Man, if I told you how pissed off my coworkers are when they read my shit, you’d think they were justified in their rage. One of them happens to be a hardcore fighting game nerd who has the same misconception as everyone else. You must play a game before judging! It’s not only a half-truth, but a petty though universally accepted form of reasoning and damage control. Because who knows? It might actually just be good! Of course, if you’re trying to sell something, first impressions are everything. And looking at SC5, it is the most repelling entry in the series.

It’s worse than I feared. Infact, I never dreamed it could be so harrowing.

Upon booting the game up, I was shocked by the absence of an intro. Every Soul Edge game had some sort of intro that gives you a small taste of the characters, you know, who they are, what their reasons are for seeking out Soul Edge, yadda yadda, yet would still leave you wondering just what the hell is going on. Since there IS no story for 5, I suppose this makes sense. And I refuse to count that trite story mode which only covers  Sophitia’s bitchy, whiny children. Patrick (still can’t spell his name) has to be the most blood boiling son of a bitch to ever grace a Soul Edge game. We’re expected to treat him as a main character!? He’s already poorly designed, but his personality is so forced and poorly executed, you can’t help but hate him anyway.

U MAD!?

As for what little plot they have, Patrick is  slayer of (what he assumed were) “malfested beings”. He does this to appease  man named Dumas in exchange for finding his long lost sister, Pyrra. A some point, he realizes that Dumas was lying to him because he needed to feed himself with more souls and become more powerful than ever. In that regard, Patrick betrays him and joins up with Black Wind led by Siegfried who rewards him with the sword, Soul Calibur. Using this, the weapon gives Patrick a vision of his mother who proclaims it is his destiny to slay the blah blah…

I’m sorry… DO YOU CARE!? Does anyone care about the faux-sibling rivalry, the random  Astaroth encounter, Ivy being a plot advancement, Nightmare getting his ass kicked just to show off how “badass” ZWEI is, the 3 asian descendants of Kilk, Xiangua ad Taki who challenge Pat to a fight for possession of the “3 sacred treasures” of who gives a shit!? And even if you did, you’d find yourself asking “this is the best they can come up with!?”

This story has gone completely MIA in terms of logic and reasoning and turns into a poor man’s animu shit fest. Nothing is explained or even resolved, and yes, all of this can be blamed on Namco’s insistence to push the game out as fast as humanly fucking possible with no regard for polish and a much bigger regard for money! But even then, I’d go as far to say Sonic 06 had better execution in it’s plot, no matter how out of character Sonic is. You don’t have to TRY TO LIKE some of the fuckers (Mephiles)

And even then, the story they have in motion is just terrible! I’m glad it went unfinished in some regard because I dread to see what the full product would be. Since the story is centered exclusively on the 2 bastards, I can already see what type of animu cogwheels were in motion. ZWEI would be the eternal rival who becomes jealous of Pat’s power over Calibur, Raphael would be some random villain, Mitsurugi would be some sort of mentor for Patty who kicks his ass and then trains him some more on “TRUE STRENGTH LIES WITHIN ME!” (leading to how he masters Calibur despite Elysium’s influence and barely legal fashion sense), Cervantes would capture poor Pyrrha, and Maxi would allow Patty to join his crew to help save her from Cervantes (PIRATES AT WAR, ONE PIECE RAP BITCH!) Xiba and Leixia would be the unfunny comedy relief (an INSULT to the epicness that is Kilik), some spark of romance between Patty and Lexia, etc. I don’t even need a full story, I can just visualize how bad it would be.

And I ask why the plot took this direction where the characters now have moral conflicts?! The original Soul Edge, up until about Calibur 2 or 3, had a basic but brilliant story where warriors across the world search, rat race style, for the weapon known as Soul Edge for various reasons. Siegfried wants to kill an imaginary murderer, Taki and Sophitia wish to destroy it, Hwang wants it to fight back Toyotomi’s invasion of Korea, Mitsurugi wants to defeat the rifle with a powerful sword, etc. It even continued up into 4 where Yun-Seong still wants it, and Maxi wants it for revenge against Astaroth. But it was interesting as they all came into conflict with each other over the sword. Afterward, people began to realize the sword was evil and drove the wielders into the brink of madness (Cervantes), and so they all learn the lesson of relying on their own strength rather than the weapon itself! It’s all very basic, but the main idea is that seeing all these different characters with different motivations breeds the game into the standard “rmake your guy/gal win” type of fighting game. To see the outcomes of their journey. Not just that, but it gave the impression that the characters were ALL on some grand adventure, traveling from locale to locale, facing off against assassins, monsters, etc. The weapon Master modes gave us that kind of fantasy adventure feeling, that you were on that quest for the ultimate sword! That’s epic, out there, big idea stuff!

