In a genre that hasn’t been reinvented too often in the recent past, Soulcalibur IV inches forward only slightly when it comes to the evolution of fighting games. Sure, the game looks pretty and offers far more serious customization than any other fighting game out there, but it’s just that and nothing more – almost everything else is just a basic rehash.
I’m not saying it’s a bad game; in fact it’s one of the most wholesome offerings the fighting genre has delivered in the recent past, with enough tricks up its sleeve to keep you hooked for hours on end. It’s just that with such a momentous leap forward in current generation technology, you’d expect a bit more than the minor tweaks and treats the game offers, as opposed to full-blown innovation.
In fighting games like this, there are always two kinds of players that developers aim to please. One type has mastered the art of button-mashing and is inclined towards more casual play (comparatively), while the other type include hardcore individuals who master a few fighters till their controllers turn greasy with sweat, and they can beat the living hell out of anything that moves.
Soulcalibur IV actually manages to please both audiences, with numerous modes and customization. For the casual crowd (and those that aren’t too familiar with the franchise), there’s the short-and-easy Story Mode. It brings you up to date with the storyline of each character and, at the same time, offers just about enough to keep you craving for more without getting your ass handed to you. For those who love a challenge, the game features a Tower of Souls mode that’s been tweaked to work as a survival mode to test your mettle.
Finally, if the single player isn’t challenging enough, you can take both – the basic as well as customized characters – online to compete against other skilled players. There are separate modes for the two types, so if you’re relatively new and don’t want to get your ass kicked by some Soulcalibur addict wielding a custom-tailored character, you can opt for the Standard Versus mode as opposed to the Special Versus mode (which, as you know, is meant for customized characters).
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