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Review

SoulCalibur V Review

  • Game release: January 31, 2012
  • Reviewed: January 31, 2012
  • X360

Several new faces and game mechanics make SoulCalibur V the most robust chapter in this 3D weapon-based fighting series.

by

SoulCalibur V is the most complex entry in the series to date. By incorporating some 2D fighting mechanics into its 3D weapon-based system, the game forces you to manage more variables than ever before. In short, this is not a return to the simple times of SoulCalibur II. What SoulCalibur V lacks in accessibility it more than makes up for with its unprecedented depth, fostering a well-crafted, offensive-focused experience that never wants for excitement.

At the center of SoulCalibur V's new design is the critical gauge. This meter can hold two bars of energy used to perform new types of offensive and defensive maneuvers. Critical edge and brave edge attacks are its offensive uses. The flashy, cinematic critical edge attacks cost a full bar of meter and deal substantial damage. Each character has one, and every critical edge has the same input command. Critical edge attacks come out quickly and are great for catching aggressive opponents off guard, especially when you're rising from a knockdown.

Brave edge attacks are improved versions of a character's normal attacks and use one-quarter of the critical gauge. Hilde, for example, has an attack that knocks her opponent into the air and over her head. The brave edge version starts the same way but automatically impales the opponent in midair for extra damage. This combo isn't possible otherwise, hence the meter cost. Both critical and brave edge attacks open up new combo possibilities for the entire cast and help make old characters feel new without altering their fundamental gameplay.

Defensively, the critical meter is used for guard impacting, otherwise known as parrying. That's right: unlike in previous SoulCalibur games, parrying is no longer free. Instead, it costs one-quarter of the gauge--the same as a brave edge attack--and still requires precise timing.

However, there are other ways to parry that don't use the critical gauge. The first is "just guard." This is done by tapping the guard button the instant before being struck. It requires even more precise timing than a standard parry, but if you're successful it will have a similar effect. Certain attacks also incorporate a parry into the attack itself. These attacks are generally slow-moving, highly telegraphed blows that will leave you wide open should you miss.

The new critical edge attacks are flashy and hard-hitting.

Guard breaking also discourages defensive-heavy play. Block too many attacks in a match, and your character will automatically drop his or her guard for a few seconds. You can tell you're at risk when the health gauge begins to flash. All of these changes create more intense matches by restricting defensive options and promoting aggressive play. However, the game also keeps itself in check through the limitations of the critical gauge. Since the gauge can hold only four quarters total, and refills slowly as you fight, you can't abuse the new techniques. It's a finely tuned balance that fits naturally atop the existing system.

With all these new additions, there is a lot of information to internalize in SoulCalibur V. What this game desperately needs is a cohesive tutorial to guide you through these changes. Instead, the only tutorial is a screen of text displayed at the opening of story and training modes. That's it. This sink-or-swim mentality is conducive only to a minority of players and is a disservice to newcomers and returning fans.

The game's starting point, the story mode, introduces you to Patroklos and Pyrrha, the children of series veteran Sophitia. The siblings embark on a journey across Europe that leads to the legendary soul swords. Eventually, the two are put at odds, but by that point the narrative has stumbled over so much terrible writing and illogical reasoning that it's difficult to care. This mode also fails to provide any of the interesting battle conditions seen in SoulCalibur II's campaign or SoulCalibur IV's challenge tower. And while the game has two other versus AI modes, the lack of variety across all three severely diminishes the game's offline attraction.

SoulCalibur V takes place several years after the previous game and borrows a page from Street Fighter III: Third Strike. It introduces several new characters with the slightly modified movesets of older characters. There are a few originals as well, such as Z.W.E.I. and Viola. Z.W.E.I. is a short-range fighter who can summon a familiar to help extend combos and attack from a distance. Viola is an indirect fighter who uses a crystal ball. The ball can be deployed on the battlefield and recalled to strike opponents from behind.

Ezio Auditore, of Assassin's Creed fame, is this game's guest character. In addition to being an appropriate thematic fit, Ezio is well-balanced, capable of holding his own but not overpowered like some guest characters of the past. Sadly, a lot of good characters were left by the wayside, including Talim, Yun-seong, and Zasalamel.

Online play is smooth in SoulCalibur V; you shouldn't notice any performance issues when squaring off against players with four- and five-bar connection ratings. The standard offerings of ranked and player matches are available, and the game saves your eight most recent online matches. You can also check out other players' online profiles and download any replay data they've made available. Together, these are great ways for studying combat technique. Player matches support spectator mode when you're not playing, and you can even chat with other viewers.

Spectating and replay saving are both included in the online mode.

