Soul Calibur V Review (PS3/360)

February 5, 2012

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Soul Calibur V is the latest installment in Namco’s fighting franchise, taking place 17 years after the events of Soul Calibur IV. Published by Bandai Namco Games and developed by Project Soul, is this installment a simple update or a deep refinement?

Gameplay: 4/5

To get this out of the way, Soul Calibur V isn’t just a simple update to its predecessor. Project Soul listened to the fan feedback and tweaked the gameplay mechanics to near perfection. The fighting remains practically the same as the previous installment but is noticeably faster paced and more accessible than ever before. First off, gone are the “Critical Finish” moves that were introduced in Soul Calibur IV. In place of this are “Critical Edge” moves which are similar to your “Super” or “Ultra” moves from Street Fighter IV. This is a much more intuitive system as it gives players a whole new strategic element to utilize in battle. Your soul gauge will fill up throughout a fight and can store up to two full gauges. Also new to the fighting system are the “Break Edge” moves. These are similar to the “Enhanced” special moves in Mortal Kombat in which it will give extra emphasis to a particular move, causing more damage. Ezio Auditore is the main guest of honor in Soul Calibur V and is easily the best addition of guest rosters since Link for the GameCube version of SC II. His ease of use and agility will easily grab the attention of Assassin’s Creed fans as he utilizes a good amount of his move set from his game.

In terms of modes, Soul Calibur V doesn’t have the deepest set compared to SC 2 and 3 but it’s substantial enough. The modes consist of Story, Arcade, Vs, Quick Play, Training, Online Play, Legendary Souls and Creation. However, what it sacrifices in modes it makes up for in a more balanced fighting system. The game’s main mode is the “Story Mode” which will take you through Patroklos’s journey to find his missing sister. The story is pretty interesting and engaging to want to advance through it’s 20 episodes. Unfortunately, it will only take you roughly two hours to finish. Upon completion of the story mode, you will unlock the “Legendary Souls” mode which the name doesn’t joke about. This mode is vile, ruthless and downright cruel for newcomers to the series but those who’ve mastered the game may have a chance at this. This mode will have you facing the game’s main bosses on an insane difficulty and making the slightest mistake will cost you the battle.

You still have your standard “Arcade” mode (it’s more of a “Time Trial”) which has you taking on six stages. The interesting implementation here is the ability to choose your “route.” You can choose between Standard, Europe, Asia and Extra (unlockable) routes which tailor to which fighters you will take on from the roster that are from those areas. There is also a Ranking route so that you can aim for the fastest time and post it on the leaderboards. The only catch with Arcade mode is that upon completion, don’t expect a character’s ending. While for some it may not be a terrible omission, those looking for character backstories may be upset in this area.

A great feature that Project Soul incorporated into SC V is the Player License (similar to Marvel vs Capcom 3) in which you can choose a title distinguishing yourself and use a photo for your card. To make the license system deeper, you can add up to three rivals to your card to keep stat tracking and compete for better records amongst each other. Also, the more you play, the more Player Points you will earn. Player Points are gathered to increase your Player Level in which you will earn more content as you keep doing so. This will keep players engaged with that “just one more fight” syndrome as you try to level up and earn more unlockables.

The Creation system is the meat and bones of this game (aside from the main fighting system of course). Those familiar with SC IV and Broken Destiny will feel right at home with the creation system. It’s an incredibly robust feature that allows you to create the fighter you’ve always wanted. However, gone is the armor system that was only in SC IV (thankfully) because that feature truly hampered the whole idea of creating whoever you wanted without worrying about their attributes. Whether you try to create your own original character or just give one of the main characters a new look, the options are endless here.

Online play is a delight in this game. SC IV had serious network issues that made it more of a chore to play than it should’ve been. The new network code implemented here truly gives zero lag during matches. Aside from your Ranked and Player Matches, the new “Global Colosseo” lobby puts players in specific locations around the world to match up against each other. You’ll start off by selecting your continent, followed by the closest city to you (i.e. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc). Once selected, your player card will be placed on an abstract map showcasing all the other players in the room. You can choose to move your card around, check other players licenses, voice/text chat or challenge them to a match. It provides for a more social environment that encourages players to keep coming back online.

Sound: 4/5

Soul Calibur’s soundtracks always had a powerful orchestrated score that nailed the setting and time period, while adding a cinematic feel to ensure intense battles. Soul Calibur V’s is no different. Sound effects are what you’d expect when weapons clash and provide that extra intensity during battle. An interesting audio feature is the ability to adjust whether you want the effects to sound “realistic” or “exaggerated” which is a first in the series. Not only can you choose between these two audio styles, you can also adjust the effect’s tone to be stronger or weaker for that style. The audio is excellent to say in the least…with only the voice acting being the main complaint here. To be fair, some of the voice acting is fine and fits the scenario. However, some characters and their lines are just odd and pull away from the immersion.

Graphics: 5/5

If there’s one thing that always stood out in the Soul Calibur franchise, it’s the luscious and beautiful visuals that run at an astounding 60 fps. Every character has an immense amount of detail to them and incredible animations to go along with them. The created characters all have the same attention to detail as the main characters, making them seamlessly blend as if they were original characters themselves. The arenas are all beautifully detailed and as in the previous installments, you wish you could just explore the vistas.

Replay Value: 4/5

While the story can be completed in roughly two hours, the Player Level system will keep players hooked. The creation system will certainly invest a great amount of your time as well, especially when you keep unlocking more equipment as you level up. As for the online mode, this will surely keep fighting enthusiasts hooked for quite a while, especially Soul Calibur fans.

Overall Score: 17/20 = 8.5 out of 10

Soul Calibur V is the best installment since Soul Calibur II, hands down. The combat system is more balanced and accessible since its predecessor, the creation system is more robust and the online has been entirely restructured, providing one of the best fighting experiences over the net. If you weren’t crazy about the Soul Calibur franchise before, it still may not be your cup of tea. For fighting enthusiasts and Soul Calibur fans, this is an excellent installment that vastly improves upon the issues of it’s predecessor. Is it worth purchasing though? Most of the game can be experienced as a rental but if you aim to unlock every piece of customization equipment and play online extensively, then you may want to consider purchasing it.


+ Astounding Visuals

+ Strong Soundtrack

+ Balanced Combat

+ Refined Online Mode

+ Deep Creation System


– Mixed Voice Acting

– Short Story Mode

– Slightly Lacking Modes

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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2 Comments on “Soul Calibur V Review (PS3/360)”

  1. R17 Says:

    Great review and easily makes you want to go pick up this game, especially if you are lover of all variations of fighting games.



  1. Soul Calibur V Receives a New Patch and DLC Announcement | Gamers XTREME - March 18, 2012

    […] Calibur V was released for consoles at the end of January (our review can be found here) and Project Soul has been hard at work preparing a new patch that will probably get fans excited. […]

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