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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Trimming the fat.

Author: jaywolfenstien from USA
28 August 2008

When I first popped in SCIV and watched the obligatory opening cinematic, I felt a twinge of disappointment. Namco only featured a sparse handful of characters whereas previous entries have showcased all the characters. Then after a moment, I thought – does it really matter? This is a fighting game. The point of the game is the interactive exchange and not watching pretty cinematics.

Over and over I found myself asking that same question – does it really matter? Gone is the "Soul Arena" and the fancy battles where you collect coins, fight a giant statue. Gone is the pointless (not to mention redundant) "Time Attack" mode. Say goodbye to "Versus Team Battle", "Battle Theater" where you could set the computer to fight itself, the Tutorial (?), the extra fighting styles from SCIII's Create a Soul feature, and curiously also missing is the ability to adjust the difficulty in Arcade Mode (?!).

It feels like Soul Calibur did some serious introspection -- a line by line audit of all its features -- and asked itself, "Do I really need this to be a good fighting game?" A noble, if flawed, effort. The Tutorial would have been nice to keep for newcomers, and an adjustable difficulty would be just dandy in case players get bored of fighting the ridiculously easy AI (I guess this is a step up from SCIII's ridiculously unforgiving AI.) I would trade all the guest and bonus characters for those two features, but whatever.

With a few glaring exceptions (Yoda, Vader, Apprentice, Bonus Characters – I'm looking at you), Soul Calibur IV is what I've been waiting for from a fighting game for some time now. Especially with how fighting games lately have decided to throw everything at the player (including the kitchen sink) to the point that the core fighting elements feel more and more neglected (Soul Calibur III, MK Armageddon). I want to play a fighting game that cuts through the crap, cuts through the superficial fluff, cuts through the cheap propaganda – I want a fighting game to focus once again on fighting. Did Namco skimp on the extra features? Oh, absolutely! Is the story complete and utter nonsensical crap like most other games (especially fighting games) that hit #4 (technically #5) in the series? You bet. Do the character's outfits look god-awful? Indeedy-do! Now ask me how the game plays.

The aforementioned introspection extended even into the fighting engine where the excessive number of (mostly useless) moves from Soul Calibur II are consolidated into a smaller list. For example, in SCII Taki's 3+B* was a static uppercut move, while 1,1+B* could be chained into her possession stance for more options. The static uppercut was axed, and the combo-able uppercut replaces it entirely.

In fairness, SCIII tried this and felt like a step back from II; however, IV feels far more polished and solid.

Do I miss the deleted moves? The static uppercut from the above example? Nope. In SCII Taki had a nice little 8-way run combo, 2,2+A,A,A, that looked cool (kinda useless against veteran players, but served me well against everyone else). I kinda wish that was still in the game, but it doesn't affect the fighting that much (I used it more for aesthetics when I could get away with it.) And of course, new moves are introduced for old characters – some more drastic than others. Taki more or less receives tweaks and refinements while Tira, for example, now changes moods mid-fight which affects how her combos pan out. Ivy has received a major overhaul as well, giving her three base stances depending whether her sword is in solid, whip, or coiled state … not to mention completely reworking her command throws.

Hilde is an interesting addition to the cast, using a short sword (horizontal attacks) and spear (vertical attacks) and the range difference of those respective weapons makes playing as her a unique experience (if lacking an immediate attack.) In early matches I found myself attacking when the enemy was in range of the spear, forgetting that 1+A* is a short sword attack, and paying for it when the sword whiffs.

Algol, the new boss, is a mishmash of good ideas and horrendous ideas. He is one with the swords, whose hands turn into their respective blades, and he can sprout more blades from his body – it would be a neat new take on the old Soul Edge/Inferno/Abyss idea where the swords possess its wielder. Instead, Algol is intertwined with the already convoluted plot, and revealed to be the origin of Soul Calibur with his soul infused into the sword sleeping in a tower to be resurrected when … yeah, this is approaching the Plan 9 standard of bad writing. Fortunately, story is irrelevant to a fighting game.

So on to something relevant: the stricter buffering system, which requires more precise button inputs than previous entries. Perhaps to counterbalance the smaller move set? Might be a turn off to newcomers and quasi-button mashers who might not be able to get their combos to work, but won't phase veteran players.

