SoulCalibur II HD Online – Review

SoulCalibur II HD Online – Review

I have fond memories of playing SoulCalibur II back in the day on my Nintendo Gamecube, and having it really be the fighting game I sunk multiple hours into (other than a little foray with MK2 on Sega Genesis, and Primal Rage also on the Genesis). I loved everything about SoulCalibur II, having it be the first game in the series I had played and upon popping the disc into my console I was instantly hooked, and would soon waste multiple hours with the game, and try and learn how to play every character.

You can probably imagine my excitement when I saw that the game was getting an HD/Online remake on Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 and I immediately wanted to check the game out, and get it in my hands. The nostalgia train was ready to leave the station, and I was pumped to get back into some fighting game action (after having only played the new Mortal Kombat when it released).

I already knew how the singleplayer stuff worked out, and dabbled with that for a few moments to relive some experiences, and check out the two guest characters I never got the chance to play as (Spawn, and Heihachi). To me, Spawn felt too much like another character already in the game, Astaroth so he didn’t really do much for me where as Heihachi felt exactly like he did in the earlier Tekken games, and I dig that. So, aside from Spawn being underwhelming and me missing Link desperately (obviously he wouldn’t be in this remake) I relived some great memories from my days playing this game alone without anyone else.

The online multiplayer was the meat, and it’s what I wanted to sink my teeth into. I played a couple of matches, with none of them ever finishing as I’d always get a message of the other player disconnecting, which would then usually follow with being sent a harsh message from said player calling me out for being a sore loser, etc. I was bewildered, as the game had blatantly told me the other player disconnected, so I shrugged it off. I checked my NAT, network connection, and even my router to make sure the issues weren’t on my end, and sighed of relief when they weren’t.

I decided to give the game a rest, and hop on the following day to see if the servers were more stable. Yet again, disconnections with every match I tried to play. So, I have yet to get a chance to experience the online component of the game in full, and that’s really disappointing as that’s the part of the game that had gotten me so excited. I tried again today before writing this review and have still had zero luck with getting into a match, and actually staying in said match. When I would get into much in earlier tests they would be incredibly laggy, and I felt like there was a huge delay between me pushing a button, and the character on screen actually doing the moves, which is a shame as the online feels like it is the main selling point of this game.

For someone who hasn’t delved into this game before there’s a decent amount of content, even though there’s been issues with the online portion of the title (could be an isolated incident, but I’ve had nothing but trouble). There’s quite a meaty roster of characters, with each of them feeling unique in their own little way, and the guest characters don’t feel too out of place like future titles in the franchise. Here’s looking at you Darth Vader, and Yoda.

Soul Calibur also feels like you can’t really win by being a button-mash style of fighter. I’ve played some fighting games where you can just mash the controls and usually come out on top, but there definitely feels like there’s some need for strategy to this series, and it helps to learn the combos of characters. Plus, it always feels good to apply a series of combos, and make the character you’re controlling a ruthless, killing machine.

There’s also some stuff for people who like customizing, and collecting. There’s a Weapon Master mode that allows players to traverse through a world, do challenges, and win money which can be used to buy weapons & costumes for the characters in the game. This is where I spend most of time as it’s what I did with the original game back in the day, and it definitely brings back some lovely nostalgia collecting those weapons, and costumes.

The game definitely holds up to today’s standards, and should bring some joy/nostalgia to fans of the series who played the game when it was originally released. However, standing at around $15 it’s sort of difficult to recommend the title when there does seem to be issues with the online portion of the game (from what I’ve encountered) unless you’re a huge fan of the series, and can handle having most of your time invested into the single-played content like Weapon Master Mode.

Then again, it’s still a fun game all these years later and if you do have some friends to play with in person then I’d say pick it up, but if you’re looking to buy it for a solely online experience then I’d say avoid it for now, or until these issues with the netcode have been fixed.

SoulCalibur II HD Online: 6/10


Justin Ross

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