Soulcalibur II

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Soulcalibur II
Soulcalibur II flyer.png
Developer(s)Project Soul
Publisher(s)Namco[a]
Director(s)Jin Okubo
Yoshitaka Tezuka
Producer(s)Hiroaki Yotoriyama
Programmer(s)Shinobu Nimura
Artist(s)Takuji Kawano
Writer(s)Yoshihiro Nakagawa
Composer(s)Junichi Nakatsuru
Yoshihito Yano
Asuka Sakai
Rio Hamamoto
SeriesSoulcalibur
Platform(s)Arcade, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release
July 10, 2002
  • Soulcalibur II
    Arcade
    • JP: July 10, 2002
    • NA: 2002
    GameCube, PlayStation 2, & Xbox
    • JP: March 27, 2003
    • NA: August 27, 2003
    • EU: September 26, 2003
    HD Online
    PlayStation 3
    Xbox 360
    • WW: November 20, 2013[1]
Genre(s)Fighting
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade systemNamco System 246[5]

Soulcalibur II (ソウルキャリバーII, Sōrukyaribā Tsū) is a 2002 fighting game developed by Project Soul and published by Namco and the third installment in the Soulcalibur series of weapon-based fighting games. It is the sequel to Soulcalibur, which was released in July 1998. Originally intended to be released on Sega's NAOMI board,[6] the game was released on the Namco System 246 arcade board before being ported to the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox in 2003.

The game's plot revolves around the legendary weapon Soul Edge having been shattered into pieces, with different characters seeking to collect all the pieces to gain possession of the complete weapon or to destroy it once and for all. Compared to Soulcalibur, Soulcalibur II had improvements in graphics and the game system and introduced several new and guest characters. This is the first Soul game depicting the 1590 A.D. trilogy, which ends in Soulcalibur IV.

The game was a critical and commercial success. A high-definition port, titled SoulCalibur II HD Online, was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013.

Gameplay[edit]

A fight between Raphael and Taki on the GameCube

Key game system improvements include an easier "step" and "avoid" systems, arena walls (rather than ring out ability on all sides) and wall-specific moves, a three-step Soul Charge system, a clash system that is used when two attacks hit each other simultaneously resulting in a white flash, Guard Break attacks which put a blocking player into a post guard-impact state, just frame moves awarding additional hits to players who can time their command inputs well and a revised Guard Impact system that removes height-based Impact moves and instead uses a more unified system (high and mid attacks are countered using Repels, mid and low attacks are countered using Parries).

Soulcalibur II includes the same modes of play as most fighting games: Arcade, Versus Battle, Team Battle (similar to Arcade, but with teams of up to 3 characters and without cutscenes or endings), Versus Team Battle (with teams of up to 8 characters), Time Attack (where the player has to race against the clock to set records), Survival and Practice. There are also "Extra" versions of these modes, intended to allow the use of Extra Weapons and unlockable stages. A point worth mentioning is that the 7th battle in Arcade Mode is called a "Destined Battle", which is a predefined battle that never changes. Each character has one according to their story, and all Destined Battles are shared by groups of two characters (for example, Mitsurugi→Taki and Taki→Mitsurugi) with the exceptions of the home console-exclusive characters. As in Soulcalibur, there is a "Museum" containing character artwork and various videos (like the Arcade Mode's intro or the Weapon Master Mode's intro and Ending) and an "Exhibition Theater" (where "katas" can be viewed). There is also a "Profile Viewer" (to read about character's stories) and a "Battle Theater" (to watch CPU vs CPU battles).

