TGS 2011: SoulCalibur V Hands-On Preview - Astaroth Action

From Astaroth to Z.W.E.I., here's everything we've learned about SoulCalibur V.

A tale of souls and swords played preface to this year's Tokyo Game Show. With burning determination we transcended the stage of history into a tale eternally retold--meaning we took a train to the headquarters of developer Namco Bandai Games to try out SoulCalibur V.

Right away we noticed that the character select screen had slots for 30 fighters. Twelve of those were already accounted for by Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Hilde, Maxi, Ivy, Tira, Voldo, and Astaroth, along with newcomers Patroklos, Z.W.E.I., Natsu, and Pyrrha. When asked if 30 was the final roster count, the producers said they weren't ready to commit to that just yet.

Voldo prepares for the most extreme hug he has ever given.

A 13th character, Viola, was also announced, but she wasn't available to play. However, we did get to see her in action during a brief trailer. She was dressed in the brightly colored robes of a fortune-teller and used a floating crystal ball as a weapon. Unlike Z.W.E.I., who could summon an ethereal werewolf for a one- or two-hit complement to his normal attacks, nearly all of this character's quick-hitting attacks used the ball. She looked like a versatile, midrange character with a lot of unorthodox techniques.

Series veteran Astaroth was on display, in all his axe-wielding, worm-smashing glory. We got to see him cleave a few fools during our play session, and he seemed to retain a lot of his iconic moves from the previous games. His critical edge, like Ivy's, was a grapple. And while it didn't deal a ton of damage up front, it left the opponent spinning on the ground and open to a low-hitting follow-up attack.

Critical edge and brave edge attacks are two of the new mechanics in SoulCalibur V. They're powerful attacks that consume portions of a four-bar meter. Brave edge attacks use one-quarter of this meter and are improved versions of a character's special moves, similar in concept to Street Fighter's EX moves. Each character was listed as having two brave edge attacks, but after talking with the producers, they confirmed that some characters will have three.

You gain additional meter by dealing and receiving damage.

Critical edge attacks cost half the meter but deal a substantial amount of damage. Each character has one, and they all share the same input command. In practice, they were a toned-down version of SoulCalibur IV's critical finish moves and varied from quick jabs to lines of explosions to unblockable grapples.

On the defensive side there are the "guard impact" and "just guard" mechanics. Guard impacts cost one-quarter of the meter and let you punish reckless enemy assaults by parrying a blow just before it strikes. The enemy will then be momentarily stunned, letting you follow up with an attack. Just guards are much more difficult to execute, but require no meter. Basically, you have to press the guard button the moment you are struck by an enemy attack. This makes the enemy stagger and gives you a much faster recovery time.

We also noticed that occasionally our health bar would flash from yellow to red. It was explained that this indicates when your guard is about to be broken. Defend too many blows, and your guard begins to deteriorate until the enemy can strike right through it. Having your guard broken puts your character into a crumple state, leaving him or her open for an attack. If you see you're in the red, you can recover your gauge by dodging attacks or going on the offensive.

Breaking your opponent's armor is also in the game and is performed by finishing a round with a special attack. And while it's a little embarrassing to have your shirt blown off, losing armor has no detrimental gameplay effects.

By tapping up or down twice, your character will perform a quick step that's useful for dodging vertical attacks.

During the initial presentation, Namco Bandai announced that it would be working with CyberConnect2 (the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series) on the animations for SoulCalibur V. In the previous games, all the character animation was motion-capture based. And while SCV will have some motion capture as well, it will also include some handcrafted animations--perhaps culminating in some very unorthodox attacks.

Looking ahead, Namco Bandai also reiterated that there will be a special guest character in SCV and that the reveal of who that is will come in the next month or two. Until then, you'll just have to content yourself with our previous interview with SoulCalibur V producer Hisaharu Tago. SoulCalibur V will be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 early next year.

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Discussion

12 comments
chyng85
chyng85

What a cool trailer~!

chainkill2
chainkill2

This and Dead or Alive next year are a must buy for boob lovers....I mean fighting game fans....

voldo25
voldo25

Its way to early in development to tell how SC5 will turn out but i like what i see so far..

squidbilly22
squidbilly22

wears the sweat and blood ? looks G rated

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

breast sizes? I want an option to make butts more jiggly xp

bimopsig
bimopsig

Keep breast sizes as they are and perhaps give us the option to go for the ridiculous sizes :P

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

They need to tone down the womens breast sizes. That got absurd in Soul Caliber IV. Make them like Soul Caliber 1 and 2. Otherwise it looks good.

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

I'm not sure how I feel about handcrafted animations but as long as they still look relatively like the style of Soul Calibur, then I'm good with it. I do like how they've changed the element of Soul Crushing to allowing a hit beyond the block. That works a lot better than the Critical Finish.

I don't like the sound of the guard impact system. If this was Soul Calibur 2, then it would make more sense since guard impacting was ridiculously easy unless they went back to that style but if it's still similar to SCIV, then I don't get it.

I'm excited for this game nonetheless!