Soul is a weapon-based fighting game series by Namco. The series revolves around a sword that, after years of bloodshed and hatred, gained a soul of its own, the Soul Edge, and the sword forged to counter it, Soul Calibur. The series is special in that each character is created to have his or her own different weapon and style creating a varied fighting experience. The series has spawned six games.
Mitsurugi, Cervantes, Siegfried (due to his appearance in Soulcalibur II as Nightmare and as Nightmare's third costume) and Nightmare (He first appeared in Soul Edge as Siegfried!, and albeit as multiple hosts sharing the same identity) are the only characters to have appeared in every Soul game to date. Taki, Sophitia, Ivy, Maxi, Voldo, and Astaroth (though as clones) are close runner-ups having appeared in every game but one.
All games in the series before Soulcalibur III were originally arcade games, subsequently being ported to home consoles. The series has 7 main installments:
- Soul Edge (1995)
- Soulcalibur (1998)
- Soulcalibur II (2002): Guest Stars: Heihachi Mishima, Link (only exclusive to Nintendo port) and Spawn
- Soulcalibur III (2005): Guest Star: KOS-MOS (Can be created in Create-A-Soul after gaining all Type-X Armor parts)
- Soulcalibur Legends (2007): Guest Star: Lloyd Irving
- Soulcalibur IV (2008): Guest Stars: Yoda, Darth Vader and The Apprentice, including Angol Fear
- Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny (2009): Guest Star: Kratos
- Soulcalibur V (2012): Guest Stars: Ezio Auditore, and Jin Kazama (Devil form’s fighting style available by default, regular form costume set as DLC)
- Soulcalibur: Lost Swords (2014)
- Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul (2014)
- Soulcalibur Pachislot (2017)
- Soulcalibur VI (2018): Guest Stars: Geralt of Rivia, 2B and Haohmaru
The ported versions are known for their extra features, including new characters, weapons, new costumes, art galleries, martial arts demonstrations and involved single player modes, when compared to the original arcade versions. For example, Seong Han-myeong is not featured in the arcade version of Soul Edge, and in home versions there is an RPG-type mode titled "Edge Master" where the player can unlock various items including weapons for the default characters.
As of September 2011, the Soul series has sold approximately 12 million units worldwide.
The first installment was named Soul Edge in Japan, which was "upgraded" to Soul Edge Ver. II and transported overseas as Soul Blade. Set in the late sixteenth century, the game follows nine warriors in a quest, each of whom have their own reasons but share a common goal: to obtain the legendary sword, Soul Edge. After appearing in arcades, it was made available for the PlayStation console. Along with its soundtrack, this weapon-based title has been widely praised for being innovative yet traditional to the fighting genre of games. With Versus (one-on-one battle mode), Survival (take on a gauntlet of opponents until the player is unable to continue), Time Attack, Team Battle (a selection of combatants will take on an opposing group, a victor is announced when the last remaining member of a team is defeated) and Training modes, the console port also saw the addition of "Edge Master", a single-player mode in which the player would guide one of the ten main characters in a story-like manner whilst obtaining a variety of weapons for use.
The sequel to Soul Edge arrived in video arcades a year later, the plot being 2–3 years later than the first game's, as was its exclusive porting to the Dreamcast console. The title is derived from Soul Calibur, a legendary weapon which opposes the evil of Soul Edge. This title would also retcon the Soul series as a whole, establishing its popularity in video gaming history as it garnered positive reviews from gaming fans and critics alike. Though retaining elements of its predecessor, Soulcalibur incorporated an extensive amount of new features, including the "8-Way Run". Eventually, the title name being prominently used in later sequels, spin-offs and other media.
Soulcalibur (Manga Comic)A manga was published in 1999 and was copyrighted by Namco. The story was filled with adventure and comedy, but only a several characters that were available in the storyline appeared such as, Sophitia, Taki, Cervantes, Siegfried, Astaroth, Lizardman, Kilik, Maxi, Ivy, Edge Master, Xianghua, Mitsurugi, Voldo, Nightmare, Seong Mi-na, Hwang, and Inferno. The Soulcalibur Manga Comic was available in 5 volumes.
