Replay: Soul Calibur 2
The soul still burns.
Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
August 3rd 2004, 05:00AM
An old foe returns
Of course, it only looks like a puny effort when compared to Sega's Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (VF4e). To say that VF4e contribution to the fighting genre is significant would be an understatement. It is now the standard by which all other fighting games will be measured, both in gameplay and presentation. Not only was a fantastic tutorial included, but Quest mode is undoubtedly the best mode in either game. It gives you plenty of challenges and rewards, and also forces you to learn the game. You can't beat that combination. Sadly, Soul Calibur 2 isn't quite up to snuff on paper. That's the key word here, folks. On paper.
The truth is that VF4e and SC2 target very different audiences. While VF has always been a game that appeals to those looking for a good challenge and a complex fighting system, SC2 appeals to a slightly more mainstream crowd who can appreciate the visible depth the game has. The characters of Soul Calibur have so many attacks, feints and special techniques that it's easy to see why the game is considered to be complex. On the other hand, you'll often find people saying how complex Virtua Fighter is, but many can't even say in what ways it's complex because it requires a different process of thinking. They know it's deep, but they can't really explain why.
Another point that's always brought up is that Soul Calibur 2 is not very different from its predecessors. Many detractors say that the characters have many of their old moves and not much else. It may be true for some characters, but what fighting game series doesn't have this problem? Does Ryu lose his fireball or Dragon Punch for every Street Fighter sequel? The changes made to SC2 have been significant, which included walled arenas, Guard Crush attacks and a new sidestep system. Some say that with the 4 year span between Soul Calibur and Soul Calibur 2, more should've been done to enhance the gameplay. The real question is, what else could have been done?
The end of the legend?
In the end, Soul Calibur 2 wasn't all that it was hyped up to be. It could be that people were terribly spoiled by the Dreamcast version of Soul Calibur 1, or it could be the fact that Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution was released about a week before, which exploited some of the weaknesses in Soul Calibur 2's overall package. That's not to say that SC2 is complete trash, it's far from it. Most of the arguments brought up here would hardly matter to the large majority of people who own the game, but the fact is that they do exist. Looking back, Soul Calibur 2 could've been much better than the end product we got, but that doesn't mean that it's not fun. I personally still enjoy playing the game, and I'll continue playing it until the next Soul game comes out. It's merely disappointing that Namco didn't take advantage of their opportunity to provide gamers with a better experience.