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Soul Calibur II (PS2)

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6 Reviews

Manufacturer: Namco / Fighting / published by: Namco

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    6 Reviews
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      21.04.2012 17:22
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      Stylish, Strategic, Fantasy Fighter

      Apart from Tekken 3, Soul Calibur 2 was a real introduction to the fighting genre in video gaming. I know that sounds rather naive with neither game being an original or particularly revolutionary in any sense, but this one kept me happily occupied for some time. Released in 2003 on 3 platforms - Xbox, PS2 & Gamecube - each with a different character included - Spawn, Heihachi & Link. 5 years had passed since the first Soul Calibur game was released on Dreamcast and the gaming world really needed its return. Whilst the Tekken series is possibly the most well known, original 'fighter' out there, Soul Calibur 2 manages to stand on its own without drawing too many comparisons. Namco's SC2, doesn't feature the 'jump' option - something many avid tekken fans and even casual gamers ridicule - but what it does have is weapons. Is it that beneficial or realistic to suddenly jump in battle anyway? Sure sometimes, but truth be told you can technically 'jump' :) Unlike Tekken though, you can't get away with button bashing, you need to use skill to remember attack patterns, block and pull off efficient moves.

      STORY
      Along with the appearance and special abilities of some, the story is what makes this game a 'fantasy' fighter. Set in 1591, the fragments of the destroyed 'Soul Edge' weapon have scattered across the planet, found by each character. The combatants then set out to either piece together the legendary weapon, or stop those who intend to. There isn't always a mention of these efforts, some merely choose different paths to discover themselves and fulfill other personal missions. The story is put together in the 'Weapon Master Mode' where further details can be found but the 'Arcade Mode' also offers a shorter, fighting only 'story'. With each chapter of WM, comes a few paragraphs to mull over, shedding light on your path and where you are in the game. For some insight into the story and characters, its worth checking out the introduction video to the game - its fantastic, not just visually.

      MODES
      The best part about the game is that it has a long campaign-like mode in Weapon Master. You take part in numerous battles with specific rules and regulations, unlocking characters, purchasing weapons and special features such as artwork, costumes, videos, profiles and all this whilst exploring the world and story. There also the standard Arcade Mode, where you choose your character (with the optional weapons found in WM) and fight your way through the ladder of enemies - each character has a specific finale battle before facing the games boss 'Inferno'. Vs Battle is for battling friends, Time Attack sees you try to complete the Arcade ladder as quickly as possible. Survival is an interesting mode as it requires you to fight opponents whilst injured from previous battles or the interesting 'first hit wins' rule. Team Battle allows you to build a team up of your favourite or random characters to take on the AI's set of enemies (there is also a VS mode) with teams ranging up to 8 characters. Then there is Practice mode to try out moves etc and the Options. You can also view any artwork unlocked, player profiles that contain every bit of dialogue, weapon demonstrations, fact-files and all sorts of other fascinating insights to the characters and game.


      CHARACTERS
      There are 23 playable characters in total, 8 of which must be unlocked.
      Mitsurugi, Heihachi (PS2 Only), Necrid, Taki, Talim, Cassandra, YunSung, Raphael, Kilik, XiangHua, Maxi, Nightmare, Ivy, Astaroth, Voldo, Seong Mina, Cervantes, Lizard Man (Sophitia & Cassandra move set), Berserker (Enemy), Charade (Uses random character move set), Sophitia, Yoshimitsu, Assassin (Enemy, YunSung Move set). The move sets all feature different styles, motions, speeds and damage (depending on weapons). They all have their own voice actors with often hundreds of phrases/noises and have different variations on the story but don't particularly change anything. You do however get written endings explaining what happens in the character. They all have secondary costume to choose from as well, although some have unlockable third ones. Some are slow and mighty, others quick and nimble, but it doesn't always come to raw strength or fast moves - you need to think, block and stay focused throughout battle.

