The wicked Soul Edge survived its fated
encounter with the wielder of Soul Calibur, Xianghua, and restored its control
over the body of Siegfried Schtauffen, turning him back into the Azure Knight
Nightmare. Four years later, Nightmare was about to restore Soul Edge, when
suddenly a man named Raphael who wielded a thin rapier appeared, intending on
taking Soul Edge. Nightmare defeated the attacker, but was distracted by
Siegfried's latent will trying to restore his body. Using the distraction,
Raphael pierced Soul Edge's eye, giving Siegfried the edge he needed to break
free from Soul Edge's control once again.
After waking up, Siegfried found
the holy sword, free from its entrapment within the wicked sword, and out of
instinct used it to pierce Soul Edge. The result led to both swords sealed
together in a fateful embrace, an Embrace of Souls. Siegfried took both
weapons and started a quest to find a definitive way of sealing Soul Edge, but
memories of his slaughters, plus the attacks of those resentful of the Azure
Knight, drove his mind towards insanity. Unbeknownst to him, the evil soul of
the blade escaped and obtained a temporary shell, starting a new killing spree
to strengthen himself while seeking its body, Soul Edge. What
neither of the two warriors knows is that a man behind the scenes is controlling
their steps, searching to end an everlasting curse. And that many other warriors
ventured in search of the blade as well.
Nightmare and Siegfried
are once again two separate characters... or are they.
Calibur series has remained among the most elite 3D fighting franchises for
quite a few years now. Following in it's predecessors footsteps,
Soul Calibur 3 is another solid fighting game experience, although a
lot has changed in terms of gameplay. According to many players, Soul Calibur 2
had a near perfect gameplay system, so SC3 had some very big shoes to
changing something that isn't actually "broken" is always risky.
3 is the first of the series to be released on home consoles first,
then released for the arcade. Considering the technology available at the time, this ended up being a
big mistake on Namco's part,
as high level players quickly found certain glitches and balance issues which
couldn't be remedied or patched on the dated PS2. These bugs were later fixed in
Calibur 3: Arcade Edition, making the home version irrelevant
(for some players) after the updated arcade version released. However, and as you'd
expect, the home version included plenty of cool extras and new modes, notably the
new Create-a-character and Chronicles of the Sword mode, making
it a must have fighting game for casual and serious fans alike.
quality sequel, SC3 is packed with awesome looking new stages as well as characters.
The three new characters (Tira, Zasalamel & Setsuka) each have incredibly innovative fighting
styles and look equally as cool,
which proves that Namco hasn't lost their fire. Besides
the 3 new faces, you'll come
across many new fighting styles within "The Chronicle of the Sword" mode,
which allows your created character to star in a "strategy-ish" battle
game. It's actually a pretty fun mode because you get to create your own clan
of warriors and even completely alter their appearance to your liking as you
play through it. The
story isn't that deep however; it's pretty much battle after battle,
but your characters "level up" as you win fights and along with
becoming more powerful, they even gain
the ability to learn new weapon styles, including several of the classic styles of the
Soul Calibur veterans.
fighting style is brilliantly done.
of Souls" story mode is better than ever, now giving the player an option
to change his/her path, which will allow them to face off against different
fighters each time. "Quick-time" events also make for cool interaction
with the story, although, many of them are the same for every
Sure there's a lot of text as well within story mode, but at least
each character has a real ending this time around (using the in-game graphics), not to mention cool alternate endings! I'm sure some people
would have appreciated endings based on the amazing game intro graphics,
but Namco still gives an entertaining presentation from beginning to
end of each character's story.
SC3's visuals are impressive overall, pushing the PS2 to it's graphical
limitations. On that note, to get the
absolute best out of the PS2's graphics, an HDTV actually isn't the first choice. In my opinion,
Soul Calibur 3 will look it's absolute best on a quality flat-screen SD
using component cables! Most HDTV's
will stretch the picture, and even in "wide screen mode" (selectable from SC3's options
menu), the game will look much more pixilated and blurry on
an HD screen. Although it
will look better on an HDTV if you're using
a PS3 with "upscaling" and "PS2 Smoothing" turned on. In any case, give
your PS2's graphics a fair chance and hook it up the right way before
judging how the game looks.
Overall, the clothing, lighting, and hit effects all have been significantly
improved. Each of the stages also sport their own unique "eye candy," especially
for a last-gen
The stage designs of SC3 are some of the best of the series, all of which graphically impressive
in some way and brilliantly designed. And props to Namco for bringing back
some of the classic backdrops from SC and SC2, complete with updated visuals and even
remixed BGMs of the original themes.... On that note, I read in a
seemingly "professional" review that SC3 "re-used" old themes from
previous games, which is flat-out wrong.
Some people are tone deaf.
If epic underboob is your
thing... Tira is your girl.
Now that we got the cosmetic stuff out of the
way, it's time to talk about the more important aspects of the game; the
gameplay... and this is where the tone of my review will take a sharp turn
(you've been warned). Firstly, the "character
control" in SC3, along with the characters
themselves, feel almost completely different from SC2's, which isn't a very
good thing considering the prequel was so solid and so damn fun.
all the returning characters have updated movelists, but this time around there
are a significant amount of different "commands" for classic maneuvers... which means us veterans
have to basically re-learn the characters. Unfortunately, this immediately gives would-be players of all
levels an excuse why they don't want to play SC3 (or why they suck)....
