Tekken 6 Vs. Soul Calibur IV
Namco picks a fight with its two new-gen fighters. We pick a winner!
Super Smash Brothers Brawl aint the only top-tier fighter in town. As we speak, Namco Bandai is putting the finishing touches on Soul Calibur IV and Tekken 6, long-awaited entries in two of the most celebrated fighting series in history. Soul Calibur IV will land on PS3 and 360, while Tekken 6 will land on PS3-only. We're dying to play both games. And if you're a fighting fan, you are too. But out of these two marvels, which one is worth getting excited about right now? We broke down the stats, compared the features, and picked a winner.
Both Tekken 6 and Soul Calibur IV look sensational, and that's based on our real-time impressions, not early press stills. Tekken 6's graphics features around PS3's Cell CPU and RSX graphics chip, which offer enough horsepower to render colossal, highly detailed outdoor arenas, smashable walls and floors (complete with secret rooms), and eerily life-like fighter designs. But the first feature to catch your eye will be the over-the-top "hit sparks", which explode in a dazzling shower of explosions and Matrix-style distortion effects.
Soul Calibur IV has its own visual style that's best described as "painterly". But the highlights here are the high-dynamic range (HDR) lighting and real-time reflections, which make the fighters look like they're ready to jump off your TV screen and launch an assault on your living room. The 3D environments are also sharp, with bigger layouts and destructable hazards ala Tekken 6.
EDGE - Soul Calibur IV
As beautiful as Tekken 6 looks, there's just no arguing with Soul Calibur IV's stunning HDR lighting and and intricately detailed characters.
FIGHTER ROSTER -
This category has a clear-cut winner - Tekken 6 is expected to have some 40 playable fighters in the final version. The rostor will include virtually every character from past games, all of which will see new moves, combos, and improved animation. You can also look forward to four new-comers: Miguel, a hot-blooded Spaniard; Bob, a big-bellied bruiser with alarming agility; Zafina, a slinky female with spider-like attacks and fighting stances; and Leo, a young, somewhat androgynous girl with surprisingly powerful attacks. Though quality is more important than quanity, it looks like tekken 6 will sport a lot of each.
Soul Calibur, being a much newer series than Tekken, traditionally works with a leanr character roster and Soul Calibur IV should be no exception. So far, there's only one confirmed new character: Hilde, a female knight armed with a short sword and a spear, each of which have a dedicated attack button. As of now, only 13 characters have been confirmed.....though that number is sure to grow by leaps and bounds as the game creeps closer to completion. Though Soul Calkibur IV's fighters are deep and dynamic, it's hard to disagree with Tekken 6's "everything and the kitchen sink" approach to fighters.
EDGE - Tekken6
Tekken 6's roster isn't just for show: the characters all play with unique fighting styles and strategies. The four newcomers are also hugely divers and, in tyhe case of Bob, rather amusing.
ONLINE PLAY -
This is an especially brutal category to judge based on pre-release games, but there's one key fact to note: Tekken already has some experience in online play. By releasing Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online for PS3 in late 2007, the Tekken team will have gained valuable insight and experience in running an online fighter. What's more, Tekken 5's online mode was actually rather good, with well-designed game lobbies and tolerable lag-management. We know very little about Tekken 6's online play, except that the game was supposably optimized for online from the ground-up. But if Tekken 5's online is anything to judge by, Tekken 6 will be a serious online contender.
Soul Calibur IV's first ever online mode is also mysterious, but we do know several key details. For one, you can take custom-made fighters Create a Soul mode directly online, and you may be able to trade them with friends. The developers are also consideing online leaderboards, and even sharing match replays.
EDGE - Tekken 6
We're going with experience on this one: the lessons learned by Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online will greatly benefit Tekken 6....at least we hope so.
Character customizations has long been a hall-mark of the Soul Calibur series; outfitting new weapons and outfits have been in since the first game. Soul Calibur IV is also rumored to allow players to trade their custom-built characters online. Though details are very scarce here, we expect Soul Calibur IV will have a very deep create-a-character mode like Soul Calibur III....but hopefully with more than a few measly blank character templates.
Tekken is a bit newer to the cusomization game (custom outfits came in Tekken 4) but hasprove itself by offering hundreds of unlockable outfits and effects in Tekken 5. Tekken 6 will continue this trend, but add a new wrinkle in the form of custom "items" you can equip for each character. So far we've seen Bryan Fury fire a pump-action shotgun, Anna Williams kicks her high-heal shoes at a foe, and Craig Murduk smash his opponent with a huge club. We have no idea how these elements will translate into the final gameplay, but they're certainly bold choices.
EDGE - Soul Calibur IV
Both games will allow players to make many interesting variations of their favorite characters. But Tekken 6's wepaons sound a little goofy and out of place.
RELEASE DATE -
This is the tuffest category to judge. In theory, Soul Calibur IV will be the first game to launch. However, Tekken 6 is already further along in it's development process; it's arcade version, for instance, should be out in Japan by the time you read this. But it will take time to translate Tekken 6 to PS3, meaning that Soul Calibur IV is likely to hit the PS3 and Xbox360 before it. When, exaclty? Current specualtion points to a likely spring 2008 launch for Soul Calibur IV, but that date isn't set in stone. Popular wisdom suggests that Tekken 6 will see a late 2008 release on the PS3, but will Namco want to pit its two biggest games against each other in the same year?
EDGE - Soul Calibur IV
In a paradoxical twist, Tekken 6 is further along than SCIV, but will likely hit PS3 much later.Of course, this will give Team tekken more time to add extra polish.
FINAL DECISION -
We give the nod to Soul Calibur IV primarily because we know its actually coming out this year. Tekken 6 may be further along, but we're guessing that the PS3 version may not hit until late 2008 or even - gulp - 2009. What's the sense of getting worked into a lther over tekken 6 when it may be years off? Our advice to Tekken fans: focus on Soul Calibur IV for now.
EDGE - Soul Calibur IV