The Soul Calibur series has been one that is well known and well respected. But taking a solid fighting game and creating a mediocre adventure game is a path that should not have been taken.
SoulCalibur Legends (the name has now been combined into one word for whatever reason) is not your typical one-on-one fight title. Instead, this game takes on a more Dynasty Warriors approach by offering mindless combat and very basic environments. Also, if you ever played Tobal #1’s adverture mode on PSOne, you will also know how this new SoulCalibur plays and feels.
Using the Wii-Mote and nunchuk, the player takes control of Siegfried, a popular character from the series. Finding this legendary sword, Siegfried is on a quest for revenge and power. Anybody who knows any sort of background into the Soul Calibur mythos will immediately recognize the story elements here…pretty much all this game is good for.
Combat has the potential to break your wrists, literally. Using all Wii-mote motions, the player needs to swing the controller to perform all attacks. Swing horizontal, the character swings his weapon horizontal. Do an overhead smash motion, your character does the same, etc. What it boils down to is that the player can easily beat every level in the game due to poor enemy AI (enemies will often just stand there) and button mash…or in this case, randomly swing the Wii-mote.
Level design could not be blander. Here is how each stage plays out: start in a room, walk down a narrow hallway with bad camera angles, come to a big room and fight a dozen skeletons, walk down another hallway with bad camera angles while getting hit by flying arrows from off screen, enter a big room and fight a dozen skeletons, repeat 3 more times and the level is done. To make matters even more boring, all hallways and rooms are based around 90 degree angles. Every room, every environment, every enemy, and even how the player attacks is always the same and will never change throughout the entire game. Environments support new textures, but enemies are not even pallet swapped. You are going to be fighting the same skeleton, lizard creature, and golem throughout the entire game.
Between levels, the player is treated the best part: the story. But if you have no will to learn the background on how the entire Soul Calibur series got its roots, then there really is no driving force to play this game. Even though the gameplay is terrible, the story is half way decent…but that is only because it carries the well known Soul Calibur history.
But even how the story is presented lacks quality. Players of Fire Emblem should recognize the similarities here. Between all the fighting, large character sprites fade in and out as they talk with word bubbles, just like any Fire Emblem title. Namco has created some killer Soul Calibur cutscenes in the past. Why they didn’t take the extra step with FMVs and voice-overs instead of displays worthy of a budget title, even though the full $49.99 price tag is charged.
The audio contains the typical Soul Calibur flare. Before and after each match, each character will say some stupid one liner. Menu systems are navigated with that solid “chang” sound, and music represents the classy fighting game mood of the game. But the graphics are on par with the best Gamecube games and there is no excuse for the rehashing of environments and enemies.
As much as it hurts to say it, SoulCalibur Legends is not a good game. Fans of the series will definitely be let down with this Wii exclusive title, but players are better suited to play any later Dynasty Warriors title to get a better gaming experience. Only if you wish to understand the full origins of the Soul Calibur mythos is this game worth playing. Other than that, please skip over this dull title.