Lastly, Character Creation which I've never really cared for in past games, finally strikes my interest. Mostly because now you can rework the hair and outfits of existing characters. So if Namco gave your favorite character a stupid look (Elvis-impersonator Maxi, anyone?) or maybe even if they grossly misproportioned their anatomy (Taki, Ivy, anyone?) or if they gave them a neat outfit with ridiculous colors (Raphael) … chances are you can fix it, or at least hide it.

In the end, despite the glaring exceptions (Guest/Bonus characters), SCIV trimmed the useless excess of previous games to deliver a more solid fighting game experience which makes it the best Soul Calibur thus far.

*Standard net notation for Soul Calibur; see any SC FAQ for explanation if you don't already know it.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

FInally lives up to the standard.

Author: weaselton from United States
12 August 2008

1999 Soul Calibur set a new standard for 1 on 1 weapons fighters.

The game was superb and sadly only available on the dead Dreamcast.

2003 SC 2 comes out. 3 systems 3 special characters. A slight improvement graphically and game playwise over the first.

2005 SC 3. Which was SC2 with a few new characters. It hardly made note. Its main bonus was the character creation mode. Finally we get SC4.

Perhaps its the next gen system thing, but SC4 is finally the upgrade of the game that we have been waiting for.

1st off its the only fighting game where Darth Vader comes off playable. (the star wars one of old is painful to play)

There has been a huge jump in graphics.

Taki's melon sized chest has been reduced (still well endowed just not back breaking.) And her outfit manages to not be totally offensive.

Character creation is easy and effective.

Getting the new characters no longer requires you to go through the obscene weapon master or path of souls mode.

I think my favorite addition would be the new fighter Hilde.

A female character that actually wears armor into a fight.

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One of the Best Fighting Games of All Time

Author: FilmNut Reviewer from United States
26 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Soul Calibur IV- 2008 In terms of story, the main focus here is redemption for almost all of the characters, some seek revenge, and others seek retribution or pure power by obtaining Soul Edge or by destroying it. Overall, the stories are purely individual; the majority of the time they do not link or in the case of Raphael and Amy is just lazy to repeat the same ending. I would have liked to see more character interactions besides everyone interacting with just 3 characters. The characters were Algol, Nightmare, and Siegfried, the latter who used to be 1 character in previous installments and is mainly Algol and Nightmare. In terms of my favorite ending, that has to be Nightmare's, not because of his simple dark motivation, but because of the epic choir that accompanies Siegfried's death by Nightmare, is just pure epic! Now, in terms of gameplay, the game is flawless, and it would be the best fighting game ever made, if not for Mortal Kombat- 2011. The fighting mechanic is balanced in a way that any novice can pick it up and have a chance, if at least a slim chance, against an expert with the different weapons available for each character, their different throws, the possibilities of Ring-Outs, or Soul Breaks if a character blocks too much. The music is orchestrated beautifully, the character creator is very detailed in customizations, even equipped with endings for the custom characters, too bad those aren't customizable, and there are only 3. Those are for Good character, Evil Character, or Neutral Character, but the fact that they get a cinematic was a welcome surprise. My best characters, I always have at least 2 in fighting games are Vader and Siegfried, the latter being my best. Challenges are always welcome, my PSN name is super4537 and my overall review is that this game is definitely worth buying.

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Frustratingly Rushed.

