Thursday, September 21, 2006

SoulCalibur III Arcade Edition

[Now Experiencing] [Computer Gaming] [TGS]

Right - as promised, SoulCalibur III Arcade Edition. This is allegedly actually out in the west, but I'll be consarned if I've ever seen one.

Basically the game plays the same as the PS2 version. The moves are the same, although I'm terrible at pulling them off with an arcade-style joystick. I likes me my left and right where I can find them, and being at the mercy of someone else's idea of a circumference is downright unsettling. Still, I was able to unleash a bit of Mitsurugi-flavoured whoopass on all and sundry.

There's two major differences between the arcade edition and the home version. Well, three, really, as a few of the bugs and exploits from the console have been cleaned up, but I'm not playing at tournament level so I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't already know about it.

First up, Amy is now a fully-fledged playable character. That presumably indicates the designers think she's somehow balanced against the rest of the standard roster. I'm disappointed to find that she still doesn't have any voice work beyond the ability to say her name. Playing as her leads to this eerie silent-fighting thing that starts to creep you out after a while. The rest of the "bonus" characters from the PS2 are all gone, of course.

Secondly, Tales of the Sword mode has been replaced by something called Legend mode. I only had a couple of shots at this, so I'm not sure I picked up all the nuances, but the essence of it is you take a "Level 1" character, and proceed to battle against a string of higher-level foes. Level, much like in Tales of the Sword, is really a representation of your character's ratings for speed, damage, health, and something called "luck" (I'm not sure what that does). As you defeat opponents (who have absurdly high levels - 46, 89, 115, and so on) you power up. There seems to be a certain tolerance for losing at least a couple of fights, but lose too many and it's game over. The idea, of course, is to get as high a level as possible before you're knocked out.

Arena mode and create-a-character are predictably absent.

It's good to see the SoulCalibur tradition continue in arcades, and I'm also glad that Amy's made her way into the official roster as she's an interesting character and it now seems likely she'll make a return in SoulCalibur IV (whenever that gets announced). But I hate that joystick - I'll hang onto my home version for now, I think.

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