Rewind Review: Soul Calibur (XBLA)
Soul Calibur was developed by Namco Bandai and retails for 800 MSP. It was released July 2, 2008.
The soul is always burning — burning for more swords and axes clashing, burning for ring outs. Soul Calibur is one of the best fighting games ever released for the Dreamcast and has had many sequels on various consoles. Some still regard the first game being the very best in the series and if you’re one of those, then Xbox Live Arcade is where you’ll be able to find it. But does the soul still burn or has the flame been extinguished?
Here’s what we liked:
Classic fighting – Soul Calibur was always revered for its weapon-based fighting system. It doesn’t have just one type of sword, it had so many variants for its 19 characters: from katanas and rapiers to axes and staffs. It was great to see that type of variety not only in the character you’re playing as, but also in the type of weapon wielded.
Clean graphics – The game was beautiful back on the Dreamcast and it’s still very pretty today. While the 4:3 ratio isn’t the best to look at on a widescreen television, the graphics flow really nicely and the moving backgrounds and great character animations make up for it. The sparks made when your weapons clash is still cool to watch to this day.
Here’s what we didn’t like
No widescreen support – If you do have a widescreen television, this will most certainly be an issue. Since the game is running on a 4:3 ratio, you get borders all around your screen, sort of similar to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The game does have updated HD graphics, but the appearance of borders can get annoying to look at and quickly feel very last-gen.
No mission mode – While the game does have the standard Arcade, Time Attack and Survival modes, it’s lacking the wonderful Mission mode. In this mode, the game played out like a story where you would go across a map, fight out special battles with certain handicaps like constantly losing health or arenas in quicksand. You would also gain new weapons based on the money you made during the battles. It was a neat story mode attached to a great arcade fighting game, too bad it wasn’t included in the XBLA version with all the content already unlocked for you already.
No online play – It’s shocking to see a fighting game with no online play when even re-releases like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 are capable of it. You only get 2-player local co-op which is always great when you have a buddy around. But when you want to face off against a competition of fighters online, you can’t. If you want an online Soul Calibur experience, you may just have to pick up Soul Calibur IV.
Overall, it’s not a pitch perfect port of the Dreamcast original but for 800 MSP, it’s a pretty good fighting game for your buck. It doesn’t have the online or visual fidelity of a Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix but it harkens back to classic days of fighting games. If you can get past the glaring flaws and find fun in beating up your friend instead of unlocking new weapons, you’ll still have fun. The soul may not burn profusely but it will still burn regardless.
Score: Try It