Platform(s): Playstation 2. Genre: Fighting. Developer: Namco. Release date: 2005.
The sequel to Soulcalibur 2 is an enhanced return to the world of souls and swords with several new modes, characters and better graphics. The same great gameplay has been improved, battles are more intense and it is the first Soulcalibur that allows players to create their own character.
The usual cast of characters make a return to the series along with new faces Zasalamel, Setsuka, Tira, Olcadan and Abyss. Badly missed fan favourites, Li Long and Hwang, also return, albeit as minor characters, along with Amy.
Soulcalibur 3, like most fighting games, shines best in its Versus mode – against other players – but modes such as Soul Arena, which contains several different challenges to complete on various levels of difficulty, Survival, World Competition and Quick Play, which is the standard arcade mode, make single-player activities enjoyable. The game also has a rich music score and voice acting.
The graphics are some of the best on Playstation 2, and in consistent Soulcalibur fashion this is best displayed in the background of the arenas, which are packed with details that players can easily spend plenty of time doing nothing but looking at.
Despite the wealth of detail in Soulcalibur 3, the game is brought down by the tedious Chronicles of the Sword mode. This mode is made even worse due it having the potential to corrupt your saved data, including all modes outside Chronicles of the Sword, meaning you have to start the game from scratch if you haven’t backed up the file on another memory card when the glitch hits. Tales of Souls, which unveils the game’s story, also feels slow and isn’t helped by stiff cut scenes. The fact you have to replay this mode with each character again and again to unlock certain features is frustrating, but these issues aren’t enough to bring Soulcalibur 3 down entirely.
The game possesses an immense amount of unlockables and extras. There are several pices of artwork to be unlocked, weapons to purchase, cut scenes to discover and an endless amount of customisations that can be made in the Create-A-Soul mode. Character profiles and exhibitions can also be unlocked. All of this adds depth and time to the single-player experience in addition to the already excellent one-on-one fighting. In turn, this makes Soulcalibur 3 one of the most memorable fighters on the Playstation 2 and in recent memory.
- Reasons to play: a superb fighting game with a large amount of content that provides a challenge whether playing with a friend or alone. It looks great and is still a unique, weapon-based fighter with a creative selection of characters.
- Reasons not to: repetitive story modes and the game carries a horrific glitch.
- Length and replay value: the wealth of unlockables will keep most players busy for months and the Versus mode is lasting fun.
- Where to get: physical and electronic retailers.
- Favourite quote: “Transcending history and the world, a tale of swords and souls eternally retold.”
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