Soul Calibur III First Look
Namco officially unsheathes the third and PlayStation 2-exclusive entry in its acclaimed fighting series.
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Namco unveiled details on Soul Calibur III today and confirmed the game's release this year in the US. The title is the third entry in the Soul Calibur series, Namco's impressive weapon-based fighting franchise that began on the original PlayStation. According to currently available information, it appears that, unlike its predecessor Soul Calibur II, the game will be exclusive to the PlayStation 2 when it ships sometime this year.
While Namco didn't reveal a great deal of information, there were still some nice tidbits on what to expect. The game's story will apparently revolve around a mysterious individual who revives Nightmare, everyone's favorite demonic armor-clad warrior. This is clearly a perfect excuse for some one-on-one combat. The game's roster will feature three new fighters, bringing the tally of playable characters to more than 25. Setsuka is a busty umbrella-wielding fighter who is sporting some platform flip-flops and a sword housed in her parasol. While her last name hasn't been revealed, we half expect her to be a cousin of Mai Shiranui of Fatal Fury fame. The second character is a green-clad female named Kira, who's wielding either the world's biggest chakram or the world's most badass hula hoop. Finally, the last and most striking of the characters is an African fighter named Zasalamel, who sports a distinctly Egyptian flavor and is rocking a wicked-looking scythe with a bird motif.
Namco has touched on several new modes that are in line with the game types we've seen in previous entries in the series, although some of these modes sport new names. The tale of souls mode sounds like the traditional single-player experience we've played in previous games, and it will have you playing through the game with each character in order to view their unique ending sequences. The versus standard mode will let you face off against a friend. Chronicles of the sword is an intriguing new mode that ties in with another new addition to the Soul Calibur experience, character creation. This original feature will let you create your own character by choosing its sex, occupation, weapon, and some physical characteristics. Once you've made your virtual self, you can take the character into the chronicles of the sword mode, which is billed as a real-time simulation that lets you watch your character engage in battles. Although the info provided on the mode is a bit sketchy, we expect that it may be similar to the artificial intelligence mode seen in Virtua Fighter 4.
Mention of a world competition mode hints at a competition wherein you'll have to climb through the ranks of fighters, which sounds like some form of ranked tournament-style ladder. Practice mode appears to be the obligatory mode that lets you practice your moves on a hapless AI opponent whose behavior you can customize. Soul arena mode surely promises unique battles of some kind. Finally, a museum mode will let you view the franchise history as well as all the content you've unlocked in your butt-kicking travels. The last bit of information revealed mentions familiar stage locations that include a castle in Germany, a shrine in Greece, and the top of a clock tower.
Unfortunately, both the fact sheet and Namco itself were unable to shed light on two questions that were burning in our minds, namely whether or not Soul Calibur III will feature online play and whether or not the game would see an arcade release of some kind. Hopefully we'll get word on that soon. Until then, PlayStation 2 owners can look forward to Soul Calibur III sometime this year. Look for more as soon as it becomes available.