A returning feature from Soul Edge that was absent from the first Soulcalibur is the inclusion of Extra Weapons. Instead of the many stats used in Soul Edge, this one uses only three stats: attack, defense and special abilities (such as draining energy, passing through defense, etc.). Each character has 12 different weapons, from the standard (basic) weapons for 1P and 2P to the powerful "Ultimate Weapon". Also, each character is granted a Soul Edge version of their weapon, as well as a "Joke Weapon" with bad stats and effects, and with unique and funny hit sounds. Each weapon is given a backstory in the "Weapon Gallery". Like before, some characters possess a third costume, which is purchased in Weapon Master Mode. Out of the 25 selectable characters, 13 are granted a third costume: Astaroth, Cassandra, Ivy Valentine, Mitsurugi, Nightmare, Raphael, Seung Mina, Sophitia, Taki, Talim, Voldo, and Xianghua. The GameCube version's guest character Link has four costumes (green, red, blue and lavender) and Assassin, Berserker and Lizardman each have six different costumes (three color edits of their two standard costumes).

The Arcade version has a unique mode called "Conquest Mode" that allows the player to pick an army, fight enemies and gain experience points, increasing the level of the selected player. "Weapon Master Mode", made in a similar fashion to Soul Edge's "Edge Master Mode" and Soulcalibur's "Mission Mode", takes the core system from "Conquest Mode" and expands upon it. It introduces a story set in an alternate world, in which the player moves in a map divided into "regions" (named after stars) and fights enemies to gain experience points (which raise the "rank" of the character) and money (which can be used to buy weapons, art, costumes and videos). The mode has 10 normal chapters, four sub-chapters and two extra-chapters as well as Extra-Missions (alternate versions of normal missions). The player endorses the role of a swordsman searching for Soul Edge, who is confronted by a powerful, mad knight named Veral, seeking Soul Edge for his own desires.

Characters[edit]

Four new playable characters are introduced in Soulcalibur II: Cassandra (fighting style derived from Sophitia), Raphael (unique fighting style), Talim (unique fighting style) and Yunsung (fighting style derived from Hwang).

A new unlockable character, Charade, switches its style to match existing characters' move lists with each individual round of fighting, similarly to its predecessors Edge Master and Inferno. The console versions of the game feature Necrid, a new character created by Todd McFarlane, and one of three platform-exclusive characters: Heihachi Mishima from Tekken on the PlayStation 2, Link from The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo GameCube, and Spawn from the comic book series of the same name by McFarlane on the Xbox. Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII was originally intended to fill Heihachi's spot on the PlayStation 2 version, but the licensing deal fell through at the last moment.[7] The HD version includes both Heihachi and Spawn.[8]

Fully returning as playable characters are Astaroth, Cervantes (unlockable), Ivy, Kilik, Maxi, Mitsurugi, Nightmare, Taki, Voldo, Xianghua and Yoshimitsu (unlockable), as well as Seung Mina (unlockable) and Sophitia (unlockable) who are exclusive to the console versions. Inferno is the game's main boss, but is no longer a playable character. Nightmare's third costume is Siegfried (although he is still referred to as Nightmare), while Assassin and Berserker play extremely similarly to Hwang and Rock, who do not return from the previous game. Although the original Lizardman from Soulcalibur does not return, the game does feature a generic Lizardman with the same move list. Since Assassin, Berserker and Lizardman are considered bonus characters, they do not have any Extra Weapons. In the North American and PAL console versions, they can only be selected in Versus Battle Mode, Team Battle Mode, Versus Team Battle Mode, Practice Mode, along with the "Extra" versions of these modes, as well as in Battle Theater. In the Japanese console versions, they cannot be selected by the player in any mode. They are, however, playable during certain portions of Weapon Master Mode in all versions of the game.

Plot[edit]

