Combat is the staple of Soulcalibur IV. There is a plethora of moves to learn, and each looks amazing when executed. Controls are very responsive to the touch, which allows you to master the different moves in the game if you practice enough. Critical Finishers is a new aspect of the game; these are special moves that you can learn and use to inflict heavy damage to your opponents. You do not have to worry about cheesy strategy with Critical Finishers though, as they are not that easy to pull off and several ingredients need to be in place prior to using them.
Soulcalibur’s gaming engine has done well to prevent cheating in that it will not allow you to simply block the entire round. If you block too much, your opponent can slowly damage your armor. This is a good feature to ensure that you play fairly and balance your approach with the right mix of offensive and defensive moves. It also ensures that combat is more action-packed and doesn’t become a matter of who can block and hide the longest.
The combat is not flawless, though. There are a few tweaks that probably should have been made to the gameplay to make it more difficult. One seemingly cheap move is throwing opponents. You can throw your opponent, and while they are disoriented, you can run up to them again to repeat the move if your timing is good. This is kind of a cheap move that should have been handled better. Another combat gameplay problem is that you can be successful by simply hitting the combat buttons constantly. Many moves can be executed rather easily regardless of timing. This can get annoying after a while and seems to take skill out of the gaming experience.
Overall, Soulcalibur IV is worthy of a purchase. The wide variety of player modes will keep the game fresh, and its outstanding graphics and sound will keep you entertained. Character Creation is a nice plus, especially when putting your new warriors to work in online mode. Combat is intense also, albeit sometimes a bit easy. If you are a big fan of the series it is a must have, and if you have not played any Soulcalibur in the past you definitely should give this one a try.
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