By Damian Cavanagh
Last year, we began to see many games from previous consoles re-released in High Definition, sometimes even with one or two hits from the same franchise on the one disc. Right at the same time as two next-gen consoles were released to the public, Namco Bandai brought Soul Calibur II back with an HD makeover, available only online.
This HD remake certainly has done Soul Calibur II a real favour. For a ten year old game, it now looks visually impressive; that said, of course it's not a front runner by today’s standards. There is greater detail and smoother lines in the characters and their over-the-top weaponry and costumes. Of course the ‘jiggle-physics’ are overly present and unavoidable, but one shouldn’t really expect anything less; it's a Soul Calibur staple.
I am honestly not sure what the translation of ‘Online’ in the games title was alluding to: either it’s availability to purchase online, or the ability to compete in matches online. I attempted several times to challenge random people online but never found a single game. Offering only two modes, ranked and free match, this seems to be a bit thin compared to other fighters that have the ability to take it online.
Weapons Master mode would be where at least fifty percent of single player gaming will take place, offering the ability to earn upgrades and content. Other standard menu offerings are available with the Museum showing all your achievements and unlocks. Earning content is a great difference from the micro-transactions found in today’s games.
As with most fighters, button mashing does work, but of course working out a combo is always the best method of attack. That being said, the controls need a little fine tuning, as they don’t seem react as precisely as the could.
The voice acting and script has, nor ever will be, the focus of any fighter and who plays fighters for the story, right? The narrator comes out with classic lines that seem to be missing a few words that complete the sentence and make it comprehendible. Characters will leave you confused with their script, both pre and post-match, but that just adds to the charm and memories of what Soul Calibur was. It’s hilarious to hear someone say “I’ve had enough of you!” only to have their opponent ask “Haven’t you had enough?” Umm… yes?
I really shouldn’t complain about elements of the game that that weren’t due for an overhaul, like the controls and script, but a spit polish doesn’t turn a zircon into a diamond. Unless you desperately want both comic book star Spawn and Heihachi in the same game, there really isn’t a reason to pay the price for Soul Calibur II HD Online other than the convenience of not having to get off the couch to put the disc in the tray. If you take a look at eBay, you can get most of the Soul Calibur series close to the price of what you will pay for Soul Calibur II HD Online. Basically, if you’re not the nostalgic type, then you probably won’t bother.