The game is set in the year 1590 AD, four years after the events of Soulcalibur. The wave of slaughters that terrorized Europe reached a sudden end. The knight in azure armor, Nightmare, and his followers were successful in collecting enough souls and were about to start the restoration ceremony on the ruins of the once-proud Osthreinsburg Castle. But just as the ceremony was about to start, three young warriors assaulted the castle. In a matter of time, the cult was defeated, and Nightmare stood in front of the young warriors while wielding Soul Edge. After an intense battle, Nightmare fell, but then the evil soul inside Soul Edge sent the young warriors into a vortex of hellfire and stood to confront them. As a result of Soul Edge's evil aura, Krita-Yuga revealed its true form: that of the Holy Sword, Soul Calibur. The intense battle ended with the victory of the holy sword, but when the vortex of Inferno collapsed, both swords along with the Azure Knight Nightmare were sucked into the void and expelled to another place. Siegfried Schtauffen, who was until a moment before the Azure Knight, reclaimed his own mind. Recognizing his sins, he set on a journey of atonement. Still, the blade held a strong bond, and every night, it took control of his body and absorbed souls of those nearby. The efforts made by the young knight were fruitless, and four years later the Azure Knight returned. Around those times, various warriors came into contact with the blade's remaining fragments, revealing Soul Edge's ultimate survival. After its defeat, the fragments began causing chaos and evil to grow in the world. Driven by the need to either possess or destroy the evil sword, each warrior embarks on a new journey, while Nightmare starts his rampage anew, seeking souls to gain the power to restore Soul Edge once again...

Release[edit]

A soundtrack for the game was released as Soulcalibur II Original Soundtrack. An art book was also published.[9]

Soulcalibur II HD Online[edit]

A high-definition version of the game, titled Soulcalibur II HD Online, was released digitally for PlayStation 3 through PlayStation Network and Xbox 360 through Xbox Live in North America and Europe on November 19 and 20, 2013, respectively, and in Japan on February 20, 2014.[2][10][11] It includes all game modes from the original releases, as well as support for online-only gameplay via PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. For reasons unknown, the English version of the HD re-release lacks the dual-language option available in the original game and only features English voice acting. Both versions of the game also include two guest characters, Heihachi Mishima and Spawn, who were previously exclusive to specific platforms (PlayStation 2 and Xbox, respectively).[12] In addition, in Japan, having the game data allows for two virtual items and a costume to be available for free in Soulcalibur: Lost Swords.[2]

Reception[edit]

The original version of SoulCalibur II received critical acclaim, earning it the average scores of 91.3% for the PlayStation 2,[15] 92.3% for the GameCube,[14] and 91.6% for the Xbox.[13] Greg Kasavin of GameSpot praised the game "It's certainly one of the most refined, most accessible, and best-looking 3D fighting games to date, and it's squarely the best game in its class for the Xbox and GameCube."[36] IGN writer Kaiser Hwang gave the game a positive review, but commented on its similarity to the first game "And so, while evolution is not always mandatory, sometimes pushing the boundaries can lead to bigger and better things. In the case of Soul Calibur II, contentment will do just fine."[37]

In the first ever Spike Video Game Awards in 2003, SoulCalibur II won in the category Most Addictive Game.[38] In 2011, Complex ranked it as the 14th best fighting game of all time.[39]

