What can be said about an already great fighting game from the past? The line up of characters was memorable, the stages were detailed and interesting, and the different fighters actually felt unique with their own fighting styles. Sadly, this is not the to time feel nostalgic of the classic 2002 fighter, but the time to be disappointed with what feels like a rushed and sloppy port.
Soul Calibur 2 HD Online (Playstation 3 and Xbox 360)
Developed by Project Soul – Published by Namco Bandai Games
Starting off positive feels the best for a title like this and first on the plate are the guest characters. Remember playing specific versions to play as certain characters like Link? While you may not find the hylian hero of time returning, both his competitors did. Both Heihachi and Spawn return to this HD remake and make cameos in both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. However, you can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Nintendo let Link be used again, perhaps a Wii U version.
Next is simply the amount of content. Players may have forgotten just how much there actually was like I had. Modes like Classic Arcade and Weapon Master return gloriously, adding tons of hours of extra game play. Even the trophy list felt a bit thought out as they really do want the player to search and hunt down every last weapon, character, and things of that kind. I wish I could say the same for the biggest feature players were looking forward to with this HD port.
The feature I’m referring to would be the online mode and oh god is it terrible. The net code for the game is some of the choppiest and unrefined I’ve played in recent fighting games. Even the search parameters feel as though they lie to you, especially when you search for only the highest possible connection and you end up in a match running slower than a person shot in Counter Strike. In a game that advertises itself with the name online in its title, you’d think they’d at least use or develop something better.
And that’s not even including the sheer lackluster online performance in general. With a lack of online lobby systems or even spectating it’s no wonder it was difficult to find matches. To be honest, once I obtained the only online trophies I never went back to play online again.
This is particularly upsetting to me because of the price tag. $ 20 is a pretty large price for a digital fighter, especially when you look at games like Guilty Gear, Street Fighter 3, or Marvel vs Capcom 2. They may not been perfect ports, but at least they won’t leave your wallet feeling robbed.
Adding even more onto the pile of shame is the visuals. For a game from 2002 in arcades and 2003 for home consoles, you’d expect it to clean up well. In terms of HD reformatting, yeah it does look nice but that’s still a bit of a stretch. While the characters don’t look fuzzy or blurred they feel entirely untouched in terms of the models themselves. Raphael is the perfect example of this as you can still see the straight edged lines of his hair looking especially silly.
The sad thing remains that it’s not just him, it’s the majority of the cast. Characters like Taki and her overly visible nipples and Cassandra’s leggings looking like something made of rubber. The backgrounds and stages however, look relatively nice. Especially stages like the Kaminoi Castle with all the sakura blossoms flowing.
All in all, the game feels rushed, simply an under developed port of a classic game. Despite all the of the negative things about this game, and there are many, the players must remember that it’s still Soul Calibur II which is a fantastically fun 3D fighter. Sadly, even fond memories can be turned sour with the right changes, or lack there of in this case.