A fan favorite, character creation, is back in SoulCalibur V and is more robust than ever. Not only does it offer all the features you would expect from previous iterations, but now you can apply patterns to your characters' garments, add tattoos, or attach special items. There is also a unique unarmed fighting style that can be accessed only within character creation that's a nod to another Namco fighting franchise. In addition, characters no longer have stats that are tied to pieces of clothing, so you're free to dress up your fighters however you'd like.

Fans looking to relive the experience of SoulCalibur's early entries may be irked by this game's new additions. But once the steep learning curve is surmounted, you will find a fresh-yet-familiar fighting system that's fun to explore.

Editor's note: This review originally stated you could not access replays from other players, which is incorrect. The review has been amended accordingly. GameSpot regrets the error.

The Good
Beautifully detailed visuals
New fighting mechanics add depth
Stable online play with replay support
Z.W.E.I. and Viola have interesting new fighting styles.
The Bad
Offline modes lack variety
Some classic character styles are absent
Game lacks basic teaching tools.
7.5
Good
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Discussion

77 comments
almightysteveO
almightysteveO

I've always loved the Soul Calibur series, especially knowing the back stories from Soul Blade. Soul Calibur V was great fun at first but I slowly started to realize leveling up offline is becoming slow and tedious since it seems the more you play a route, the tougher the AI gets.

It had an amazing first impression, extensive customization and lots of choices right out of the gate. Though now at level 29 and already owning every character, grinding Arcade mode for levels and creation parts is becoming a rage inducing nightmare.


Not to mention the new blood. Some are impressive and quite fun but Z.W.E.I. left me underwhelmed with his amazingly short range and fairly weak attacks.


The spotty hit detection doesn't help either. Lost many matches merely because my sword decided to phase through the enemy.

ziklina
ziklina

I LOVED this game. I adored the two characters patroklos and pyrrha, i think they did a very good job on voicing, some of the characters who were taken out had good reasons to be taken out....(except for talim, she shouldn't have been taken out...-.-) i just kinda miss some of the old characters, but these are fresh, new characters, which is what i like, sure there may not ba as many offline modes as you thought, but so what? enjoy the characters! the story! (i almost cried at the end)

Although, what would make it EVEN better is that if patroklos and pyrrha WEREN'T siblings, but if they were DATING, the story would have been a lot more interesting and would have made sense....but maybe they didn't want to put too much drama into the story...oh well, maybe soul calibur 6 will be even better....:D

 

GREGalicious
GREGalicious

LOVE IT!!...I just miss a lot of the missing characters.

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

I call this game as Soul Calibur Online. Huge multiplayer community and intense customization. Single player is a let down. I wish Namco could just make HD remake of Soul Calibur 3.

gamerINchief
gamerINchief

I hate it when they do this. how can take out such characters as sophitia? shame on you namco. this iteration won't see any of my money.

PCXboxSony
PCXboxSony

This game for sure is 9.0 for me.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

I like the gameplay the combat system is as great as ever, and it great for online play but It's missing a lot of things that made previous soul calibur games a big hit, seems they focused more in online play and character creation leaving a side good offline modes and unlockables. the fact of having a single story is good because you know exactly what happens and tells a little more about some characters but it leaves most of the characters in limbo with no reason to be in the game and not much motivation to play arcade mode, so you are left with quick battle and online mode and show your cool or horrible character. still I'm having fun with the game and I don't regret buying it

SePhIrOtH66
SePhIrOtH66

"Ezio is well-balanced, capable of holding his own but not overpowered like some guest characters of the past." I literally laughed out loud when I read this. Ezio is completely broken and practically ruins this game all by himself (not to mention his character model is a shameful mockery of Ubisoft's work). Moreover, most of the "new" characters are just slightly-altered clones of old ones (and in most cases, strictly worse than the old ones), which indicates an astounding lack of effort or imagination on the developers' parts and completely defeats the purpose of introducing new characters. As my review of it indicates, I had little love for SCIV, but I will likely play it over this one any day. The one redeeming quality of SCV is the extremely robust creation system, although at the outset you are given a paltry sum of objects to try out.

AQWBlaZer91
AQWBlaZer91

I'm kinda disappointed at the score they given it. I thinking 8.0 would be better or something.

