The Tale of Souls and Swords arrives on the Nintendo GameCube, bringing with it a hero from another Legend.

User Rating: 8 | SoulCalibur II GC
SoulCalibur was a Dreamcast launch title and it did very well. Now, Namco is set to bring the weapon-based fighting series to other consoles; including the Nintendo GameCube. This brings us SoulCalibur II and it introduces a guest character, different to each console. Being on Nintendo's GameCube gives Namco access to The Legend of Zelda's Link, giving them an automatic boost in familiarity. Does the soul burn hot twice? Or was SoulCalibur a one trick pony?

As for story, SoulCalibur's is pretty simple. There are two swords; the SoulCalibur and Soul Edge, one is a holy sword and the other is evil. A lot of people want this evil sword and the many characters in the game are either looking for it for power or to destroy it. Nothing special there. They made it a little more in-depth with the Weapon Master mode but still nothing to bother scoring.

The gameplay in SoulCalibur is similar to other 3D fighting games just with weapons. There are three attack buttons; Horizontal and Vertical swipes and kicks. You can also throw your enemies and block their attacks. If you move toward your attacker while pressing the guard button, you'll do a guard impact. You can side-step, duck and jump which are all standard for a 3D fighter. There are the standard versus and arcade modes, but there are also timed mode, survival mode and Weapon Master mode. The Weapon Master mode is the most unique.

In Weapon Master, you move on a map screen to icon representing challenges. Each challenge gives experience and gold upon completion. As you level up, you can unlock items and as you gain gold, you can purchase items. These items are weapons, lots and lots of weapons. Each weapon has strengths and weaknesses and can be used in Extra Arcade and other Extra modes. The Weapon Master is a long mode and each challenge gets more tricky and difficult. You can also unlock or purchase alternate costumes for each character. The combat is fast and furious and it all boils down to a fun fighting experience. Link makes a great addition as well, he's not easy to use but he is fun to use.

The audio is great. The music for each stage is fantastic and each character sounds good. You can also play the game with Japanese voices which is another great addition. The sound effects are how you'd think they sound; a lot of clanging metal and slashing sounds. The narrator is fun to listen to and he remains in English even if you are playing in Japanese.

The visuals are also great. The character models are detailed as are the environments. Some of the environments have active backgrounds as well. Weapon Master is just a bland, textbook-like map and the challenges are just icons, which seems lazy. There are no cutscenes to really speak of; aside from the scene before each character's final fight in Arcade Mode and the opening cinematic. So, in other words, it looks great during gameplay, but in every other aspect it's bland.

- Fun, aggressive combat
- Detailed character and environments
- Long Weapon Master mode plus the standard Fighting game modes
- Fantastic music
- Ability to play with Japanese voices
- Best narrator in a game ever
- Plenty of weapons to collect
- Link

- Bland menus and Weapon Master mode map
- Story isn't deep or really gone into
- No real cinematics
- Can get repetitive

Overall, SoulCalibur II is a fantastic fighting game. It's fun, fast, challenging and great looking. It has plenty of characters and modes, not to mention the long Weapon Master mode. Sure it's story is dull and simple, but it sounds great, looks great and plays great so that is a moot point.

Story: N/A
Gameplay: 8.0/10
Audio: 8.5/10
Presentation: 8.5/10