|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 Amanda Kondolojy
Though relatively young, the SoulCalibur franchise has become a powerhouse in arcade-style fighters. I myself have fond memories of playing both SoulCalibur II and III both solo and with friends and family. It truly became a great series, and earned its place on my shelf between Tekken and Mortal Kombat as one of my all-time favorite arcade-style fighters. Naturally, when I heard about the Wii-exclusive SoulCalibur spin-off, I was both excited and nervous. On the one hand, I knew that the SoulCalibur franchise, with all its past successes, could be a real winner on the Wii console. However, I also was concerned. I mean, turning a button-masher into a Wii-motion sensing game? It sounded a little scary. However, after spending some quality time with the Wii-exclusive SoulCalibur Legends, I am very impressed.
Essentially there are two parts to SoulCalibur Legends, the single player mode and the multiplayer mode. Right when you start up the game, you'll have to choose which mode you'll be playing in. The story mode essentially plays like every other SoulCalibur game. You have a big map, you go places, and you fight battles. But the twist with SoulCalibur Legends is that there are more platforming elements here than in previous SoulCalibur games. For example, instead of running through levels and getting into random battles, you'll also have to figure out the best way to move forward through the cunning use of different switches, while avoiding cleverly-placed booby traps. The whole thing is very reminiscent of the Tomb Raider series, except with a whole lot more baddies. The whole focus on platforming works pretty well in this regard, and it was pretty interesting playing through a SoulCalibur game that was not solely based around the fighting mechanic.
The whole premise of the story mode is also pretty interesting. SoulCalibur Legends deals with how Siegfried became Nightmare. Of course, this has been mentioned in the original SoulCalibur and in SoulCalibur II, but not in any real detail. SoulCalibur Legends takes you back several years before the events of the original SoulCalibur series, and you begin on the fateful night when Siegfried first wields the evil Soul Edge. Soul Edge unleashes a great evil into the world and simultaneously brings about the existence of the pure SoulCalibur. However, the SoulCalibur falls into the hands of the tyrannical sultan of the Ottoman empire. And then the Soul Edge breaks into several pieces shattered throughout the Eurasian continent. Siegfried has no real desire to resurrect the Soul Edge, but is put under pressure by the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who sees both his empire and his people crumbling at an alarming rate. So essentially, Siegfried has to wield an evil sword in order to do good. Pretty interesting stuff, really.
The only problem that you really run into with the story, however, is how it's delivered. Unfortunately, this game offers very few cutscenes and a lot of stoic art with scrolling dialogue. And when something crucial happens, you can bet that you'll be scrolling through some pretty massive dialogue. Unfortunately, this aspect of the game's storytelling really hinders it. When reading, it's apparent that there's some real action going on in the story, but none of this action makes its way onto the screen. Instead we just get what looks like a hand-drawn character on the screen with a surprised look on their face.
Another big hindrance of this game is the graphics. The real issue I take here is that this game essentially looks like SoulCalibur III. Even though this is supposed to be a next-gen game, it looks the same as its last-gen counterparts, which is definitely not a good thing. Of course some will make the "It's a Wii game" argument here, but honestly I have seen much better looking Wii games then this. There is no excuse for a next gen game to look like a last gen game, no matter what system it's running on.