      WEAPONS & MOVES
      The weapons are fairly complex to begin with, designating attacks to buttons - X acts as a horizontal swing, Y vertical, A is block and B kick. I personally prefer to alter the controls in the options menu as I would rather use the left trigger as block, so you can truly customise all the buttons to your own liking. Pressing both triggers charges your next move to do more damage, certain button combinations equate to 'grabs' and several moves can be built up by sprinting or followed up by more devastating 'unsporting' blows when the opponent is down. There are weapon lists of over 10 for most characters (over 200 total), which all have detailed appearances and abilities. Weapon stats include the following: higher/lower attack/defence, vampire, weakness/strengths to vertical/horizontal attacks, no/weak guard, more moves, stronger/healing charge, longer/shorter reach and others that I can't recall. The moves are usually quite over the top and have colourful effects leaving trails all over the screen. The use of parrying or guard break also spices up battles so you can't just block or swing the whole time - you can block low and standing attacks but some moves are unblockable.

      ARENAS & GRAPHICS
      There are several arenas/areas that are character specific, include ring out disqualification, quick sand, lava, water, explosives, cages, all of which can be strolled around as the battles are 3 dimensional, allowing you to step forward and away from opponents as well as strafe around them to avoid attacks or take them by surprise. You can expect to fight in dungeons, castles, gardens, rooftops, mansions, ruins, loads of well designed places, all in brilliant graphics. The characters are particularly well designed, hair flowing in the wind, bouncing boobies, kicking up dust & dirt, slashing in the water, steaming from fires and smooth movements. The weapons all look fantastic as well with katanas, whips, axes, scythes, daggers, shields, rapiers, nunchucks, staffs, halberds, clothing like skin tight lycra, capes, helmets, knight armour, leather boots, miniskirts... Definitely one of the most visually pleasing games available on Playstation 2.

      MUSIC & VOICE ACTING
      The music makes use of the whole orchestra using soaring, epic scores for as basic of things like the main menu. Some scores are well suited to arenas, like secret dungeons using mysterious, foreign instruments. The voice acting though is too exaggerated most of the time. Characters make funny noises now and again, each has a 'death howl' and whats rather surprising is that before a battle, the 2 combatants face off like boxers and can say something by pressing a button. This makes VS. games pretty hilarious when one of you screams and the other calmly declares "FOOL". You can have a laugh in the profiles as well, rapidly pressing buttons to make your character squeal and say incoherent sentences. Its completely unnecessary but its there if you want it.

      What I love about this game is that unlike almost all other fighters, victory isn't the only reward. You get gold to buy better weapons and explore new environments instead of fighting the same type of battle over and over with scaling difficulty. But it is tough at times, forcing you to test out questionable strategies to achieve your goal. I also have the Xbox version of this game, which feels a lot more slick and cleaner has Spawn who is mentally overpowered with an attack that can at times be a one hit K.O, but probably the best extra. I haven't tried out the Gamecube's version, but I can't imagine a tiny Link will be of much use or different to any of the other 3 sword and shield bearers. So if you want a challenging fighting game with hundreds of weapons, plot and customisable aspects - this is the one for you. Awesome game.

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      • More +
        20.02.2010 10:24
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        Overall, a great fighting game

        Soul Calibur II is a fantastic game for the Playstation 2. I loved it when I played it recently and found it to be very addictive. This game is made by Namco and they seem to have brought another classic with this game. The is the sequel to the popular Soul Calibur and sometimes sequels aren't always that good but this one it. In addtion this version is multi-platform. You get your own exclusive character with each platform.

        The Playstation 2 version gives you Heihachi Mishima as your character who is the evil head of the Mishima corporation from the Tekken series. He has no weapons and fights just with his bare hands alone.

        The Xbox version gets Spawn who fights with his trusty battle axe and the gamecube has Link with his sword and shield.

        Besides these three characters there are also a few more new characters which will keep you interested.