Soulcalibur II further improved and expanded from Soulcalibur, in both graphics and gameplay. Soulcalibur II was released in arcade format 4 years after the previous outing of the series, subsequently being ported to all three active sixth-generation consoles. The game scored near-perfect reviews. This is the first game in the Soul series to feature cameos from characters in other media, such as Link from Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series (The version of Link used was specifically from "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998 Nintendo), playable on the GameCube's roster. Specially featured on the PlayStation 2's roster is Heihachi Mishima of Tekken fame, while Spawn was an exclusive addition for the Xbox version. Also, Necrid was a guest featuring on all 3 consoles. The HD version, which is for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 includes all guest fighters, except Link, due to his character rights belonged to Nintendo and this version does not appear on Wii U.
Breaking tradition, Soulcalibur III was released only for PlayStation 2 in 2005, before an arcade edition was seen and never been re-released on consoles (mostly PlayStation 2). It is also possible to identify the use of a different graphics engine used to develop the game. Soulcalibur III contained a new single-player mode called "Tales of Souls", the true story mode in which the player could make course-altering decisions along the way. Arenas were made more interactive, such as the breaking of rocks if one of the 42 selectable characters were to impact against them. Soulcalibur III is the first game in the series to feature a character creation system, and features a story mode called "Chronicles of the Sword" which is a mode with some strategic aspects purely for created characters.
Soulcalibur Legends (ソウルキャリバー レジェンズ Sourukyaribā Rejenzu?) is an action-adventure game for the Wii console. It is a non canon spin-off of Namco Bandai's successful Soul fighting game series. It was released on November 20, 2007 in North America and was released in Japan on December 13, 2007. The game was eventually released in Europe and the UK on August 28, 2008. The game features competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes in addition to the single player story mode. It features Lloyd from the Tales series.
Arriving in 2008 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the fifth installment of the series is the second game not to see an arcade release prior to the home game, as well as the first to take bouts online. Soulcalibur IV instates new gameplay mechanics into the series in the form of damage-absorbing armor (that can be shattered) and Critical Finishers (both tied to the new Soul Gauge). Like Soulcalibur II, the fifth game also included cameos from different media. Initially, Star Wars Sith Lord Darth Vader is an exclusive playable character on the PlayStation 3, while Jedi Master Yoda is selectable on the Xbox 360. The character that the specific console version does not appear can be unlocked as downloadable content via PlayStation Store or Xbox Live Marketplace. Both versions of the game also include The Apprentice character from the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed multimedia project. Due to The Apprentice’s inclusion the original live-action Star Wars characters are mostly based on the non-canon Legends timeline. Like Soulcalibur III, Soulcalibur IV also includes a Character Creation system with various customizable parts, some unlockable. These characters can also be taken into online bouts, which in itself is a new addition to the series. However, unlike Soulcalibur III, the only available weapon disciplines are taken from the existing roster.
Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny
Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny is the game for the PlayStation Portable (Abbreviated as PSP). It uses many of the features used in Soulcalibur IV such as the soul crush, armor destruction, critical finishers, and Character Creation and also brings in some new features such as new lighting effects for stages so that they have different times of day, and the new Gauntlet Story mode. The game also includes many of the characters in Soulcalibur IV, excluding the Star Wars guest characters and bonus characters, and introduces a new character to the series: Dampierre and features Kratos, from the God of War series, as a guest character.
Released in 2012, Soulcalibur V is set 17 years after the events of Soulcalibur IV and contains a mix of new and returning characters, thought it mostly consist new characters than returning characters. The game's plot revolves primarily around Patroklos Alexander and Pyrrha Alexandra, the children of Sophitia Alexandra. An improved Creation Mode with optional DLC is featured, in addition to the Story mode, online play, and various offline modes. Some gameplay features from past installments have been altered (such as revamping the Soul Gauge from Soulcalibur IV into the Critical Gauge) while others are new additions, such as Critical Edges. This game features Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin’s Creed as a guest character.
Soulcalibur: Lost Swords
Soulcalibur: Lost Swords is a PlayStation 3 exclusive free-to-play game in the vein of Tekken Revolution, with token system similar to it. Lost Swords is single player and the focus is completing missions, it is a slightly modified version of Soulcalibur V.
Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul
The seventh installment of the series. It is a reboot, starting a new timeline. It was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 19, 2018. The game takes place after the fifth game, which rewinds back to the beginning, starting from retelling the original Soulcalibur story, rather than start from Soul Edge (opening cutscene only), followed by the beginning of timeline trilogy games. This game also features the returning elements from 3 previous recent main Soulcalibur games (III - V). It introduces the new characters who did not exist in the original timeline, namely Grøh and Azwel. This game follows similar routes as Bandai Namco's other fighting game banner, Tekken 7, such as the yearly downloadable content season releases (characters, costume sets and new storylines alike), and guest character inclusions, such as Geralt of Rivia from Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher, who is mostly based on his video game counterpart as part of the base rosters, with remaining guest characters like 2B of Square-Enix's newly popular video game Nier: Automata and the titular protagonist of SNK's Samurai Shodown's Haohmaru as one of the DLC characters.
All the games in the Soul series retain some specific features while introducing or removing others from game to game. The basic button layout for the Soul series is two weapon attacks (horizontally and vertically aligned strikes), a kick button and a guard button for blocking. Two features that have been kept in the series since its inception are the Guard Impact defense system and the Ring Out condition of victory. In the first game, the Guard Impact system is a repelling technique that allows the player to "check" an incoming strike and push it back and allowing for a free hit. A Guard Impact requires precise timing (having the player pressing forward plus guard at the instant an opponent strikes) but results in tactical advantage for the defender. The opposing player is also able to counter a Guard Impact with their own and can stalemate their opponent until someone misses the timing on the subsequent Guard Impact. As the series moved forward, the Guard Impact system was made deeper.
In Soulcalibur, Namco introduced multiple Guard Impact techniques (the original repelling technique was named "Repelling" while two new techniques, "Parrying" and "Weapon Stripping" were introduced). These different Guard Impact types have been kept for the subsequent installments.
Ring Outs occur when one of the fighters is forcibly removed from the arena (or "ring"), instantly ending the round and resulting in a round point for their opponent. The idea of Ring Outs in 3D fighting games was originally conceived by the Virtua Fighter series of fighting games and adopted by Namco for Soul Edge. A combatant cannot be knocked out of the ring without being eliminated by some effort from themself or by their opponent. Later games introduced new ring designs (Soulcalibur allowed rings to take different shapes instead of a basic square, Soulcalibur II introduced stages with walls that blocked off parts of the ring and made Ring Outs possible only in certain parts of the stage or removing that condition altogether, and Soulcalibur III introduced low walls that can be destroyed and create a Ring Out opportunity once it is gone).
Soul Edge is unique in the series as it is the only game to feature the "Weapon Meter"; a sword-shaped meter under the characters' vitality bars that determined how much damage a weapon could sustain. As a character blocked attacks; the meter would deplete until it emptied which resulted in a weapon break (the player would also have to pay half the Weapon Meter to perform a "Critical Edge" combo). Once the character's weapon was broken, they were forced to fight bare-handed until the end of the round. The Weapon Meter was designed to promote consistent offense and not constant defense (other fighters have adopted similar means to deter over-defending; Street Fighter Alpha 3's Guard Meter is an example of such a device). The Weapon Meter was abandoned following Soul Edge and instead replaced with Soulcalibur's trademark "8-Way Run" system. The 8-Way Run allowed players to walk in any direction at any time instead of using a specific command to sidestep. This kept the fights truly three-dimensional and made it easier to maneuver around attacks or away from ring edges (as well as launch specific 8-Way Run attacks). Each of the sequels to Soulcalibur have used the 8-Way Run movement system. Soulcalibur IV also introduces a concept similar to the Weapon Meter with the Soul Gauge. When a character blocks an attack, the Soul Gauge is depleted. If they attempt to block an attack with an empty Soul Gauge, their opponent will break the guard with a Soul Crush. This leaves the defending character open for a Critical Finisher which instantly ends the match.
- ^ "Soul Blade for PlayStation Review", GameSpot, 1997-04-03. Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
- ^ "Soul Blade review", IGN, 1997-03-03. Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
- ^ Soul Calibur II for PlayStation 2 Reviews. Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
- ^ Soul Calibur II for GameCube Reviews. Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
- ^ Soul Calibur II for Xbox Reviews. Retrieved on 2008-01-26.
- Official site and forum
- Official site for the film
- Project Soul Official Website (Japanese)
- Riku sword from Soul Reproduction
|Soul Edge (Blade) – Soulcalibur – Soulcalibur II – Soulcalibur III (Arcade Edition) – Soulcalibur IV (Broken Destiny) – Soulcalibur V - Soulcalibur VI|
|Soulcalibur (film) – Soulcalibur Legends – Soulcalibur: Lost Swords - Soulcalibur: Unbreakable Soul|