Namco Bandai Soul Calibur IV
Soul Calibur still burns!
- Truly splendid visuals with plenty of colour, Fast-paced fighting with tight controls
- The same game you've been playing for years, lacklustre online play and boring Story modes
This is a good game, but not a great one. I hope that the next Soul Calibur truly reinvigorates the look, feel, and energy of this majestic series.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Soul Calibur IV is a strong fighter, but its edge is beginning to dull.
Soul Calibur IV hits the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with gorgeous new graphics, more detailed create-a-character options, and the same sword-clashing fights featured in the last four games. Speaking as a moderate fan of the series, I was hoping that Soul Calibur IV would reignite my passion for this well-respected fighter. What I got was more of the same, only prettier and more polished. Soul Calibur IV is undeniably the best version of an already great fighter, but outside of the Star Wars guest characters, there's little here that will surprise and delight newcomers or veterans.
Souls and Swords
In this fighting game, two players clash with exotic medieval weapons. You can win by slashing your opponent to ribbons, or by knocking him out of the ring. The chief difference between Soul Calibur IV and fighters like Tekken 5 is the presence of a Guard button, which you must hold in order to fend off enemy attacks. By tapping away or forward while guarding, you can deflect your enemy's weapon and open them up for a rapid counterattack. During these moments, Soul Calibur IV is at its best: the matches are fast, fierce, and very enjoyable.
Outside of the core fighting experience, though, Soul Calibur IV brings little new to the table. Single-player types can play the new Tower of Lost Souls mode, which is a welcome way to extend the life of the single-player game. In this mode, you fight a series of increasingly difficult opponents as you climb the tower, unlocking gold (spent on character customisations) and new items as you progress. Character creation is another high point: you can imbue your fighters with magical garments, or create a completely original character using colour selection tools and a huge number of outfit options. Online, I encountered a player who had customised his fighter to look like The Joker from The Dark Knight. And YouTube videos are already demonstrating fan-made Supermen, Solid Snakes, and Links.
Win Some, Lose Some
Other additions don't fare as well, particularly Soul Calibur IV's disappointing new online play. You'll find a smattering of online versus modes, but the interface and features are miles behind even Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online, a mere downloadable game. It's a surprisingly barebones implementation, but I'm hopeful that Namco Bandai will enhance this no-frills matchmaking with future game updates.
Visually, the game is just spectacular. From the fluid fighting styles to the kaleidoscopic arenas, Soul Calibur IV is one of the most lavish-looking games on either the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3. Speaking of which, there aren't many differences between the two versions, though the PS3 version looks a bit crisper and benefits from the DualShock 3's superior directional pad.
While writing this article, I looked back on my Soul Calibur III review and was alarmed by the similarities in both write-ups. This line grabbed me: "Namco can't continue to pile on more moves, game modes, and graphical enhancements; at some point, something's gotta give."
I'm sorry to report that Soul Calibur IV is inching dangerously close to that point of "something's gotta give." It's fundamentally the same game as Soul Calibur III, only with more fighters, an online mode, and more create-a-character customisations. It's remarkably well produced and visually sumptuous, but its appeal remains limited to hardcore fighting veterans and casual button-mashers.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Watch us play Vanquish on PC
- Tannenberg expands Verdun's World War I horrors to the Eastern front
- MSI Wins Computex Best Choice Award 2017 for a Record-Breaking 5 Products
- Destiny 2: The 5 key things PC gamers need to know
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer (Mid level) - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCIdentity Access Management - Business AnalystVIC
- FTProcurement OfficerACT
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior Marketing Manager | Global Technology CompanyNSW
- CCData Migration Lead | Recruitment Focus | DocklandsVIC
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- CCReporting System Specialist - Port MacquarieNSW
- FTBI and Report DeveloperQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSenior DBANSW
- TPSenior Java Developer - Contract till June 2018QLD
- FTSenior Front End Developer - BRISBANENSW
- CCPega DeveloperQLD
- FTScrum MasterNSW
- FTDigital Solution ArchitectNSW
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW
- TPSenior Developer - API - Data ReportingNSW
- FTImplementation Engineer - NetApp DATA ONTAPWA
- CCPega DeveloperACT
- FTOperations Manager - NV1 Cleared - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTPeopleSoft Campus Solution ConsultantNSW
- FTSecurity AnalystQLD