The music gives off the feeling of a grand fucking adventure waiting to unfold, bitch!

WHY THE FUCK would I be more interested in an endless succession of cliched narratives involving demonic hellspawns, the “ultimate fucking battle of Good vs Evil”, fighting against your dark side, and intellectualizing if Justice justifies the means to that justice! Especially if the main character acts like a damn turd to the point that you just don’t care anymore, after story mode is complete, you just wanna rush to training mode, take out Mitsurugi, and crush that little fucker into the ground!

This intro tries to be epic with that creepy chorus music that sounds like it was ripped from Pandora’s Tower.

But Patty ain’t the only little shit that needs his ass kicked. There’s Xiba for being placed there because the Japanese somehow believe having a tape worm translates to comedy gold, Leixia for being a female Goku (makes friends by fighting them), Natsu for being the justification of Japan’s obsession with American women without actually having her be American (Setsuka comes to mind), ZWEI for the so-called “bad ass rival” trope that all the 12 year old animutards will think is “awesome”, and Voila just for being so damn arbitrary. The only thing she’s good for is the wild mass guessing about her being Amy, a character even LESS people give a fuck about and was only mildly interesting because she was an extension of Raphael, a more popular character. The Japanese are TOO DAMN formulaic when it comes to creating their characters (it’s part of the reason why I’m far less interested in anime than I used to be) and they need to stop.

Speaking of Raphael, WHY DOES NAMCO KEEP FUCKING WITH HIS MOVE SET!? He was damned incredible in SC2, but kept getting nerfed up da bum hole! Take for example, his Back, Back, B move from SC4. He steps backward quite a distance with a Guard Impact motion, and could move right back in for a possible counter attack that, if it connects, will turn into an attack throw that does 3 more slashes. In 5!? Now you have to be in preparation stance and then do the motion. But you can’t do the counter attack unless the opponent tries to hit Raph while the GI glow is still in effect. But Raph can keep doing the same stupid back step over and over again. Because the manuveur’s input is changed to a more awkward motion, it’s no longer a viable move. Again, the first rule of fighting games is to never focus on using moves that have complex or awkward commands. In deliberately making the character’s best moves more awkward to use, you are reducing their appeal in gameplay. But hey, at least Raph still gets those moves. Where the fuck are Ivy’s other stances!? She can’t go into whip mode automatically, and now her whip form is just regular attacks?! Mitsurugi’s relic stance is gone!? First they made it awkward to use in 4, now they get rid of it?

Namco, I don’t know what brand stick is shoved up your ass,  but there are just some things you don’t… fucking… do in fighting games. You know one of the reasons why King of Fighters lost it’s appeal? SNK kept fucking up the character’s moves! Terry Bogard was missing his patented Power dunk at one point! Character consistency and familiarity is one of the reasons people continue to play Street Fighter to this very day. Capcom’s laziness  to update anything about their character’s movesets is a blessing in that your skills from a previous installment will always translate to the sequels no matter what new systems and fighting engines are put in place to prevent cheap spams of fireballs. Complacency with preferred characters is a MUST for fighting game sequels. Taking out characters, moves or arbitrarily switching up the commands to perform those moves does nothing but completely piss off your audience. Why the fuck am I finding myself needing to relearn the same damn character per installment?! Your audience needs to be comfortable and confident that the character they played in a previous installment is left unchanged or mildly updated with a better move to make up for a lost one. Cutting shit out (possibly for the sake of balance!?) makes the character in question less appealing! You know how it feels to have some awesome character you like to play, but in a sequel, that character got nerfed and now you’re dealing with some new, over-powered character that you stand no chance at beating unless you leave your favorite character behind for a new one that can dish it!? And you find yourself just wishing they never touched your favorites so you drift off into fantasy land, wishing your favorites were still epic enough to beat the shit out of those new, scrubby fuckers, and you go online to bitch and declare “had this been my vanilla favorite, you wouldn’t stand a chance!?”

Any Ganon fans out there? You know I’m spittin the truth!

