As a stellar franchise that gets better with every new installment, there certainly a lot to expect from Soul Calibur V. The gratuitous weapons-based combat of the series is as solid as ever, and in this new entry it feels even better than before. While the story doesn’t do the game any favors, the tale of the legendary righteous sword Soul Calibur and the evil blade Soul Edge continues, with some new characters being introduced. Set almost 17 years after the conclusion of Soul Calibur IV, this new installment focuses on a new protagonist Patroklos and his sister Pyrrha, the children of the series’ veteran Sophitia. New Characters include Taki’s disciple Natsu, the fortune taller Viola, the mysterious Z.W.E.I, a new staff-wielder named Xiba, and the spiritual being known as Elysium. In addition, fans will appreciate the cameo appearance of Ezio Auditore from the Assassin’s Creed games, who appears as a guest character with his entire arsenal of tricky weapons. The gameplay here feels more complete than it ever has, with combat feeling faster and much more responsive this time around. While button mashing can be a very beneficial strategy, the game encourages you to learn moves and apply your standard tricks at perfectly opportune movements. The introduction of a new super bar counters and special moves called Brave Edges. These super moves may not be as dramatic as the Ultra Combos from Street Fighters IV or X-Factor from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but they do provide a great deal of visual payoff and help in leveling the playing field from time to time.
Playing the game solo will keep players occupied for a while, but the real emphasis and overall fun lies in the brilliant online multiplayer mode. The netcode seems to be better than most fighting games, and issues regarding lag aren’t as troublesome. Playing online provides you with the plenty of opportunity to level up your profile and unlock new goodies. There’s also a system in place for viewing matches, downloading replays and generally interacting with other players. The other major aspect of the game is the expensive character creation mode which lets you tailor your own character to a great degree. While you will have to make with one of the default fighting styles, the customization options here are awesome, allowing you to change features of individual body parts, add cosmetic changes and tailor animations to your liking. Overall, Soul Calibur V can be considered a steady refinement of the franchise instead of a dramatic reinvention. Superb features such as the addictive online play and deep character customization mode give it a redeeming quality, and the tweaked and refined gameplay will make sure that this is game that you’ll definitely enjoy playing.