        Besides those three, there are also a few more new characters to select from. Firsly, there is Necrid who is a demon like creature. He fights with an aura sourrounding him all the time. Next there's Talim, the youngest soul in the game. She fights with a pair of elbow blades and is very quick. However, she does lack some physical strength. Cassandra fights with a sword and shield and is pretty quick. Yunsung uses a short sword to fight. His moves can be extremely powerful but doesn't have a particularly good range and is most effective at close range. Raphael is the game's fencer and has a slight English accent. He can be pretty hard to master though. Finally there is Charade who can use any weapon in the game and is probably the best one.

        When I played Soul Calibur II I found the gameplay stunning. You get a quest mode to play where you travel to different countries and complete missions. It is great, despite not much of a storyline. The high paced fighting is still in place as always and the various game modes kept me enthralled for a fair while.

        The graphics are fantastic too. The attention to details is great and the characters are stunning. Add to that the scenery and arena's and you have a visually exciting game.

        This game is magnificent in my opinion and is a great buy. Highly recommended...

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        23.05.2009 06:47
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        One of the best fighting game I ever played.

        Introduction :
        There are three game console for the SC2 namely Game Cube version, PS2 version and X-Box. They have almost the same or identical regarding the game-play, graphics and sound. The only difference is that somehow each game console has its own "special guest fighter" (characters taken from other games). Although I envy those who have the Game Cube version as they have the best of all the three game console releases in terms of its "special guest fighters". But I got PS2, so I'll focus my review on what I know and experienced on this game. In PS2 version, you can play the classic Namco character Heihachi Mashima (his from the famous game Tekken I think). All his Tekken moves were copied in this game and made him popular with PS2 players all across the planet. Sounds nice isn't it!!!

        Gameplay:
        For those unfamiliar with the Soul Calibur, you can describe it as a 3D Fighting game, like the Tekken, Virtua Fighter, X-Men etc..etc... Something like choosing your fighter, use every fighting moves, combo's and tactics you mastered and press the "up-down-left-right" arrow keys and presto you win the battle. Each characters has it's own fighting styles and uses different weapons to hand. What do I mean by this???It means that you may able to choose big and heavily built but slow characters who gives you maximum damage or you get your speedy characters who can get quick energy sapping combos going and then retreat. This also means that if you were beaten by a certain character, it's not because he had the fastest special moves or carries the biggest sword, it's simply because you were just not good enough to defeat them...Okay!!!
        To continue, once you complete certain task in the game, you'll be rewarded with a new game mode or special feature such as art gallery, character profiles, character endings, special time attack and survival modes and new variations of arcade and versus mode. If you want to improve your skills for single player action, then I would suggest to play the "Mission Mode". By dueling in varying difficulty, you can win cash and able to buy new weapons or costumes for your character. But the missions are not simply knocking your opponent out, some can be knock-out and sometimes all you have to do is simply survive the battle. The mission mode is quite tough and it tests
        your endurance, but if you are to unlock the game's full potential, then the mission mode is a must. It really added to the challenge for you in the single player action. But of course, the real thing is when you play the "Versus mode". One of the finest "versus" game I ever played with all the features,
        special moves, combos, and weapons.

        Graphics :
        For this games graphics, I would say "its terrific!!". The details of each characters are both amazing and spectacular such that they move fluidly and beautifully at all times. Each stages are also wonderful, although I wish there could be more.

        Sound :
        For me, there's nothing special with respect to the games sound. Just the same heroic fun fares and orchestral score who used to impress me years ago. But not anymore!!!!LOL...

        My impression :
        Of all the one-on-one fighter game, SC2 seems like it's got some life in it. It manages to become a more well-balanced 3-D fighting game I ever played. The graphics and game-play is great. And the "Versus Mode" is one of the best fighting experience I ever had. Whatever game console you play it with, its still worth your money.

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        30.05.2008 16:09
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        A good follow up to the best beat 'em up ever

        Upon release, Soul Calibur was by quite a comfortable distance the best beat 'em up in existence, though fate dictated that it would be missed by a great majority of gamers. Part of the reason for this was the timing of its release; emerging in the shadow of the more-recognisable beat 'em up classic Tekken 3 in 1999, it also didn't help that it was a release limited only to the Dreamcast, as no other consoles around at the time were powerful enough to run it. Nevertheless, it sported a graphics engine so far ahead of its time that it took most developers half a decade to catch up on arguably superior hardware, and gameplay so fast, fluid and perfect to control that it's hard to see it ever being bettered.