Chii69
Chii69

I'm a huge fan of the series & i have played every SC game to date.this is the WEAKEST SC yet. 1-laughable story mode 2-no character specific endings 3-no art gallery 4-no character, stage or weapon profiles 5-no weapon exhibition mode 6-a TON of removed moves & stances from different characters "e.g.: Nighmare, Raphael & Ivy " 7-absent key character play styles "Zasalamel, Yun-seong, Rock", instead they gave us devil jin, seriously! 8-no BOSS character 9-that ATROCIOUS announcer 10- no team battle mode then you have the little things like being able to change your weapon before a fight, an intro that introduces all the characters, hell even phrases that are a trademark to the series like "severely wounded, but the soul still burns!" are missing. to me all these things defined SC & helped to set it apart from other fighting games. just compare it to SC3 "the best in the series IMHO" & you'll know what i mean.. there was so much attention to detail that really blew my mind "it had the games title spoken by the last character you played". it even had a game within the game "chronicles of the sword". seriously why leave all those features out? why try and fix what wasn't broken in the first place?. the game looks amazing & the music is OK "not the best in the series" but that doesn't change the fact that the team got lazy with this entry. It hurts to see such a great series lose its spark & i hope Project Soul fixes these issues with SC6.

TAIMAT0
TAIMAT0

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jpnelson82
jpnelson82

Guess this is a no buy, even for fans of AC, huh?

INewIRave
INewIRave

Considering at one point i was told that their wouldnt be another soul calibur game im quite happy to see this come out regardless of what it is lacking. Everything i have heard seems enough reason to buy it: solid gameplay, nice additions, excellent customising abilities, etc. Of course i miss additional modes (i somehow got addicted to chronicles of the swrod in sc3), story/cutscenes and leaving certain characters out is an undeniable shame! However the fact that this series is still going strong and the gameplay itself is at an all time high is comforting. I can only hope that the next soul calibur takes a look at previous games and takes the strengths from each one because each soul calibur has contributed aspects which never seem to make it onto the next game...seems a waste

chitownjedi
chitownjedi

I actually disagree for once with this sites rating... it may be missing some single player features and depth from that end, but this is truly one of if not the Best fighting game I've ever played.. and I've played a LOT!

jpaul0983
jpaul0983

is no one else upset by the lack of team battle mode in this game? They had it in SC3, how hard can it be to allow 8v8 team battles? 1 player modes suck a bit too, but the gameplay is still excellent and the new characters add a lot to the game. Overall it's top quality, but lacking those extra modes which give a game 9 or 10/10.

day5e
day5e

Good Fighting game , good mecanic , TIGHT execution...really good fighting engine...if you're not kind of button masher (noob)!!! Sick netcode , thanks to Namco !!! One Big DOWN : been playin Talim since SC2 at the arcade and now got F*** in the A** ... about 10 years wasted !!!

chrisangelo2k7
chrisangelo2k7

My only problem with this game is the imposing absence of endings (and cutscenes in arcade mode) and the famous Gallery. I think they rushed it too soon, making it pale in comparison to SC3 and SC4... too bad.

lime_93
lime_93

"Lacks basic teaching tools." GTFO, all you need is training mode, people need to quit wanting the game to hold their hand.

TJsimulation
TJsimulation

@Gelugon_baat I'm not "covering my ass" by saying what I stated was an opinion, because it is. I could call it a terrible review as much as I want. Unless I have factual evidence that it is and why it is it's an opinion. Also, I didn't call the REVIEWER terrible, I called the review terrible. Two different things. I personally think the review was thrown together. Sue me. You can twist that around as much as you want and any way you want, which I'm sure you will, because you're a good troll. :) You talk about "when will there be a day people can disagree and not call each other terrible and so on," but yet you say "B**** some more, dude," when I give my opinion and you disagree with it? That's no different. Not once have I attacked you for your opinion here, but here you are attacking everyone who dislikes the review. What does that say about you? Wait, I got it...go ahead and "B**** some more" to the people who disagree with you instead of accepting that people view things different than you...yeah, makes logical sense.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Interesting review - enough to convince me that my decision to rent first is justified - that said I think the kids will enjoy it, especially the character creation!

FrankFoscoJr
FrankFoscoJr

What the hell is the matter with people? No Taki? I'm not getting it? OH COME ON!!! This is a fresh game with fresh and old faces. If you REALLY MUST SEE certain characters in it then MAKE THEM!!! The new character creation system allows you to do just that. Most of the styles are still there just with a different mask. Taki's apprentice IS TAKI. Lexia IS XANGHUA. And so on and so forth. Create those characters if you so desire to see them in this one. I for one am THRILLED about this new game and I have to say that it's MORE than just an "update" to SC4, it's a complete OVERHAUL! One thing that disappointed me about SC4 is the poor online play. Lag after lag after lag. Sure SC5 is gonna have it's problems with lag but since this is a new game it's less likely to suffer the problem on a CONSTANT BASIS...

