Soul Calibur 5 First Look Preview -- A Faster, Lighter FighterBy Adam Rosenberg - Posted Jul 13, 2011
Before we get started, let's be clear about one important fact: this is really early for Soul Calibur V. The next entry in Project Soul's long-running weapon-based fighting game series won't be out until sometime in 2012 and none of the elements have really reached their final stage of completion. What matters, though, is the fighting. I sadly didn't get to go hands-on at the recent Namco Bandai Games-hosted demo of SC5 in New York City, but the core mechanics are certainly there and working, just as they always have.
Well... maybe not exactly as always. Project Soul's aim for this sequel was to deliver an experience that is "lighter, faster and more responsive." It seems like that sought-after goal is being realized based on what was shown, but only hands-on time will tell the full story.
Even in the hands-off demo, it ought to be apparent to longtime fans that things are moving a little faster. Of the four confirmed playable fighters revealed so far, two of them -- Siegfried and Mitsurugi -- return from previous games. The blonde-haired knight Siegfried in particular has always been on the slower side of Soul Calibur's roster, but even he zipped around the screen and swung his mighty sword with seemingly newfound pep.
To look at the screen and see this early demo of SC5 in action, you could be forgiven for thinking it's a clip from Soulcalibur IV, released in 2008. The Namco rep manning the demo talks about newly added real-time lighting and shadows, but unless you're still playing SC4 every day, you'd be hard-pressed to immediately pick up on the visual difference. Which is fine; SC4 was no slouch, visually or otherwise.
There's more that's new as well, such as the confirmed pair of sibling combatants, who also happen to be the offspring of the sword-and-shield-wielding Sophitia. Her son Patroklos (with a "k") is the game's hero; the story, set 17 years after the events of SC4, follows both him and his sister, Pyrrha.
The two don't know initially that they are related, which seems strange. You'd think the fact that they both use their mother's weapons of choice would give something away. Imagine how quickly we could have figured things out if Luke and Leia both carried emerald-bladed lightsabers.
Also new is a meter that sits alongside your health bar, filling up as you both deliver and receive attacks. The meter can be filled up to two levels which can be spent on Critical Edge attacks, a returning feature from SC4. There are also Brave Edge attacks, requiring a completely full meter to use, which the Namco rep compared to EX moves. I watched Patroklus perform a Brave Edge against Mitsurugi, delivering an elaborate, special effects-laden multi-hit combo that drained most of the opponent's health away.
Again, it's early days for Soulcalibur V. There's still a lot to learn about the game's various modes, its roster of fighters (two more of which will be revealed next week at San Diego Comic-Con) and its online play. There's also the question of cameos to discuss; with selections like Kratos, Zelda's Link and Darth freaking Vader all in the past, it's getting harder to find potential melee-oriented fighters that measure up.
Then again, this is Project Soul, the same team that chose Kratos, Link and Vader in the first place. It seems we have plenty more reveals to look forward to in the coming months as the team works to bring our next Soulcalibur adventure together.