        And so the beat 'em up genres Concorde moment came and went, and in the aftermath, Namco were left the unenviable task of coming up with a worthy successor, this time for release across all major formats of its generation (except, ironically, the Dreamcast).

        Soul Calibur II, released in 2003, is a 3D weapons-based beat 'em up set in a variety of fictitious locations in the late 16th Century as the protagonist's concerned quest once again for Soul Edge, the legendary evil sword, each with their own motives for doing so. Those expecting a significant progression for the series will be left disappointed, though there's certainly enough quality content here to keep fans happy.

        The first point of note upon playing is the change of personnel. Interestingly, Namco have decided to put nearly all of the new characters up for selection from the outset, whilst series mainstays have to be unlocked. Amongst the new contenders is the impressive flame-haired Yunsung, a talented and easy-to-grasp young brawler; there's also the token freaky mimic, this time in the shape of the giant-floating-eye-with-a-body known simply as Charade; and Cassandra, the beguiling sister of series core figure Sophitia, though as both appear in the game, it becomes clear they're a touch too similar for comfort.

        The new fighters are as fluid and stylistically diverse as one would expect from Soul Calibur, but the old-guard remains superior, and it won't be long before series veterans revert back into using the likes of Taki, the super-speedy ninja, and Cervantes the evil, bloodthirsty (even by a fighting games standards) pirate. Worth a mention is the appearance of Tekken kingpin Heihachi Mishima, who is exclusive to the PS2 iteration - it says a lot for SCII that the character feels so at home here despite his lack of weapons.

        The gameplay is action-packed and eminently playable, even if it perhaps lacks that final ounce of pace and responsiveness that made its predecessor so fantastic. The moves list retains the unique combination of vertical, horizontal and kick-based attacks and there's a broad range of attacks to fit all bands of ability - a player who doesn't want to learn the show-stopping combos can still be dangerous as long as they combine simpler moves with astute timing, and use features such as the 'side-step' and 'ring-out' to their advantage, though the latter is sadly trickier to perform than previously as many of the arenas now sport walls.

        The Weapon Master modes plays an even more significant role in this instalment, as additional characters must be unlocked via progression this story setup, rather than the usual means of an Arcade mode. It once again sees you tackling over 50 missions featuring a number of circumstances; you'll be challenged to win battles with various handicaps such as limited time, low health and having to cause damage to enemies in specific ways - smashing them against walls, air combos and so on. The storyline that unfolds in Weapon Master is largely forgettable, though rewards for progression are excellent; winning battles sees the player rewarded in gold, which in turn can be used to buy a plethora of nifty extras, such as new costumes; artwork; exhibition demos and around 200 or so weapons - every single one of which has its own unique appearance, battle attributes and write-up.

        Namco's "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" policy follows through to the selection of game modes, which includes the usual Survival and Time Attack setups and 'Extra' variants whereby you can play through with unlocked weapons, with Team Battle remaining the best secondary mode long-term due to its great multiplayer potential.

        Brilliant as it is, there are some shortfalls that need to be pointed out. The difficulty can fluctuate wildly depending on how aggressive the A.I. wants to be, making success at certain tasks feel frustratingly random - you may get battered several times running, and then win three or four bouts with barely a scratch - though this is an affliction suffered by many most beat 'em ups to be fair. The block function (using 'X' or a shoulder button) remains a little unconvincing, protecting in the short term but leaving the player vulnerable to throws, and because of the side-step function, performing crouches and (the largely useless) jump moves is a bit hit and miss.

