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Soul Calibur II

2004

The first "Soul Calibur" game, for the Sega Dreamcast, is my second-favorite fighting game of all time, next to "Dead or Alive 2", which is without peer.  From the characters, to the weapons, to the sheer volume of moves associated with each character, the first "Soul Calibur" was bad-ass.

So, with the next version of the game, what would the designers give me?  As it turns out, they gave me almost nothing new, and even though the game was nearly perfect before, the silly, egregiously-long Weapon Master mode only allows me to unlock some weapons for each character, but to unlock all of the weapons, I would have to play through, oh, 20 characters' worth of this mode, which would make the game nearly as long as a campaign in the first "Gran Turismo" game, which would take weeks.

Uh, no.

Luckily, almost nothing was changed in terms of the game's engine, play mechanics and move combos...so, I picked up the game and played through as my fave, Taki, and had little trouble re-adjusting to the Soul Calibur universe.  The graphics are still beautiful, the music--even if it is a bit out of place for a fighting game--is still regal, and some of the moves and throws are just fuckin' cool!  New characters abound, although truly original characters are only three or four, including Spawn (on the Xbox version, anyway), who's a nice addition to the family of sword and shield types but doesn't fit at all with this character lineup.

This game needed to have an online component to be truly special...and, it was not included.  Fighting against the computer can only keep me interested for so long, you know?

Rating:  $40

 

Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?  justin@bellviewmovies.com

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09