco Bandai... I love Sony... I love you all.

elputas
elputas

wow, amazing graphics

TheFox-13
TheFox-13

So so good! I'm impressed! Definitely going to get this one.

reczar
reczar

i'm w8ing for 3 games to be released..1st i'm waiting for the Dissidia:Final Fantasy English version..2nd this Soul Calibur:Broken Destiny.... 3rd Tekken 6...but i have no idea of SoulCalibur yet but since kratos is there i gotta try it....

pe6o_91
pe6o_91

I always wanted to see more of Kratos ever since GoW and now that he's in SC - best.. thing.. ever! I hope that in the next SC we can play with someone from the DMC, FF or Onimusha seires :)

Lucarioboyx
Lucarioboyx

graphics own on this it wouldn't be the same without kratos

DrPropane
DrPropane

Im lovin the graphics on this one.

acfjosh
acfjosh

Hope it kinda refers to Tekken to make a really good PSP fighter. And that it keeps to formula. Kratos im not too bothered about