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Soulcalibur Legends Review

By Jeff Buckland, 12/4/2007

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If you've been fiending for a mediocre action game with a popular franchise name on the front of the box, then have I got a game for you. Of course, you probably weren't really that excited about Soulcalibur Legends anyway, and that's likely because it didn't seem like that great of an idea in the first place. But let's go ahead and trudge through this game and give it the score it deserves.

You'll play as several of the most popular characters in the Soul Calibur series of games here in Legends, but here we're playing a more conventional action game with a few light RPG elements. The main character is Siegfried, who finds the world's most evil and powerful sword and unknowingly brings ruin upon the world. After a couple of levels where you fling the Wii remote around wildly to bash the crap out of monsters you've never seen before in a Soul Calibur game, you're joined by Ivy, the chain-sword-equipped purple dominatrix who managed to lose her English accent since her first game.

And for the next several hours you'll fight through various temples, outdoor areas, annoying bosses, and will repeatedly take on the same few enemies with only the slightest variation here and there. Sure, you do get Wii motion controls and every once in a while they almost seem intuitive. Pull back to juggle an enemy, push forwards to knock them away from you, swing the remote up and down or side to side for vertical or horizontal attacks. But quickly you'll realize that four buttons on a controller could do the exact same thing, and you don't get better or more vigorous attacks if you flip out on your Wiimote like a madman. It seems that this is becoming the norm for most Wii games, where a swing or a flick is a simple one-to-one substitute for a button press. What happened to all that analog, motion-sensitive stuff we were told would happen? Wii Sports has shown us that it's possible for games to have more subtle control where an extra flick of a wrist means more backspin, or the slightest movements on the controller let you ready your bat to knock a baseball out of the park.

The only thing that Soulcalibur Legends' motion-sensitive controls do is tire you out faster, as the combat is almost non-stop with only small breaks for lame "puzzles" and annoying trap-avoidance rooms. Sure, there are a few things to look forward to, like leveling up so you can fight tougher stuff and upgrading your weapon with more power, but that's about it. The characters look worse than in the last Soul Calibur game, which, like this Wii sequel, wasn't even in HD, and their animations are stiff and somehow actually worse than previous games as well. Some of the signature attacks of your favorite characters are here, but all of the attacks pretty much are the same. And yeah, Siegfried is slow but hits hard while Taki is fast and ... wait, you've heard all of this, because this is in pretty much every fighting/action game ever made. The fun part usually comes in the innovation that many of these games bring to the genre, and Soulcalibur Legends has almost none.

At least there are a couple of two-player modes here that let you either go through the game cooperatively or fight against each other in a versus battle. But let's be plain here: while this terribly dull game does have the Soul Calibur name on it, it's still boring as hell even in two-player mode. Versus fights are nothing like the regular one-on-one fighting games, and your repertoire of moves and defenses are limited to a small fraction of what they were in the real games. It's not so glaringly obvious just how shallow your move list is when you're just beating up on retarded AI enemies endlessly, but when you go up against a real person, you will both want to quit in disgust after only a few fights. Multiplayer modes are great as long as the game itself is actually fun, but Legends can't even get that part right.

In the end, this game tries to evoke the fun and charm of Soul Calibur and backs it up with the signature Renaissance-era style and operatic music, but the mostly text-based story and dull, tiresome combat with the same few enemies over and over really make this pretty much a cheap cash-in. This game is simply not worth the full Wii game price tag of $49.99, and it really should have been reworked and added to the forthcoming Soul Calibur IV instead. And if you're wondering why this game is called Soulcalibur Legends with "Soul" and "calibur" being one word, while the rest of the games separate it into two words, well, I have no idea either but that's what Namco insists on. I just write the reviews, and I'm done writing about this game. It's needlessly boring and it never should have been released, even with a $20 price tag.

Overall: 45%



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