Video Game Review: Soul Calibur IV

Right, Soul Calibur IV, or How I Am Putting Off Reviewing Soul Calibur V Until It Arrives.

I’ll come clean with you: I don’t really get the appeal of purely fighting games. I fully get the appeal of the fighting aspect, which is why I play and enjoy games where you beat up on things. But a game where there is nothing beyond whacking things over the head with extremely blunt swords? I don’t really get the mass appeal.

Enough about me, let’s get on to that reviewing stuff.

Plot: The game doesn’t really have a main plot besides there being two swords, one good and one evil, and some characters want to do various things with one or both of the swords. When you choose a character, you get a scrolling text thing that explains the back story and was taken right from the How Not To Tell A Story book. What you do is hit either the speed up key, as the text scrolls so slow even a corpse would say it needs to move faster, or just hit the skip key. Then you fight through 5 stages with varying numbers of opponents, then you defeat the big bad or good or whatever in the fifth stage, then the character does whatever retarded thing they wanted with the swords.

The combat is supposed to revolve around hitting people with swords that are quite blunt, and frequently are obscenely large. Apparently, the characters want the two swords that they tower guy has because they are the biggest and bluntest in the land. Apparently, these sword fighters all went to Nerf for their swords, instead of, oh say, a sword maker. This easily explains why you ramming a sword through a guy’s body will only take away a little of his health bar, until he is knocked out.

Naturally, that makes a lot of sense in the last battle: Let’s have this ring, and we will fight fairly until one of us is knocked out or until someone gets knocked off the edge of the ring. None of that ‘to the death’ stuff.

The story of the game is actually really complex, to the point you need a flowchart to understand it. And by need a flowchart, I am not using any hyperbole, I mean the game actually provides you a flowchart of the story so you can try to comprehend it.

Right, there are two types of characters to choose from: you can choose a male character, who all seem to have steroid abuse problems and are what a 14 year old boy would think is manly. The alternative is choosing one of the highly sexualized female characters who run around in swimsuits or less.

There are examples to the above for both. Personally, I don’t want to go into the sexism inherent in this game, mainly because I would start nitpicking way more than the game deserves, and because other people can find all the sexist bits way better than I care to.

Don’t expect photos of the characters, there are too many, and some you already know. I’ll give a little backlog that I can think of when I care, having played through every character.

Amy: a woman who wears a tiny dress and a rapier sword

Astaroth: A giant guy with a huge axe

Cassandra Alexandra: sword and shield, wears skimpy clothing and stockings. Also, I couldn’t make that name up

Cervates de Leon: A pirate looking guy who uses a pistol sword, which as weapons go, is the worst idea ever tried

Ivy (Isabella Valentine): Ivy is an excuse to see how big breasts can go and how small clothing can go

Kilik: Dresses like a crazy nobleman and uses a staff to hit things

Lizardman: A giant lizard who uses a shield and axe

Maxi: looks like a retarded steroid using Elvis impersonator

Mitsurugi: a steroid happy guy with a huge katana

Nightmare: a giant suit of armor with the evil sword, which is about as big as him

Raphael: some generic nobleman with a rapier

Rock: a guy with an animal skin loincloth and wields a giant club

Seong Mi-na: another woman who wear a skimpy version or historical clothing. She uses a naginata

Setsuka: uses a swrod hidden inside an umbrella. also, her clothing seems to be glued on, as there is no way it just hangs there like that

Siegfried: The guy in ice (!) armor using the good sword, which is made of ice. I have no information about him being as Cold as Ice or not

Sophitia: Sword and shield, gauzy clothing. wears less than Cassandra and has larger breasts. Otherwise, the two are interchangeable.

Taki: A woman with a short ninja like sword. Her body paint clothing seem to do the opposite of what a ninja would want (and that is have people NOT pay attention to them.)

Talim: There is no way that is legal. There is no way she is legal. I can’t get arrested for this right? It’s a publicly available game and legal in this country, or so I thought. There is no way she is older than 15, tops.

Tira: A crazy woman who uses a giant ring as a weapon. It’s called a ring blade. By this point, I think saying things about the clothing is pointless.

Voldo: a guy who seems dressed in fetish/bondage gear and stabs people with katar-like things. also, he seems mute, which is good.

Xianghua: uses a Chinese-esque sword. as in, the sword you see tai chi practitioners using.

Yoshimitsu: Is he dead? He looks like an enbalmed corpse. He also uses a sword that looks like a katana.

Yun-seong: Is he supposed to be an arabian style character? he is also using an arabian style slashing sword, looks a bit like a scimitar

Zasalamel: A giant black guy with arabian style clothing and a giant scythe in the agricultural style, also known as a weapon that is essentially impossible to use (it combines poor balance and control with bad handgrips and a cutting edge facing an undesirable direction and a blade angled for cutting things low down, like grass.)

Algol: the weird guy who uses the good and evil sword, despite the swords being possessions of two other characters. Perhaps they have a time share on the swords.

Angol Fear: an alien woman with what looks like a meteor on a stick

Ashlotte: a robot woman with a giant spear (that she falls down when she twirls it in her cutscene. And then the camera gives you an upskirt.)

Darth Vader (ps3): this must be why people bought it. also, his weapon is as useless as every other weapon. A transparent attempt to combine two fanbases into one giant pile of money for the developers.

