|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 20, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
October 2, 2007 - With the first spin off of its kind, SoulCalibur makes the leap from a fighting series to an action game, with a full single player storyline as well as two-player cooperative and competitive settings. For a series more than a decade old, this is the first time SoulCalibur has taken this direction, and only time will tell how Namco succeeds.
One thing Namco has made sure to do is include a large number of players from previous SoulCalibur installments to play as. And while Namco Bandai aren't saying exactly how many characters Legends will include, they are saying there will be quite a few from SoulCalibur old and new. So far, however, they have confirmed the inclusion of Siegfried, Taki, Mitsurugi, and Ivy.
When beginning a new game, the player will choose two characters to act as a team. While playing, you will have the ability to switch between them as you wish to save a 16th century empire from destruction. Namco hasn't revealed if the story mode will change or remain the same depending on which character team you choose or if there will be different story scenes for different characters. Each character comes with special attacks that can be unleashed on hundreds of enemies and bosses you will encounter and be forced to defeat on your journey.
With the camera behind your character, you are given room to see enemies who may approach you from behind or from the side. At any given time, there could be dozens of enemy soldiers you will have to fight off as you travel throughout SoulCalibur's worlds and maze-like dungeons. Traveling through levels will have the player performing certain tasks as he faces a number of obstacles. One example of this can be found throughout the game as you find your path blocked by walls of fire. In order to pass, you will have to perfect a sword move that blows wind to extinguish the flame.
You control your character with the analog stick on the Nunchuk. By waving the Nunchuck in any direction, you can make your character quickly dash in that direction to avoid attacks. Holding the lower button on the Nunchuk blocks an attack, while holding the upper button charges an attack that is executed by the Wii-mote. Hitting both buttons together switches between your two chosen characters. The A button on the mote allows you to target enemies; switch between them and lock on. The B trigger makes your character jump and, by swinging the remote in mid-jump, allows you to perform airborne attacks. As you swing the Wii-mote like a sword, the character reacts on-screen as you slashing it upward, downwards and side-to-side. How Namco perfects the motion controls will probably become the most important factor in determining how good game will actually turn out.
Where some Wii motion-based games have a slight delay from the real-life to on-screen action, Namco have been working on making the translation from how you move the controls fluid with what happens on-screen. Sometimes flicking the Wii-mote too fast in other games can trigger random effects on-screen. To help avoid the same problem with Legends and to help players define their sword-slashing, Namco have included different control options that will allow the user to change the sensitivity of the motion sensor. This will help different players who have different ways of moving the mote. It seems that this, as well as other Wii games, react best to slower, smoother motions to perform specific attacks.
Single player utilizes the full 60 frames per second rate, while the multiplayer split-screen mode is cut to 30 frames per second but still looks pretty smooth. Visually, SoulCalibur Legends looks equally pleasing as other SoulCalibur games, as Namco is sure not to disappoint diehard fans of the series who would expect no less. In-game textures are very detailed, based on what the trailer allows you to see, with nice lighting effects and characters moving in fluid motions, no matter how quickly they are moving.
With details still fairly vague, SoulCalibur fans who own a Wii can expect something completely new and exclusive that promises to give the franchise a whole new experience. This November will determine how fans react to the new series.
CCC Freelance Writer