Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 13+
Posted: April 13th, 2004
The fighting genre advances from arcade to console remarkably thanks to Soul Calibur 2. Is this a great game, or should
it still only belong in arcades?
Sound

For a fighting game, you'd expect decent sound effects and nothing more right? Yes; that's what you'd expect, but for this
game, expectations are exceeded. There's the regular sword slashing and grunts, but the addition of new weapons and
interesting characters calls for great sound effects. The stage you're in has effects that you may hear like water trickling
down a river or fire burning on the ground. What's amazing is how you can hear the sound effects and still discern
players' voices. The character voices are excellent by the way. Every character sounds different and their voices definitely
bring an atmosphere that you don't feel in a lot of games.
The music is simply amazing. Each song seems to correspond to each country as most of the stages do. The music isn't all
the same type either. There's pirate-like music, Japanese music and just wind instrumental songs. I don't think I've even
heard one of the songs completely because the songs are long and interesting. Another good thing is that they are fast and
upbeat and usually not slow and boring. The choices of music and where it was put are great and you will probably be
humming quite a few after you've turned the game off.
The sound effects blend well together, and the Dolby Pro Logic 2 is awesome. This is always a big plus, and although Soul
Calibur 2 didn't need it, it just makes a better listening experience for our ears. You won't be disappointed with the sound.
Control

The controls are integrated into the Nintendo Gamecube in a certain way that corresponds with an attack. A is A, but B is
Y and K is X. G is L or R, and finally, A, B and X (or just Z) is a power-charging attack. But what does this all mean. A is
Horizontal, B is Vertical and controlled by the Y button. G is guard, with L, R or B. That's pretty much it. You'd think this
is pretty lame right? Well no, because the style of fighting commands is similar to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. You
combine these buttons with other buttons and the way you tilt the Control Stick (Control Pad works too) to create
powerful attacks.
This system is so amazing because there's not too many buttons to remember, allowing beginners to pick it up, but tons of
combinations to give experts different tastes in attacks. You can combine punches with kicks, slashes with bashes, you
name it. You'd be amazed at some of the things you can do. They are all really neat to see but sometimes hard to master.
You can always get better with this because there's always something new you can try to do.
The menus are fast and get you where you want. The load times are exceptionally fast, and are noticeably faster than
other consoles' versions of this. You can start battling almost immediately after you challenge somebody. It's easy to get
around in Weapon Master, and if you're smart enough, you'll find that the Shops vary between worlds. The game
automatically saves data periodically to prevent data loss and you can always save whenever you want through the Start
menu. This game has very ideal control that other games like this should have.
Graphics

I though that a rendition of an arcade game cannot sport great graphics. I
couldn't be more wrong. In fact, not just for the fighting genre, but this
game has some of the best graphics I have ever seen. It's the battle
animations (which include cool light effects and colors), the character
models (very high-polygon and interact with the background lighting
effects dynamically) and the high-resolution that sport this game.
Everything looks dazzling because it's presented so nicely thanks to the
GCN. If you have Progressive Scan, it's then even more worth drooling
over. And did I mention the fast framerate? I've never seen a slowdown or
lag because of it. I don't think that the battle animations are as great as
some reviewers have said, but I think they are still worth seeing. This
powerful game got the best treatment around, and I may still rate Star Fox
Adventures graphics higher, but besides Star Wars: Rebel Strike: Rogue
Squadron 3, this has my regards for this year.
Replay

There are tons of modes in this game. There's Arcade, Time Attack, Survival and more. These can be played by any
character and you can then unlock their profile. The profile explains the character and their 'trademark' stage. If you
really want to start unlocking things, play the one-player Weapon Master. If you complete the cool challenges (explained
in Design), then you may unlock a new game feature, character or weapon. The weapons can be used in Weapon Master or
the Extra modes. The extra modes include Arcade, Time Attack and Survival, but allow you to choose your weapon!
There are plenty of characters, and chances are that there's one suiting you. Each character has two or three costumes,
although one has to be bought through Weapon Master (or won). A lot of stuff can be bought, mainly the weapons, and
unless you use them, they won't be worth your money. The good stuff to buy is the artwork, weapon demonstrations and
illustrations. This stuff can be found in the Museum and shows you that this game allows players to really get to know the
characters they use, kind of like SSBM and its trophies.
The multiplayer is great too, and can be played with different rules like Arcade and other modes. There are even new
stages you can unlock. All unlocked items and costumes can be used (unlocked items can be used in Extra modes). The
costumes are better than Super Smash Bros. Melee sporting mere color changes. These really change how the characters
look, and there will usually be one that you'll find more interesting to play with. Overall, this game gives you lots to do,
and will keep you playing for plenty of time. And if you beat Weapon Master, you can play it again with some different
features. Now that's cool.
Design

For veterans of Super Smash Brothers Melee, a lot of this seems familiar. The character profiles are like the trophy
information. However, I feel Soul Calibur 2 gives you more info on what we want to know and definitely more info overall.
It even describes the stages! There's definitely a lot of voice acting making everything come alive well, and there's lots of
ways to play. The Arcade modes or the Weapon Master mode both amuse and excite.
The Weapon Master is very interesting. They add storyline and plot making each level feel different, even though you will
see some repeats. The storyline is the search for the Soul Edge. What I like about it is that you can anytime switch the
character and/or costume and play as somebody else, so you aren't stuck with the same character for the whole game.
Each level requires a different strategy because it has different conditions that need to be met to complete it. Some are
easy and short, but as you progress, it will become more difficult. Losing battles won't get you far, but winning will earn
you gold and Exp. Experience doesn't get you much, but gold is essential for buying better weapons and possibly for buying
better costumes or features to improve the rest of the game.
The design for battles doesn't let four people join. Instead, you must fight one at a time. This is good in the sense that it
doesn't cause framerate problems, but bad because one on one might get boring for some. At least there's multiplayer.
Anyway, this style doesn't use any platforms, whereas SSBM has tons, making battles harder. Of course this way, battles
are more intense because you cannot just run and hide. This also allows for players to kind of spin the camera so you can
see the entire stage, making it seem more 3D and realistic. You can KO or make you opponent fall out.
Battles are accompanied by character voices adding an extra touch of personality. Voices are also constant, kind of acting
as commentary. The system also allows for great attacks from players because this seems more combative. Battles rage on
always, and nobody's sitting and hiding. It's more serious than comedic this way. This definitely appeals to plenty of
people, and if you can handle the intense violence, which is a property of fighting games, you can enjoy this game
thoroughly. This is one of the best GCN games out! And did I mention Link?
Scores
Sound

9.2
Control

9.0
Graphics

9.8
Replay

8.9
Design

9.3
9.2
Final Words

This is one of the highest rated games, even higher than The Wind Waker. Why? It's original and fits perfectly with its
genre. Its intense, yet stylish and gives you a great feeling of wonder when you see its graphics. I can't believe I even
rated it this high because it seems that this game doesn't deserve to be in the top. But when I thought about it more, it's
okay because this game is truly worthy of the score I gave it. Link also makes this version the obvious choice over the
other consoles and also because of this version having faster load times. And now this game's a Player's Choice title,
meaning a low price.