Soulcalibur IV Preview

The Soul Still Burns...
The nitty-gritty so far…

With Tekken 6 nowhere in sight as yet, the spotlight is firmly on Soulcalibur IV as THE fighting game to look out for on the horizon. It’s only about three months away, so it’s what we’ll be playing well into 2009 after we’ve chewed the fat on MGS4. What do we know so far about this slashing sequel?

First off, the game will have a roster of about 30 established characters, not counting any created or custom characters (more on that later). These include veteran like Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Nightmare, Ivy, Sophitia, Taki, Cassandra, Xianghua, Kilik, Maxi, Yun Seoung, Seung Mina, Astoroth, Voldo, Cervantes and Zasalamel. New characters include new female knight Hilde, who is a canon addition to the cast, and bonus characters Scheherazade and Angol Fear. Guest characters for SCIV are Yoda and Darth Vader from the Star Wars Universe, a wild cameo which got fans and gamers reeling.

Scheherazade and Angol Fear are actually characters created by famous manga creators in Japan. More such characters from other creators and manga-ka will be revealed as the game counts down to release. While so far unannounced, as yet MIA veterans Setsuka, Talim and Rock may eventually be revealed as the SCIV devs ‘don’t want to disappoint their fans’.

Players will be able to customize characters, from the default fighters or characters created in the Create-a-Soul mode. Aside from changing appearance, certain pieces of armor or clothing will actually have effects on a character’s abilities in battle.

The new Critical Finishers are the new way to finish a round/battle without the need to completely deplete an enemy’s life bar or achieve a ring out. If a character blocks too much, parts of his or her armor may be damaged and leave them vulnerable. Once a meter is filled, a Critical Finisher may be used (by pressing all four buttons), triggering a cutscene of the attacker doing a kick-ass attack that totally destroys their opponent. It’s assumed that the overhead slash Siegfried does on a dizzy Tira during one of the earlier trailers is an example of the Critical Finisher. According to one report, each character has a different, unique finisher, such as Cassandra who does a butt attack which erupts in an explosion of hearts.

There will be a Story Mode, as before, and will have cutscenes telling the tale of the fighters as they go through their quest for the Soul Weapons. There will be a new single player mode called Active Matching Battle where players choose from a pool of fighters and fight a steady stream of enemies in a single arena.

Players will be able to acquire new weapons and armor by playing through the game, but there will be some equipment exclusively available via downloads.

Soulcalibur IV will be available in a premium edition ($80) that will include a tin box case, a Soulcalibur comic/art book, a tournament ‘kit’ that will allow players to keep track of their playtime, and exclusive access to some downloadable content.

The game will be released simultaneously on PS3 and Xbox360 on July 29 in the US.

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