        Visually, SCII may not make your jaw drop in quite the way the original did, but it is nevertheless a superb looking game. The fighters look great; from the range of facial expressions to the incredible nuances and attention to detail that characterise their fighting styles, most evident in the most unorthodox of fighters such as Voldo and Ivy (who has a weapon that morphs been a whip and a sword). Their secondary and tertiary outfits look every bit as impressive as their main garbs and, rather than opting for the Streetfighter method of simply changing the colour of the clothing, some characters look completely different, which is cool and makes unlocking them worthwhile. The environments are lovely - the mountain top Shrine of Eurydice is a particularly memorable setting, as is the giant Library and the booby-trapped Money Pit. The only real disappointment is the lack of FMV endings - they may have pushed the game over budget but it certainly would have put the icing on the cake presentation-wise.

        The music is rich and bold, playing to the grand settings and theme in an effective manner. The characters have quite a lot of dialogue this time around and unlike the first Soul Calibur, it has been dubbed into English. The end result is hardly Oscar winning as little of what is said makes coherent sense, but in a genre not known for brilliant dialogue, it doesn't fair too badly.

        Soul Calibur II can ultimately be viewed as a fine entry in an outstanding beat 'em up lineage, keeping much of what made part one great, adding more of the same though and offering levels of depth and design quality virtually unrivalled on the PS2. On a more critical note, it's hard to escape the feeling that Namco have erred on a little on the safe side; understandably not wanting to jeopardise the series popularity by throwing in radical new ideas, though because of its relative lack of invention it's tricky to distinguish SCII as a true sequel. What you are left with is still one of the best fighting games of its time, and enough content to keep newcomers and veterans alike playing for weeks - longer, if you've got friends willing to make the most of the multiplayer options.

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          04.05.2006 10:23
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          Fun to pass the time, but may bore die hard fighting game fans!

          Soul Caliber 2 has several parts to the game, with arcade, knock out stages and weapon master mode being really good.

          Characters are good are the game provides opportunity to improve their look weapons and armour.

          Unlocking characters is easy but one was impossible to find, which was lizardman. Which was dissapointing.

          Easy to master and fun for both sexes. Has a rating of 16+ due to the violence used but have played it with children as young as 8 and the violence is not excessive.

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            02.05.2006 21:58
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            Another good fighting game.

            Made by Namco and this one in 2003, it is a fighting beat 'em up game similar to Tekken but so different in many ways. It plays the same in that you just verse a character with a health bar and do different rounds, but there are differences. The controls are far easier than at least in Tekken Tag which provides great gameplay, and this is a lot faster paced and the weapons you can use allow more varied gameplay. I still don't think it's as good though. Soul Calibur, as far as I know is an 'evil sword'.

            Modes.
            ******

            It pretty much has the same fighting modes as most beat em up games. You've got the arcade mode where your character has to battle through a series of characters, each one having a pretty simple story about why they are fighting, before you reach the boss. It is here you unlock characters and it provides a good practice for other modes.
            Other modes include Time Attack, where you try to beat as many characters as you can in the fastest time (which is quite challenging) and team battle, where you choose a team to take on a different team. If your character gets KO'd you switch to the next character. It is interesting, just like Time Attack. Like Time Attack though it won't last too long, and this is the same with Survival Mode, which is similar to time attack.

            There is also, obviously a multiplayer mode. As with most beat em up games, Soul Calibur is far better with 2 players as it suddenly becomes a lot more competitive and fun.

            Weapon Master-A great thing about this game is this. This is where the story comes in. Here you buy the weapons and unlock the characters by earning gold to which you can buy them with. You also earn experience which is like a Karate Belt really-in the way you earn better ranks the better you are. There are also changed battles with different rules to make it interesting and there are quite a few of these variables such as you having to beat an enemy whose health slowly regenerates, or beat an enemy where you are slowly slipping off of the stage. There are a lot more variables, such as an enemy that can attack you when you are blocking, or beat X amount of enemies in X amount of time.
            This is the section of the game that will last you the longest no doubt though if you try to play it through all in one go it will get quite dull, so you do need to pace yourself to really enjoy it. It is also a good place where you can actually test your skill, instead of just button mashing.

