Soulcalibur IV

soulcalibur iv box art review
6.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Controls: 7/10

Quick fighting game, Yoda and/or Vader

Doesn't bring enough new to the genre

Game Info

Game Name:   Soulcalibur IV

Developer(s):  Project Soul

Publisher(s):  Namco Bandai Games

Platform(s):  PS3/Xbox 360

Genre(s):  Fighting

Release Date(s):  July 29, 2008 (US)/July 31, 2008 (Japan)

ESRB Rating:  M

soulcalibur iv helmwige vs cassandra

Can’t we all just get along?

The appearance of the tower of King Algol has sparked an uprising in the universe.  Across the worlds, fighters have risen to claim the power of the Soulcalibur.  The Soulcalibur is the prize that could turn the battles for those seeking it, and heroes and villains will rise…and the battle will rage!

Soulcalibur IV (ソウルキャリバ or IV Sōrukyaribā Fō) is a fighting game released for the PS3 and Xbox 360.  It is the fifth game in the series (the original arcade game was called Soul Edge) and follows Soulcalibur III released for the PS2 in 2005.  The Xbox 360 game was released with an exclusive Yoda fighter while the PS3 game was released with a Darth Vader fighter.

I’m not that big into fighting games.  There are the “fun” fighting games like Smash Bros., the mid-range type games like Street Fighter II, and the more brutal fighting games like Mortal KombatSoulcalibur falls somewhere between Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, but lacks either of their dynamic visions.

soulcalibur iv characters yoda darth vader

You know you just want to play with these guys…

I feel that there is little new that can be brought to a fighting game and SoulCalibur IV did little disprove that.  The game has your character upgrading and leveling up with fighting techniques (something not really done in the classic versions of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat), but the “story mode” literally only takes about 10-15 minutes to finish on normal mode…even shorter if you use one of the Star Wars characters which most say increases the ease even more.  The story wrapped around each character is paper-thin and it is told in a long (boring) scrolling story that isn’t worth watching once you’ve finished the game.

The game’s movements and style are pretty slick.  One of the challenges of the new, modern fighting games is leaving the 2D fighting surface for a 3D fighting surface and Soulcalibur does pull that off a bit better.  The dimensions of the ring feel real (though throwing your opponent off the ledges often sn’t that difficult) and the fights can generally be one simply by pounding and throwing the character over-and-over again.  There are moves and specific fighting styles but simply keeping up the attack works best.

soulcalibur iv darth vader vs algol gameplay screenshots

I do this to all tyrants!

Fighting games generally are better played in groups or at least one-on-one with friends.  The game did provide an online play and the two player fights do add potential longevity to the game…but it still feels quite one dimensional since the characters don’t seem as distinctive as something like Street Fighter II where each character has a gimmick (and Soulcalibur IV also hasn’t aged well as fighting games move forward).

Soulcalibur IV is a decent game if you can pick it up for cheap, and you enjoy fighting games.  Though the exclusive, system based content was eventually downloadable for the other systems, it has sense been removed.  A lot of people like that you can create your own character (which can even be used in the online fights), but it still doesn’t fix that the characters don’t have much variety.  Overall, Soulcalibur IV is a rather dull (but quick) fighting game.  Soulcalibur IV was followed by the PSP spin-off game Soulcalibur:  Broken Destiny in 2009 and Soulcalibur V in 2012.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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