It burns my ass because Namco has an ADDICTION to pulling this shit! It’s like they can’t help themselves! Oh but what balls they have to take the worst aspect of Capcom’s fighting game style of development and give the characters some of the most bland and un-inspired super attacks in the history of fighting games!? Even Bloody Roar 2 had cooler super moves! You don’t keep the character consistency, but you turn the game into a “time-bidding super move” comeback fest!? What horse shit! Oh and here’s the best part! Manual Guard Impacts have been removed in favor of “Just defend”! Basically, like Garou, you need to hit guard fast enough to block an attack in some fancy, contrived way that benefits you. Oh and the guard impacts that are a part of the character’s special moves? They COST…FUCKING…METER! So Raphael keeping his backstep GI is pointless! “Capcomming” is right! How is this gameplay any better than 4!? It’s not even faster, what are these people seeing!? One thing I’ve noticed is that blocking an attack seems even harder in this game because everything seems to break through your guard half the time. Not to mention guard crushes seem to be easier to do than before. So… really you’re being punished for playing defensively. This is the anti-thesis of Soul Blade! As a weapon based fighter, defense is the corner stone of play styles that people SHOULD familiarize themselves with. Knowing how shit the gameplay is in the Caliburs, not playing defensively was routinely punished. But now!? The button mashy nature of the game is fucking rewarded. So playing as Xiba will be twice the most rewarding aspect of the game than ever before! It sucks ass that Kilik was only present in games where he is NOT rewarded for button mashing, but Xiba’s annoying ass is.

And no, I’m not counting the mimicking Phoenix in this game. I don’t care how sexy his new look is, that is NOT Kilik! I don’t think having less development time excuses the fantastic nonsense of having 3 mimics, but low and behold, Cuntsuhiro Harada has enough time to self-insert his stupid ass into the game and translating Devil Jin’s moves to himself! Funny how there was just enough time to convert ONE tekken character under the veil of a self-righteous douche bag, but you couldn’t convert Talim, Zasalamel, or even Seong Mina into this game!? You could’ve just grabbed the data from SC4 and put it in, ain’t like much has changed between both games aside from nerfed veterans and over-powered “new generation” animu shit stains. You take out Talim, a FAN FAVORITE, but you continue to give psycho bitch Tira all the protection, warmth, and love despite that no one likes the bitch for gameplay or content reasons. Author’s pet. Indeed.

The more I played this game, learned how to do Just guards and all that other bullshit, the more pissed I got with it. It’s so bare bones, the characters are ALL arbitrary, arcade mode is only 6 stages long and… then it hit me. The reason why this Calibur felt so bland and lacking isn’t because of lack of development time. That’s an excuse ANYONE can use these days, but ever since Sonic 06, I’m not buying it anymore. This game, more than most other 3D fighters…. feels like Virtua Fighter! In that all the characters are just preset avatars. This game is the UFC and not the WWE! Nothing exemplifies this more than the Character Creator! All the DLC that was released for this game is for the Character Creator. It’s the most praised element of the game. That leads me to believe that the praise given exclusively to the fighting system and the creation system…. were the only elements that Namco gave a fuck about. The game is just a generic fighter where you make a character based on preset movelists, and go straight to online mode, show off your mad skillz in bad fashion sense, and go at it! SC5 isn’t about the characters or the universe, or the sense of adventure. It’s exclusively about a busted ass fighting system, avatars, and an online mode that people think is a good replacement for the good ol’ arcade even with lag.

Macy Gray as Wonder Woman was funny as hell, though.

Soul Calibur 5…. is a game for fighting game nerds. The hardcore’s type of game. All the elements are here. Lack of story focus (because who plays fighters for story M I RITE!?). More focus on online and player customization. Gameplay base solely on adapting to limitations rather than player experimentation and rewarding a variety of different playstyles, it’s all here. You either try your hand at your favorites, or run for the animu scrub magnet Xiba/Leixia/Natsu or 12 year old “cool” guy ZWEI and go for it. Not to mention trying to appeal to the EVO crowd by including EVO wet dreams of super moves. Not to mention the EXTREME influx of animu influences. Why is that that Japan doesn’t branch out from their usual cultural influences anymore? It’s obvious that, on a global scale, that anime and manga is not popular anymore. The 90s are dead and gone, no one likes this shit anymore because it’s over-saturated with the same generic character tropes, badly designed and fashionably challenged, recycled plots, stupid bullshit shipping, all that while being much WORSE in execution! Soul Calibur was devoid of that until fucking TIRA was introduced in 3! Since then, the Caliburs have sucked ass. And I can’t help but feel that Project Soul is more interested in flooding the games up with Japanese influences rather than making them thrilling adventures as they were before. And with 5, now they’re going niche with the series which explains it’s poor… poor sales.

Well, for all the cliches you’d find in reviews, I say Namco no longer has a soul. And mine just got tarnished by this one.

Advertisements