Wednesday, June 27

A Game of the Highest Calibur

Some scans of the upcoming issue of EGM popped up online, allowing me to glean a few tidbits of information about the upcoming Namco-Bandai Beat 'em Up, Soul Calibur IV.

The game will supposedly look AWESOME, with graphical quality on a par with (or perhaps even surpassing) that of the current visual masterwork, Virtua Fighter 5. Character models and costumes are supremely detailed- the leather straps on Ivy's costume, for example, will actually leave realtime impressions/imprints on her body. The developers are going as far as to render stuff like Taki's nipples separately under her tight leotard. How's that for a job, eh? "Oh, I go to work rendering a ninja babe's BOOBS." Wild. So it looks that the character model of Ivy shown in the Soul Calibur IV trailer IS indeed in-game. Awesome!

As for gameplay, there are some juicy bits- how the usual lifebar works will change, and there will supposedly be a way to end a fight or round without needing to completely deplete an enemy's lifebar. One-hit kil? Disarms? Intriguing.

Character Creation, or Create-a-Soul, one of the more compelling additions in the previous installment, will return revamped and improved. There will be lots of new parts, clothing/armor and items to attach to your Ultimate Fighter, and some parts will even have an effect on gameplay. It will be more detailed and this time you will supposedly be able to tinker with stuff like character voices and other aspects. Hopefully the custom character models will equal the quality of the established fighters. The developers are working hard to ensure that players will be able to take their customized characters to combat online, and in a nod to players' demands, will allow you to now take your custom fighters' files and bring them with you for use on another console- something not possible with customized characters in the recent PS3 release of VF5.

The roster will supposedly see most of the cast returning, including the newbies from Soul Calibur III. Tira, the psycho-girl with the killer hula-hoop, in particular gets a new look as well as a more evil disposition and animations. As for new characters, Namco is keeping mum at this moment, preferring to reveal more about any new faces only when the game's release gets closer. Guest characters as well are a possibility- perhaps drawing upon swashbuckling characters from popular recent movies. Savvy?

With all this news (and just from less than half of the supposed 14-page blowout article in EGM), Soul Calibur IV looks to be even more incredible and intriguing a game than it's cousin, Tekken 6! With both awesome fighters set to release on Xbox360 and PS3 in 2008, it seems that Namco-Bandai will be taking the fight to new heights next year. I'm already sharpening my blades in anticipation. It's great to be a gamer. Heh.

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