Hilde(gard) von Krone: A woman in full, non-revealing armor who uses a sword and spear

Kamikirimusi: an oni girl with bright red hair and a REALLY large club thing

Scheherazade: an elf girl with a sword

Shura: a woman with several Japanese style swords

Yoda: bonus character for xbox 360, see Darth Vader (above). Also, he is really badly balanced, being under the level of nearly all attacks from other characters, while he can easily attack them.

Before I discuss playing the game, I’ll talk a bit about my favorite characters, as well as some that I think I should talk a little bit about. My personal favorite characters are: Hilde, Lizardman, and Shura.

Hilde is a really good character: she isn’t sexualized to the extent of the rest of the female characters, she wears full plate armor with no reveals or cutouts. There are no massive breasts on her, nor cleavage spilling out of her shirt. As afar as characters go, she is fairly easy to use in combat, and her story seems to be something involving her honor. A female knight, with modern chivalry, if you will. I can approve of that.

Lizardman, meanwhile, is also simple to sue in combat, and his story involves him trying to get back his human soul, but he is also the leader of a tribe of lizard-men that walk on two legs and use weapons. Excessive muscles here are acceptable, as animals usually have some impressive strength. If you would like to challenge that, go wrestle a bear. You won’t win.

Shura is everything that people say Ivy is. Yes, she wears very little, but this character is a pure reward of skill and timing. Throws are next to useless, only taking off very little health from your opponent, so weapons and dodging/blocking is the only way to win a match. She is all about timing dodging blocking, and attacking.

Not a favorite, but I want to talk about Ivy. She is the poster girl for the game, wearing almost nothing, yet supposedly the hardest character to use, with great victories [promised if you can manage to sue the combos she relies on to be powerful. And, personally, I wouldn’t complain about skimpy clothing and large breasts on the powerful characters. I find that using a powerful character that looks like that will get you scorn for only thinking with your genitals, but then being able to use the character and defeat them, well, that is quite the unexpected defeat on their part. Nobody expects the person playing the female character that wears nothing to be GOOD at the game, which is why a character like that can be useful. The problem with Ivy is, unlike Shura, you don’t need combos and timing to win with Ivy. Just hit the throw button a few times, and victory is likely.

Right, the gameplay. You have two choices: you can mash random buttons or mash the buttons with an idea of what you want to do, such as block, kick, or attack. What the manual should have done is just shown an arrow pointing to the throw button. You will almost never need another button beyond the throw. Just push it enough times, and you will win the story mode.

This may have been a result of playing on normal,but it was just as easy on herd. There were very few battles in single player that I could not win by simply swinging my opponent around like some drunken dancers. Yup, the few that I couldn’t win by throwing were the battles in the playthrough of Shura. Every other character? Drunken dancing. The throw button is a bit like a win button that you just need to press several times.

There is online multiplayer and 2 player on the same console multiplayer, buy those only serve to see if you can mash buttons faster that the other person, or if the other person has no social life and memorizes all the combos.

You can also create custom characters, but as you must use an established fighting style, you are really just creating a new appearance for an existing character. It makes sense, as you would rather see yourself punching Satan in the face, instead of a 30+ year old woman in a swimsuit with the voice of someone’s mom.

Score: 2/5 not good

Pros: it’s simple fun. hitting someone on the head in this game, even with the throw key, is simple enough amusement

Cons: that is the only amusement, and it wears off pretty fast.

Verdict: The game is cheap enough that the amusement is worth the price, although I would suggest waiting for a sale from amazon or perhaps a used copy off of ebay.


3 thoughts on “Video Game Review: Soul Calibur IV

  1. I am not sure if this game was reviewed just to fill up a space… but that game has been out since 2007. Isn’t it better to review 5th one instead of 4th?

    I won’t deny that 4th is actually the worst branch of Soul Calibur series, but it was definitely not worth of detailing of how bad it is.

    To be blunt, 5th one was not even great. It was definitely better than 4th one, no questions asked. However the story was just not giving enough impact for new characters.

    Soul Calibur was made for “mash” button games, but it does take up it’s skill. Which is like Tekken. However, both games have downside to have two buttons that take up to bounce attack to hit them up in mid-air.

    The game is cheap as it is, and if you are expecting 5.99 – it’s not going to happen for another year. As a matter of fact, it’s a game that doesn’t give trophies for those who seek for it. I recommend for sale on 5th version and get it.

    Last thing to say, I am not sure – but your game preference seems like you like more of guilty pleasure on how women were designed than actual fighting games. If I am not right, then I suggest you to try out Tekken Tag Tournamen 2 which is coming out this Q2, or grab Street Fighter x Tekken, where real fighting game is.

    • Well, I did not possess the fifth at that time, as I was waiting for it to go on sale.
      I’ll keep those suggestions in mind, but I already have my favorite fighting game, they just will not work on the PS3. Sadly, they are also not making any more Bushido Blade games either.

  2. I bought this game recently because I’m a big fan of the Soul Edge/Soul Calibur series, but after Soul Calibur II, I think the franchise went downhill. The fact that Soul Calibur always upholds an underwhelming good-versus-evil theme makes this series a real let-down. But Soul Calibur IV is pretty cheap now–around $14 at GameStop, used–so if it’s just a fun time you’re looking for, then it’s ok. It’s so boring playing this game by yourself.

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