By July 2006, the GameCube version of Soulcalibur II had sold 850,000 copies and earned $32 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 69th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined sales of Soulcalibur games released in the 2000s reached 2.6 million units in the United States by July 2006.[40] As of 2007, the GameCube version sold about a million copies in the US, and 100,000 in Japan, making it one of the best-selling third-party GameCube games.[41] The PlayStation 2 version received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[42] indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Romano, Sal (October 31, 2013). "Soulcalibur II HD Online release date set". Gematsu. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Soul Calibur II HD Online Gets Japanese Release Date". Avoiding The Puddle. January 27, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "EA to publish Soul Calibur II in Europe".
  4. ^ "European Soul Calibur II release announced".
  5. ^ "Soul Calibur 2 Hits Arcades In June". IGN. March 21, 2002. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  6. ^ IGN Staff (January 12, 2000). "Soul Calibur 2 Confirmed For Naomi?".
  7. ^ "Cloud Strife was almost the PS2 guest character for Soulcalibur II". October 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "The Gamer's Guide". Kotaku. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  9. ^ "New Soul Calibur II Artbook Announced: News from". 1UP. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  10. ^ "Soulcalibur II HD Online Out On Nov. 19 For PS3, Nov. 20 For Xbox 360". Siliconera. October 31, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  11. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (October 31, 2013). "SoulCalibur 2 HD Online release date announced". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  12. ^ "Soulcalibur 2 HD Online coming this fall to PS3 and Xbox 360". Polygon. July 19, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "SoulCalibur II Reviews and Articles for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c d e "SoulCalibur II Reviews and Articles for GameCube". GameRankings. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "SoulCalibur II Reviews and Articles for PlayStation 2". GameRankings. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  16. ^ a b c Fahay, Rob (September 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II Review • Reviews • Eurogamer.net". Eurogamer. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  17. ^ Edwards, Matt (November 22, 2013). "SoulCalibur 2 HD Online review • Reviews • Xbox 360 •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  18. ^ Kasavin, Greg (August 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II Review - GameSpot.com Xbox". GameSpot. pp. 1–2. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  19. ^ Kasavin, Greg (August 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II Review - GameSpot.com Gamecube". GameSpot. pp. 1–2. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  20. ^ Kasavin, Greg (August 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II Review - GameSpot.com PS2". GameSpot. pp. 1–2. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  21. ^ Nutt, Christian (August 26, 2003). "GameSpy: Soul Calibur II - Page 1 Xbox". GameSpy. pp. 1–2. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  22. ^ Nutt, Christian (August 26, 2003). "GameSpy: Soul Calibur II - Page 1 Gamecube". GameSpy. pp. 1–2. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  23. ^ Nutt, Christian (August 26, 2003). "GameSpy: Soul Calibur II - Page 1 PS2". GameSpy. pp. 1–2. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  24. ^ Hwang, Kaiser (August 26, 2003). "IGN: Soulcalibur II Review Xbox". IGN. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original on November 16, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  25. ^ Hwang, Kaiser (August 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II - IGN Gamecube". IGN. p. 1. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  26. ^ Hwang, Kaiser (August 26, 2003). "IGN: Soulcalibur II Review PS2". IGN. pp. 1–3. Archived from the original on March 19, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  27. ^ TOKYODRIFTER (August 26, 2003). "Review: Soul Calibur II for Xbox on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on July 6, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  28. ^ TOKYODRIFTER (August 26, 2003). "Review: Soul Calibur II for PS2 on Gamepro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on May 26, 2006. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  29. ^ TOKYODRIFTER (August 29, 2003). "Review: Soul Calibur II for GameCube on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on June 23, 2007. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  30. ^ a b c "SoulCalibur II Critic Reviews for GameCube". Metacritic. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  31. ^ "Official XBOX Magazine | Soulcalibur II HD Online review". Oxmonline.com. November 19, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  32. ^ a b "SoulCalibur II Critic Reviews for PlayStation 2". Metacritic. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  33. ^ a b "SoulCalibur II Critic Reviews for Xbox". Metacritic. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  34. ^ "Soulcalibur 2 HD Online". Metacritic. November 20, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  35. ^ "SoulCalibur II HD Online for Xbox 360". GameRankings. November 20, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  36. ^ Kasavin, Greg (August 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II Review". GameSpot. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  37. ^ Hwang, Kaiser (August 26, 2003). "Soul Calibur II". IGN. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  38. ^ "Spike TV honors digital women, Ray Liotta in video game awards", The Victoria Advocate, December 4, 2003.
  39. ^ Peter Rubin, The 50 Best Fighting Games of All Time, Complex.com, March 15, 2011
  40. ^ Campbell, Colin; Keiser, Joe (July 29, 2006). "The Top 100 Games of the 21st Century". Next Generation. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007.
  41. ^ "The Magic Box - US Platinum Chart Games". www.the-magicbox.com.
  42. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Gold". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009.
  43. ^ Caoili, Eric (November 26, 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017.
  1. ^ Electronic Arts published and distributed the PS2 and Xbox versions[3] and Nintendo of Europe released the GameCube version in Europe, respectively.[4]
    Bandai Namco Games published the HD version worldwide.

External links[edit]