Subject: The Soul Still Burns... I guess that's why it feels just like the last time
Soul Calibur II (GC)
WWF - No Mercy (N64)
Voldo is God.
I just thought I'd get that out of the way.
So, I told you guys I'd be getting SCII and posting my impressions of it last Wednesday... but I didn't get around to it because I was too busy actually playing it... and No Mercy. So yeah, I'm a lazy bastard. Here's your review you bastards.
I've played a lot of games that didn't meet my expectations. SCII succeeds in meeting my expectations, but unfortunately it didn't surpass them at all. Things went exactly as I expected, and there was nothing in the game that surprised me, pleasantly or otherwise.
I'm glad that my favorite characters (Voldo, Maxi) have some new moves, but the changes to the remaining roster from Soul Calibur were pretty slim, with the exception of a couple of characters, who got a veritable overhaul. I find that unfair, but in the case of Voldo, it was hard to improve upon perfection. The addition of the Wyrm moves and the addressing of some priority issues made Voldo a better character overall, so I can't complain at all.
They included another favorite character, Sophitia, though she is largely unchanged from her Soul Calibur incarnation. I've also been playing a lot of the console-specific characters, Link and Necrid. Both are nice. I think that if anything actually took me off-guard, it would be how fun Link was to play. Very well done on Namco's part.
The Weapon Master mode was too easy, and the ability to buy the weapons from the shop was nice, but it made the mode even easier. The lack of third costumes for each character was bothersome, as I think it's more of a popularity contest among the Namco staff than anything. The lack of a third costume for Necrid is odd, as all the other console-specific characters have three (four in the case of Link, but that was just a color swap). I was also upset at a missing third for Maxi, but that's simply because it's Maxi. Many of the other characters were deserving of thirds, and I honestly think it would have been best just to let all of them have three, but that's something I doubt will ever happen. It's not like they don't have enough costume designs to pull from. Blech.
The gameplay system remains much the same as it did in Soul Calibur, which brings me to the subject of this post. Indeed, this game is awesome, and there are many things I love about it, but the bottom line is that I simply don't see much in the way of innovation in the Soul Calibur series. More of the same isn't such a bad thing in fighting games, but as my interests swing more towards Wrestling games and further from most fighters, I see so much evolution in those types of games, and the stagnation in fighters is becoming more apparent.
Soul Calibur II has recieved nothing but praise from me in the past, and honestly, I doubt I could say a truly bad thing about the game or the series in general. Still, I've taken much time away from this game to play No Mercy, as usual, and only Wrestlemania XIX will tear me away from it.
As I've said before, Soul Calibur II, as good of a game as it is, remains nothing more than a speedbump on my way to Wrestlemania.
In closing - Soul Calibur gets an 8.0 in my book. Great game. Nothing wrong with it. Come Tuesday, you can watch it collect dust.