Author: Seth Drake from Canada
20 February 2010

One word seems to come up more often than any other when I ask anyone I know (most incredibly avid video gamers) what they thought of SCIV. Rushed. I haven't taken the time to research if this was an actually rushed project, but the game reeks of it. If it wasn't rushed, it sure as hell feels like it. If you're looking for a button masher with a nice hair-do, then I highly encourage getting this one from a bargain bin. But here's the low-down on why this game, for me and my friends, gets a 4/10. Reason 1: Character Creation - First name, it's a misnomer. Want to make an original move set? Sorry, you can't, you have to copy-paste from another character (I can't even make a male Tira -or even use her move set- without it waving it's hips about and behaving quite femininely). And so, OK, maybe I can't make original moves but how about a unique-looking character limited only by my creativity? Sorry, you can't, because the items you choose play a part in deciding your abilities, strengths, and weaknesses then you have to choose what the developers had in mind or risk a glaring hole in your defenses and/or abilities. Bottom line, there's no true character creation here. Reason 2: While most fighting games lack an appealing storyline, this one goes one step further. It keeps dragging you along with the small hope of SOMETHING meaningful being tied to your character (I mean, I did just fight a lot of people for SOMETHING) but yet, when that last screen comes, you get a lame "And they did some sort of cool stuff that you don't know about" message in white text on a black screen... I believe we've all screamed at that screen if we've played the game. At least once. A good example: Playing the apprentice, you get to the finale, and it looks like you're about to fight Darth Vader (I mean, he is a playable character so they could easily have made it the last fight). But NOPE. You never do. Black screen, message that some stuff happened (never very exciting or meaningful) and then wham, end credits. Reason 3: The adventure mode (which was fun for story, tutorial, and unlocking items) was removed and replaced with an excessively frustrating and repetitive Tower mode with ridiculous requirements for successful completion that not only frustrates even the most stalwart defenders/veterans of the series but also virtually demands access to a FAQ. And in this critics opinion anything in a game that demands "cheating" shouldn't be part of the game.

But hey, I'm one voice among thousands, so maybe this helped you avoid a bad game (my opinion) or maybe you just like digitized scantly-clad women, few in-game options, and ripping your hair out in frustration. If so, here's a cookie for you.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Soul Calibur: The fighting game series to end all fighting game series

Author: Lord-of-Altair
13 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why do people hate this game so much? I love just about every Soul Calibur game they made, no matter how many bad reviews it got. Okay, well, I'm not a sponge that agrees with the public. Here we go.

Graphics (5/5): The playstation 3 and X-Box 360 definitely lives up to the graphics. The character designs and artwork is also real pretty. Like Soul Calibur II, SCIV uses multiple character designers, including the people who created Gantz and Keroro Gunso. The graphics and artwork never fail to amaze.

Sound (4/5): The soundtrack is good as usual. It actually fits with the games atmosphere. The voice acting is pretty good too, though I do think the Japanese voice acting sounds a bit better. Though the English dubbing isn't the worst, but I hate how they didn't match the English dialogue with the mouth movements. It's like watching a badly dubbed Kung Fu movie from the 1970's. One lesson for Namco, when making foreign language dubs, try not to make it look so goofy.

Gameplay (5/5): Even though a lot of the game is online, but it still doesn't stop SCIV from being fun. I'm glad they didn't change the gameplay too much (all they added were critical finishers, which are cool). I guess Namco follows the philosophy "if it's not broken, don't fix it".

Story and Characters (5/5): Here's the part I like about the Soul Calibur series. It's an epic good vs evil tale and guess what? There's no tournament in sight! Just a tale of good Samaritan warriors fighting evil demonic creatures bend on destroying the balance of the world.

And most of the characters are interesting too. None of the heroes are flawless, each have their own hits and misses. And most importantly, a cast of strong and intelligent female characters. Yeah yeah, I know the girls wear revealing clothes, but judge a character by how they act, NOT by how they dress. There are only two unlikeable characters, but for the most part, the characters are interesting and likable.

Replay (5/5): Replay value is high on most of the series. A lot to unlock and download in this game, you wonder where it ends.

Overall (5/5) What's that? A video game series that actually gets a 5 out of five? Yes, you read that correctly. Soul Calibur is my #1 favorite fighting game series of all time. Sure not all the games got good reviews but who cares? One to their own, I guess.

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1 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Soulcalibur IV is a let down

Author: LaserPoint from Australia
3 January 2009

Let me start of by saying that I'm a big Soul Calibur fan and was looking forward to playing quite possibly the best version of the series since this was the first of the series on the next-gen consoles how "wrong" I was. Soulcalibur IV offers nothing new, in fact it seems to be worse then any other fighting game I have played. The story lines are extremely short and seemed rushed since they only go for 10 minutes, the game play is boring and lacks anything new from previous versions, and the controller movements are terrible, I mean you can not even use the right-analog stick to fight, all you do is move around and mash buttons on the controller. Through to be fair there is a couple of upsides to the game since Yoda and Darth Vader are available, and there is a significant graphic improvement through besides from this I suggest you keep away from the fourth-installment and stick with Soul Calibur 3 which can be found on PS2. I only hope that when/If Soulcalibur V is to be released that the game developers learn from there mistakes and go back to making quality Soulcalibur games.

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