Thursday, 17 January 2013

Soul Blade Review (Playstation)

During 1995 Namco unleashed upon an unsuspecting public the gaming monster that was Soul Blade. Later to become Soul Calibur on Dreamcast. The move into smooth flowing weapon based combat was something fight fanatics had been dreaming of for many a year and now it seemed we would finally get a game to meet expectations. 

Following the quest of ten fighters to find the elusive Soul Blade, the game comes in two main parts. In the arcade mode you follow the normal procedure of beating one opponent after another, until you fight the big bad guy at the end. No prizes here for originality, but even this however is given a nice twist with each character having different endings. One ending showing them  taken over by the evil sword and a second ending where they either leave it or go on to turn it to a good use.

Aside from the arcade aspect, the game offers an ‘Edge master mode’. This has your chosen character searching different lands around the world for sacred weapons. Each character takes their own unique journey around the map with some interlinking at certain sections and others avoiding characters completely. The conditions for victory also changes with each fight. For instance, on one stage you may find your character has been poisoned, while on another you must defeat your opponent before the next ship leaves for the mainland. It proves to be an excellent addition to an already sublime game. 

The combat itself is just about perfect and shows a level of fluidity to equal its Dreamcast sequel. This allows anyone to be able to pick up and get to grips with the basic concept of the game almost straight away. While more experienced players can go on practicing to find numerous combinations of moves to destroy all that stand before them. With the ease of the control system comes the games only real fault - that being you can hammer away at the buttons and you're more or less guaranteed something spectacular will come out of it. However, this is just a minor gripe as once you get to know what you are doing any such shenanigans from other players can be quickly countered and turned to your own advantage. 

Something Soul Blade has over Soul Calibur is the variations of weapons that each character can wield, eight for each character, as opposed to the single weapon characters of the sequel. This allows for much more flexibility in the way that you play. Are you the type of player who hides out waiting for people to make mistakes? Then use a quick weapon. Or do you prefer to wade in all guns blazing? Then use a stronger, slower weapon. A brilliant idea that works flawlessly. 

It feels a little slow now but still holds together well and much better than the early Tekken games. The graphics still look solid, and the introduction is as  jaw droopingly fantastic as it always was. Yes, it has aged but fans wills till find plenty to get excited about.

8/10 

Watch our Soul Blade video review. 

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