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

No "Chronicles of the Sword" mode or "Edge Master" mode means I'm not picking up this Soul Calibur 4 update, because essentially thats all it is. Otherwise our most favourite missing characters will probably appear as DLC later on.

pg_nilay
pg_nilay

It's a shame it's not released for PC :(

grarven
grarven

@Gelugon_baat haha, i dont tend to 'flame' people on here, as everyone has their own individual opinion, and they are entitled to that, but you seem to be talking sense :')

dragonps
dragonps

I do love GS but they can talk a load of twaddle sometimes. "In short, this is not a return to the simple times of SoulCalibur II" SIMPLE times of SC2? SC2 was anything but simple its the best of all the games so far. SC5 (which I played) is nothing more than a slight update from SC4

grarven
grarven

@Gelugon_baat you speak absolute sense. people dont realise that a great game is looked at as a whole, and not just one aspect. :)

Cillah187
Cillah187

NO GUNZEZ NO TENZ!!!! DEEEEEEERRRRRRPZZ!!! Bloody Gamespot.

slippship
slippship

@Gelugon_baat. Some good comments not deserving the thumbs down you are attracting. No doubt I shall get some for backing ya!

skyke101
skyke101

I really love how GS keeps giving a decent game a low/average score /sarcasm

TJsimulation
TJsimulation

@earlmccormick88 and I agree with you. What's misleading however is touting it as the most robust and best improvement but giving it a weaker score than its predecessor.

BasilVZero
BasilVZero

Not bad for the SC series around this era.

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

7.5 doesn't mean it isn't a good game. Final Fantasy XIII-2 got a 7.5 and I'm getting both. Stop complaining.

earlmccormick88
earlmccormick88

7.5 doesn't mean it isn't a good game. People need to calm down. This and FFXIII-2 got a 7.5 also and I'm getting both these games.

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

Why does Nightmare have a lame critical move? Nightmare has to be one of the coolest dudes!

TJsimulation
TJsimulation

This is a terrible review (before I get an idiot saying to you it is a terrible review, yes, I am aware that this is MY OPINION, thank you). "Most robust"? How does that work when it's given the worst score? And what about the gameplay videos showing tutorials such as how to dodge attacks with quick steps? Surely that isn't the only one they put in. And for the rest, like every fighting game, people have to...you know...READ the manual. (OMG I just said the most frightening word to a majority of people who just like to get into games instead of "wasting their time"!) What I find funny is how this gets a steep learning curve "bad" the same as Demon Souls, but both of them got 9s. Different reviewer, sure, but I'm sure others read and revised the review to make sure it wasn't "bias" or straying from a guideline they use. Though what surprises me the most about this review is reading the headline alone it sounds like they were about to give the game an 8.5 at the least, if not higher, hence why many people, including myself, had our jaws drop when we saw what the rating was...it's a contradiction. How can the strongest game in a series get the lowest score? it defies logic.

pcty
pcty

better than I expected

luneth77
luneth77

Soulcalibur V currently has the lowest average ratings in the series, but it seems to me that it's not so much a worse game than just being more of the same. So for people who aren't tired of the standard Soulcalibur formula or have never owned one yet, V looks like a great game.

pqwoei
pqwoei

Will be getting this next with FFXIII 2

SgtStrungOut
SgtStrungOut

All I can say is F Ezio and Ivy. I keep getting to the final match with some players online and then they pull off some crap that is unblockable when your on the ground. I been playing since the 1st PS1 Soul Edge so no matter what my WL ratio is high.

blamix99
blamix99

lol gamespot.. not again 7.5?

melo-franco
melo-franco

This review looks like it just tries to justify an obviously unfair score. GS and IGN are lurking for *excuses*: one blames the storyline; the other blames the lack of tutorials. Come on, let's focus on what matters, this is a fighting game with a deep character creation interest.

MasterSubith
MasterSubith

I have the Game and Believe me It is a great game sure it doesnt have a great story(but at least it has one) or single player but it makes up for it with character customization and a Really good online multiplayer and If you want learn the game go to training mode and study each character until you find the one you're most comfortable with seriously this game deserves at least an 8 or 8.5 and I recommend this game to any who loves a nice fighting game.

almightysteveO
almightysteveO

@FrankFoscoJr Sorry to poke at an old post but you can not recreate Taki since all similar hairs have been yanked, except a European wavy pony tail that looks way too chunky.

ziklina
ziklina

 @FrankFoscoJr  yeah, i think people just need to learn to let go of those characters and love the newer, fresh characters in soul calibur 5.... i mean, patroklos is EPIC....what would have been even more epic is that if patroklos and pyrrha were DATING instead of being siblings...:D overall, i LOVED the game:D

 

SoulCalibur V More Info

First Release on Jan 31, 2012
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
SoulCalibur V, the fifth installment in the fighting franchise, is heading to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
7.5
Average User RatingOut of 683 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate SoulCalibur V
Developed by:
Project Soul
Published by:
Namco Bandai Games, Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games America
Genres:
Fighting, 3D, Action
Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Teen
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