Reviewed on Gamecube

Soul Calibur II

Reviewed By: Phillip Herrero

Computer Platform: Gamecube, XboX, Playstation 2
Produced by: Namco
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-2 hrs.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Overall Rating:
Genre: Fighting
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some objectionable elements)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Soul Calibur II is the sequel to my personal favorite 3D fighting game of all time. The story is basically about a bunch of people who fight for

the ultimate weapon Soul Calibur. There is a long story in weapons master mode but I just found it too boring that I skipped it most of the time. I have played the Gamecube and Playstation 2 version of the game but haven't played the Xbox version before. I played the Gamecube version the most though and understand that version the most.

The gameplay in Soul Calibur II is easy enough for button mashers to enjoy yet deep enough for the most hardcore (no pun intended) to seek their teeth into. There is plenty of stradegy involved in this game. You have you vertical attacks, horizontal, and kicks. You can use vertical attacks to try to get the most damage but you can try to avoid this attack by sidestepping away and try to either use a swift kick or a horizontal attack to hit your opponent. If you time your press right you can do a guard break which kind of counters an attack and makes your enemy vulnerable to combos but this will take some skill and gives an edge over those who just button mash. Strategy gets even deeper in this game. You can pick a character with speed but weak attack power or a character with strong attack power but they take some time to charge their strong attacks. Sometimes you can do a little charge attack called soul charge which takes a couple seconds to re-charge but could result in starting some lengthy combos if you know the right time to use it. Then you have the choice of weapons. In weapons master mode you can purchase weapons which have different attributes. For example there are some weapons that give you extra power but take away some health. Its your choice to see if that's the kind of trade off you like but one flaw is that you could actually die by attacking your opponent because it takes away your health.

There are plenty of extra modes to keep you fighting well after you have completed the fairly short weapons master mode. You can try to do the hard version of weapons master mode and try different sub chapters. There are also your standard fighting game extra modes like time attack, survival, and team battle. You can unlock different versions of these modes to that make it harder or more interesting. Speaking of hard though one thing really disappoints me with this game. in weapons master mode to make things harder they add different kind of conditions like fight your way through a puzzle dungeon or try to defeat 5 characters without recharging health. This is fine but I was expecting the difficulty to get harder by the A.I. getting smarter and in that respect it just doesn't compare to Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. As in all fighting games this game is at its best when in multiplayer mode. I didn't use this mode as much as I would like to but it really keeps things fair. If your are an expert facing a button masher you can do things like unbalance the health to make things more interesting for the more experienced one or in team battle do things like 6 characters vs 1. Overall there is enough gameplay to make you put down the first Soul Calibur.

The graphics in Soul Calibur II are among the best I have seen in a fighting game. When I first saw the screenshots I wasn't too impressed with the way everything looked but when you actually see it in real time going 60 fps its truly amazing. The character models are very detailed except for some unlockable characters but Ill forgive that since you won't really be interested in the ones I'm thinking of anyway. The stages are really nice too except for the water which looks kind of outdated but it doesn't take away from the overall experience. I have played the Gamecube version and Playstation 2 and I didn't really notice any difference but I will get into that more later.

The sound is actually pretty good for a fighting game. I like the music which goes beyond the regular rock stuff. Each stage's song fits perfectly and you definitely can't feel un-impressed at first when you hear the Legend of Zelda song remixed. The voice acting is quite good too most of the time but if you don't like it you can always just change it to the Japanese setting. The sound effects are also good too with nice sounds of your weapons clinging each other or the sound of water splashing as you fall from a ring out. Overall not much I can complain about here.

Now the questionable stuff. There are so many places I could start off from maybe I should start from the obvious. A lot of the female characters in the game are inproperly dressed. As my principle would put it if any students wore the kind of clothes these characters wore they would be expelled. There are alternative costumes for these characters if you don't want to see that kind of stuff in multiplayer but like the character's style of play but you can't control it when your playing single player. Then there is the soul charge. I may get this a little wrong but in the game when you soul charge you focus your soul or “spirit” to get a stronger attack. This could possibly offend some. There are also some instances where the characters say some offensive stuff like, " come with me to hell" and stuff like that. Also some of the grab attacks are very brutal. Some characters snap your neck right after they are done strangling you and more stuff like that. That's a lot of stuff t o look past but I know that some people don't really care but there are also some that do.

Now one of the most hyped things about this game is the exclusive characters. Gamecube gets Link from the Legend of Zelda, PS2 owners get Heihachi, and Xbox owners get Spawn. Unfortunately I haven't been able to try out Spawn yet. Out of the two I really enjoyed Link more. He is just more loveable I guess. Maybe its the fact that this is adult Link's big cameo after the whole controversial cell shading. They are both greatly detailed but Heihachi's fighting style really didn't appeal to me as much. I guess its just a matter of personal preference but Link just seemed like a much more deep character with all of his attacks to master. While I'm at the subject of comparing systems I find the Gamecube one to be superior. For one the loading times are noticeably faster on the Gamecube version. Its not really a big deal but its worth noting. Also I found the Gamecube's control scheme to fit my style better. The Gamecube controller doesn't look right for a fighting game but everything just felt in place. I have quite small hands so the direction pad problem really didn't bother me. When I tried the PS2 version I had to get used to the controls all over again since it uses different button placement. You an change it thankfully though anyway you want it.

Overall Soul Calibur II is definitely worth owning if your the kind of person that can get past all the questionable stuff. Its pretty short but plenty of extra stuff to unlock and a good multiplayer mode will keep you coming back for more.

Year of Release—2003

Neutral—I have this to say: Soul Calibur II is the best-- or the second best to Super Smash Bros. Melee—fighting game ever. There are some objectionable elements, such as Cervantes(an un lockable character in the game) being a ghost, and Astaroth--another character in the game—being a Golem made by the Titans.(those even a little bit familiar with Greek mythology will remember the Titans as huge creatures who ruled the Earth before the “gods” came) I am the kind of person who focuses on gameplay and overlooks those sort of things, so it didn't bother me much. There is no blood, only a little red flash when you hit the opposing character. Some people might argue that this is blood, but I think it is for linking combos together. The reviewer covered everything else necessary, so that's pretty much all I have to say. Overall, if you are a parent and your kid wants this game, get him Super Smash Bros. Melee if he is young, or if he is at least eleven and you think he can handle it, get him Soul Calibur II. Many parents may be put off by the title, but it really doesn't mean anything. If you still don't really like this game, then just think of it like this: At least he's not playing Mortal Kombat! My Ratings: [3 / 5]
   —David, age 11

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

Christian Spotlight Guide2Games is part of Christian Answers. Copyright © Films for Christ. • “Christian Spotlight’s Guide to Games” and “Guide2Games” are service marks of Films for Christ.

Go to Christian Spotlight on Entertainment HOME