No, not a good thing. On top of that, many moves, stances, and cancels from SC2 are completely
*sigh* The good news is, all returning characters have some pretty cool looking
moves, new stances, and overall; more well rounded and "streamlined"
The move commands are more "spread out" this time around, making many characters somewhat
easier to use for beginners (button mashers). Yep, SC3 is slightly
button-masher friendly than SC2. Certain characters like Taki and Nightmare
have been given some RIDICULOUSLY powerful moves, causing "explosions"
and such.... When those two are fighting, it almost seems like this game should
be called Battle
Arena Toshinden-Calibur 3!!!
On that note, many of the create-a-character fighting styles are also a bit off-the-wall,
silly, and unrealistic... Namco Bandai definitely seems like they aren't going
for a "serious" tone in this game (in contrast to the badass intro). For example,
several create-a-character fighting styles feature "projectiles" like bombs
& lightning bolts, disappearing, teleporting
and even Sun Wukong Monkey King extendable/growing bo staffs? WTF!!! This is Soul
Calibur! Did someone forget?
Create your own Soul
Calibur combatant and take him or her through Story Mode!
Onto some more positive aspects.... The computer AI has
improved very much from SC2 and puts up a good fight. It even walks away
from edges to avoid a ring out... nice! If there's
one really good thing about SC3, it's the VS mode. You can choose from
2 different costumes per character, plus 2 color edits. Player 1 can also
select the same costume as player 2, with different colors, if both players
pick the same character... something we didn't see in the earlier games (or see in other 3D fighting games for that
matter). After you select your costume,
its time to select your weapon, and thankfully in SC3's VS mode the special weapon
effects have been turned off! Does that matter? Yeah, to people who play
the hell out of Soul Calibur!
It's nice being able to change up the look of
your weapon, like your character. "Random Creation" has also been introduced in the VS mode, which allows
players to have the computer randomly create a character for you, using the
items that you've unlocked. Pretty cool, but more than not the "randomly
created" character ends
up looking far more hilarious than cool...
especially if it creates something like a ninja fighting with tambourines.
The Create-a-Character mode might be the star
of the show in SC3. You can create
up to 10 characters on one memory card... not bad. The amount of detail you can
put into your created characters is the most comprehensive of any
fighting game to date, however there is unfortunately a fair amount of glitching on certain clothing
The fact that you can create you own character
is cool and all, but another brilliant feature is the color-edit mode,
where you can customize the clothing color and hair color of ALL your favorite
Soul Calibur characters... Badass! And with an entire palette of
colors to choose from, there are really unlimited possibilities. Trust
me, it's nice to be able to change the way the game looks when you play
it as much as some of us do.
Namco really went all out.... Every Soul Calibur character you would want is in this game, not to mention
a crap-load of "bonus" characters representing their own fighting style as
well. SC3 is packed with extras, most of which most gamers might not even
notice. There's tons to unlock, and it's a fun process... unless you have
a Gameshark, that is.
As great a
package as Soul Calibur 3 on PS2 is, at the end of the day, the gameplay
just doesn't feel as solid or as fun as SC2. There are also some nasty
glitches found within the gameplay, including "throw cancels" and a
which makes guard impacts nearly pointless to use. Then again, if players don't use
these glitches, the game isn't really broken anymore. In any case, the "Arcade
Edition" of SC3 was released after the console release, a first ever
for a Namco fighting game, and remedied these glitches.
Soul Calibur 3 is fun if you're planning on learning a new character or two...
and that includes relearning your previous mains from Soul Calibur 2.
Yeah, there were waaay more changes to characters and the gameplay
system than there ever should've been. Of course, there are many cool new moves, combos and strategies to learn; but for those
players who put countless hours into mastering any number of SC2
characters... Soul Calibur 3 will most definitely left them
disappointed in more ways than one.
....Especially if you're an Ivy, Taki, Nightmare, or Mitsurugi player;
(to name a few characters). Why
change how Ryu performs a Hadoken (like all of a sudden making it a backwards
fireball motion)? Well,
then why change the way Ivy fights all together? Most of her
cool stances which became second nature for any SC2 Ivy player (spiral serenade for
example), are completely gone, out the window....
No doubt depressing to anyone who spent hours upon hours, upon hours
learning her in the first game. *raises hand*
I can understand
why Namco was trying to balance things
out and keep things fresh, but a lot of characters ended up feeling dumbed
down... not all characters, but quite a few. I can understand changing up
priorities and damage levels; but why make my favorite character less dynamic? Why take
out cancels and move transitions that weren't even overpowered
or cheap in the first place? Jet3000
and I were (and still are) serious SC2 players. We've been to a handful
of tournaments; and we've discussed all the drastic differences between
SC2 and SC3. That said, he and I
prefer Soul Calibur 2 to Soul Calibur 3
any day of the week.
At the end of the day, while SC3 might not be as fun or as deep as SC2, when compared to other 3D fighting games, it's still a quality
fighting game by all means. As far as weapon-based 3D fighting goes, Soul
Calibur is still the cream of the crop. I "overrated" Soul Calibur 3
when it first came out, simply because I was so excited to play a new Soul
Calibur game... considering how many hours I put into the first two. In the long
run I was disappointed in SC3, but SC4 made up for it. ~TFG