Transcending history and the world. A tale of souls and swords, eternally retold….
Eight years ago Tycho woke me up with a phone call in the middle of the night, to tell me there was a new game at the local arcade that I had to come see. When I arrived I saw that the game was Soul Edge and my love affair with the series began. Flash forward four years to the Dreamcast version of the game. TO THIS DAY Soul Calibur is one of the best looking fighting games ever. It was easy to pick up and play immediately while at the same time offering a depth that no fighting game since has been able to come close to. We used to have Soul Calibur parties at my house all the time and people from my work who didn’t even play video games would come. Anyone could pick a character, start pressing buttons and immediately start pulling off cool ass moves. Some gamers complained that SC catered to button mashers and I will agree that often times a new player could mash their way to victory over a seasoned pro but for me that just made the game that much better. You see, in my circle of friends Soul Calibur was a party game. Sure it was just a two player fighter, but we often had as many as five or six people waiting for their chance to play. The social element was as important to the experience as the fighting.
For a long time I thought this party atmosphere that surrounded the game was unique to my circle of friends. It was not until I got a job working for Gamespy that I realized just how normal we were. While my time working for the company was brief I had the opportunity to visit their offices in California on a few different occasions. The fact that there was any content at all at Gamespy around the time Soul Calibur came out is a miracle. These guys (God bless them) did nothing but play Soul Calibur all day and often times into the night. People would drop whatever they were doing and run to the SC room as soon as they heard the music start up. This made me realize what a magical game SC was. As the DC died it’s slow death the game came out less and less. New consoles were released and soon SC would only get pulled out when nostalgia struck. Our souls still burned, but not with same intensity they once had. And then news came of a sequel and Namco prepared once again to fill the Soul Calibur sized hole in each and every one of our hearts.
Welcome back to the stage of history.
Soul Calibur 2 is like seeing your girlfriend again after she has been gone for a few weeks, only she changed her hair color while she was away. She is familiar but at the same time a little bit different. You know this girl but there is something new there, Something that comes from being reunited after a long separation, something exotic that comes form a slightly new appearance, and you get butterflies in your stomach that haven’t been there since you started dating. You know this game. The controls feel familiar to you and the same combos and patterns you used before still work but there is something different. You can’t pin it down to one thing but the game feels exciting again and you get butterflies in your stomach that haven’t been their since the Dreamcast.
Chosen by history, a man becomes a warrior. Engraved into history a warrior becomes a hero.
There has been a lot of talk about which system has the best version of Soul Calibur 2 and that is to be expected. The truth though is that no matter what system you have, the version of Soul Calibur you get is amazing.
The Playstation 2 version of the game does not look as good as the others obviously. It does look amazing though when compared to other PS2 games. Anyone who played Virtua Fighter 4 knows that the PS2 can make a damn fine looking game. Well SC2 looks even better. The character models and backgrounds are all beautifully detailed with hardly any of the jagged edges so common in PS2 games.
The special character for the PS2 is Heihachi and I’d have to say he is once again probably the least interesting of the three. He really just doesn’t seem to fit in a weapons based fighting game. I am a huge fan of Tekken and I think he is a fantastic character but this just isn’t the right game for him. With that said he really does not detract from the SC 2 experience. You do not need the extra characters to have fun with this game. The roster of fighters that the game comes with is packed full of interesting and unique characters.
The sound is much less dynamic on the PS2 as well which is a minor point and one you would not even notice unless you played the other versions.
The Dual shock is easily the best controller to play SC 2 with.
SC2 looks about the same on the GC and the Xbox, which is to say fantastic. If you have a TV that can do the progressive scan thing than you will get an even bigger treat as the game supports those higher resolutions.
Link is probably the coolest of the three characters. Besides the ” it’s Link, and he’s got the master sword!” factor, he is actually a very good fighter. All his weapons from previous games are available like bombs, arrows and even the boomerang. He may look a bit out of place but his moves mesh extremely well with the rest of the game and he at least FEELS like a character who could have been in the series since it’s inception.
The sound in the GC version is significantly better than the PS2 but can’t beat the sound on the Xbox.
The controller is very awkward for SC2 and it makes things like throws and guard cancels kind of hard to pull off. If you are getting the GC version invest in a fighting stick.
As far as ease of importing the GC is the best choice since it now has a boot disk available for playing imports. No modification required just slip in the boot disk and your good to go. Similar items came out for the Dreamcast and the Saturn. They are a quick simple way to play Imports on your US systems.
Just like the GC version the Xbox version looks amazing and supports the higher resolutions found on your higher end television sets.
Spawn is better than I expected but ( this is just my Nintendo fan boy opinion) doesn’t have the cool factor that Link does. I was expecting him to be a slow, lumbering Astaroth clone but he’s not at all. Spawn is a quick fighter with a decent assortment of long range projectile attacks and vicious kick combos that make him a more than worthy addition to the series.
The Xbox version has the best sound hands down. If you have the ability to play the game in surround sound you are in for a special treat. Sword clangs and screams echo off the walls of closed in environments and the sounds of battle jump from speaker to speaker as the fight moves around the arena.
If your using an S controller you will be fine since MS pretty much just ripped off the Dual Shock design.
The soul still burns
No matter what system you buy it for Soul Calibur 2 will not disappoint. One of the finest video games ever made is back. It really doesn’t matter what you play it on. Just play it.
As always, thanks to Videogamedepot.com for the import hook up. If you need any of this shit I just talked about hit up VGD.