When SoulCalibur II was released 10 years ago it made waves in the video game world that would peak near tsunami status. It was a nearly perfect iteration of all the things that make a fighting game good. Balanced characters, tight responsive controls, and a cast of fighters that had more soul than most role-playing games at the time. Not to mention one of the best-written stories for a fighting in history, period.
That immaculate blend of fun and technique, spent hours brawling next to a friend on the couch, is back with updated graphics and online capability, and proves that the ProjectSoul team responsible for the game still has an edge as sharp as the swords they created.
While they did go off track in the subsequent titles after SCII, with cameos from star wars characters and Nintendo mainstays like Link or inflated created characters that totally threw the balance of the game off, to 3 games with a story too ludicrous for Saturday morning television. This rerelease signals a ray of hope in future for the ProjectSoul development team.
The fact that a game 10 years old has controls tighter and more responsive, even with modern directional pads on the current controllers (looking at you Xbox), speaks volumes to how ahead of its time this game was. The simplicity of the controls work well on new consoles, a refreshing departure from button mashers on games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and though they may be easy to pick up hard to really master.
The graphical update has the eclectic cast of characters looking better than ever in full HD. The clash of weapons and the ensuing sparks flying almost breath new life into the game, yet it seems they updated graphics do only to complement the already outstanding features of the fighter. Instead of taking the lazy way out and simply “refreshing “ thigns like menus and text, Namco-Bandai completely reworked those elements to make them feel like a real update and not a lazy conversion like so many reboots often do.
The bread and butter to SoulCalibur has always been the multiplayer, whether it be with a group of fighting game enthusiasts at a home or huddled over an arcade machine. With the inclusion of online multiplayer, in a very good matchmaking system, the entire package is finally rounded out. This is the SoulCalibur the fighting game community has desperately needed.
In a market that has become saturated with fighting, and pseudo-fighting, games it is refreshing to see a game that at the core gets it right emerge on the stage once more. As we enter the next evolution of gaming, it is hopeful to see such a masterwork re-emerge and retake its place among the pantheon of legendary video games.