            Characters.
            *********
            There are a fair amount of characters in the game, including Yoshimitsu from the Tekken series. There are easily enough characters for you to pick the ones you like most so you can get good with them; though I will say I prefer the characters in Tekken. The Soul Calibur characters do sometimes feel a little dull. It is all personal taste though and I do like a fair amount. The weapon a character wields will no doubt be a contributing factor to which character you like most. A personal favourite of mine is Kilik, a staff wielding character. You also get some other characters such as Heihachi (also from Tekken).
            There are a variety of characters all with different weapons from huge swords to small swords, whips and axes. All of the characters have an amazing amount of attacks also, so can take a long time to master.

            I must say that although I find the characters dull, a lot of them do play well. Unlike the Tekken series, the Soul Calibur series is extremely fast paced, thanks to the weapons. A lot of the weapons of the characters are the same, such as two characters having staffs and I wouldn't mind a few more types of weapons, but overall there isn't much to complain about. With swift movement from the characters you get a good fighting game that you can take time to master by learning all of the combos and blocks. Also, due to the weapons, each characters have certain advantages and disadvantages such as the reach of the weapon compared to the power and considering the variety I have to say that mostly, the characters are well balanced.


            What has changed from Tekken?
            **************************

            Well, the faster gameplay for one has added to it and the whole game would have been as god if it were not for the character annoyances. The faster gameplay works incredibly well because for example, in Tekken if you missed an attack, it took a while for you to get up, now you have a chance of blocking which is also made considerably easier because the faster gameplay means you can finish the attack faster without getting hit. When on the floor, you can also roll around to dodge attacks. Since the combos are easier, and the attacks are easier it makes the attacks flow easier so you can pull off the best combos easier. The blocking is also good because tapping R1 or X means you can block which is easier than in Tekken in which I found no buttons blocked (and I mean actually pressing nothing let you block) and alls you have to do it press up and down to dodge making the battles, especially in multiplayer a lot more even.
            The weapons also add because you can attack at a greater distance making the battles rely a lot more on blocking because some attacks you have to block but you cannot attack back because your weapon is shorter so there is a big difference in power now, instead of in Tekken (which worked just as well) in which you were powerful or slow, or fast but not as powerful.

            Extra Information.
            ***************

            1 or 2 player.
            138kb minimum on PS2 memory card
            Made by Namco in 2003
            £16.99 on www.amazon.co.uk or £12.98 used or new.
            16+ due to violence but i think it deserves a lot lower-no gore and i doubt many have a sword at hand to practice with-your choice for your child really if they're mature enough
            Also on Gamecube and Xbox

            My Opinion.
            ***********

            So close yet so far to being as good as the Tekken series I am afraid. The music in the background is serious and fitting and the Weapon Master mode makes the lifespan of the game huge. The graphics are not too special but are very good still and overall I do like the game and would recommend this game and will one day buy the third instalment in the hope of the small improvement which will make it as good as the Tekken series but just a bit different.
            The weapons definitely add to how the game plays making it different to Tekken but there is not point in adding different weapons which has been a huge disappointment for me. Nonetheless, since the modes are all like Tekken and I love the modes in that so I can't complain and the faster gameplay definitely makes for different play. The faster gameplay makes for a smoother experience than Tekken but the Tekken gameplay is good because it is rough.
            What Namco have done is change the Tekken experience but the attacks still remain. You can throw a character still and kick but it is different because not you can push them out of the ring making some battles easier and more fun.
            There are extra modes now and some of the modes also make for superb gameplay which I hope, when I get Tekken 4 or 5, it will have in it too.
            Overall, it's just a great game that, if the flaws were resolved-such as weapons being the same or characters being a bit more loveable, or maybe it not being like Tekken as much because it is so much alike it is a copy which bothers me. If the modes were a bit changed too it would really be fantastic-as good as Tekken so it definitely gets my...four stars.

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          • Product Details

            The incredible fighting action returns with new characters and a new storyline!