XBLA Review: SoulCalibur

Is the original SoulCalibur a worthy XBLA fighter?

SoulCalibur®, the highest-rated console fighting game, has returned to the next generation! Sharpen your blades as you relive old grudges against classic adversaries in new high definition graphics. Prove your mettle against the world with a variety of leaderboards spanning every character and mode, or challenge a friend in local-play Versus mode.

  • Nineteen playable characters: All of your favorite fighters are back including Kilik, Ivy, Siegfried, Edge Master, Nightmare, and many more!
  • Eight modes of play: Try the different game modes including Story, Versus, and even Museum Mode that allows players to view artwork, character models, and animations.
  • Leaderboards galore: Compare stats in sixty leaderboards spanning across each character and mode.
  • High definition support: SoulCalibur has been given a whole new coat of beautiful paint to support HD resolutions up to 1080p.

    The original SoulCalibur never had all this exclusive character nonsense that the sequels had; it never had to worry about Link, Spawn, Yoda or Vader. Those were simpler times, I never owned the original but loved the sequel and if you hunt down my review of SC4, I enjoyed it but found the lack of story to be a disappointment.

    Live Arcade has quite a few fighting games now, so has the original SoulCalibur begun to show its age or is it a nice, refreshing reminder of how it all began? For me it lays somewhere in the middle, it was really interesting to see classic characters like Ivy in their original form, especially considering how much cleavage she has increased to show in each game. Some characters failed to make it to the later games and it was weird to see that considering the rest have always made it across to the sequels.

    The XBLA package has 8 modes, the one that’s probably the toughest is Survival Extreme which sets you in a fight in Sudden Death, the first to strike a blow wins. It’s damn hard, especially when they expect you to get 25 wins in the mode for an achievement, are they insane? The standard Arcade and Team modes are there, but the lack of an online mode really hurts the overall package when you can play old 2D fighters over Xbox Live.

    The 12 achievements that the game offer are fairly difficult, there are a few easy ones like use 3 characters and complete the arcade mode with all characters, the harder ones are for things like win the game in Ultra Hard difficulty without losing a round or finish time attack mode with all ring-outs, it can be pretty tricky but it’s possible without enough practice and determination.

    The game doesn’t run at full-screen and there’s no option to stretch it, for a game that boasts of running in 1080p, this is a small let down. The graphics do show their age and the voice-acting from fighters is all in Japanese but translated in subtitles, the announcer speaks English so that makes no real sense. The announcer himself is annoying and it’s clear that it was the start of something as he was just as irritating in the other 3 games since the original.

    The Verdict

    SoulCalibur for XBLA is a great fighter, there’s no question about that. The one thing that hurts it is the lack of online; including it may have set it apart from the other fighters on Arcade.