Soul Calibur IV – Xbox 360

Let’s clear one thing up right from the off. If you want to play as Yoda and Darth Vadar, you DON’T need to buy both the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Soul Calibur IV.

Nope, it transpires that each character is available for download as a piece of additional content. So all that willy waving about which character your console received seems a bit daft now, right?

As for these two new characters, Vadar isn’t quite the bad ass that you’d expect. He’s just like every other battler, just packing a freaky helmet. As for Yoda, his tiny size makes him close to impossible to hit, and literally impossible to throw. So the old man’s quite handy in a fight, but downright irritating when you’re up against him and every kick and punch drifts aimlessly over his head.

As for the actual fighting itself, all is as you’d expect. You’ve got your standard bunch of punches, kicks, sword prods, and even huge axe wielding that we all remember.

But that’s not all. Chucked in are the brand new inclusions of armour damage which can see your character bash away at a blocking opponent so heavily that their amour can deteriorate. Manage that and you can use your Critical Finisher (if you’ve worn down their Soul Gauge too) to knock off a big chunk of their energy bar.

It might sound like a sore deal for those who like to bide their time before showing some fight, but it only goes and encourages a healthy fight. Who wants to watch their opponent sit and block all your attacks after all?

For single player gamers, there’s a lot of meat to tuck into. In addition to the usual Arcade and Story modes, you can ascend of descend the Tower of Lost Souls which offers a real test of your gaming talents.

All this unlocks more options for the Character Creation mode. You can tinker with all the characters available in game, plus you can create your own brand new devilish creation all on your own.

Though if you want to go create a comedy character with oversized boobs, you’ll be hard pressed to beat the offering from the game developers themselves. Scantily clad babes mix and match with some real freaks of nature making for quite an eclectic group of characters. There’s bound to be a bunch you’ll fall in love with.

Plus they’re all displayed in glorious HD. It just looks, well, pretty blooming fantastic. Not only are the characters laden with masses of detail (and their punches and kicks actually connect!) but the backdrops too are stunning all on their own. It’s a real treat for the eyes whichever version you plump for.

And then there’s the multiplayer. Head online and you can take part in both ranked and unranked brawls, and all at a cracking pace. Since this review’s written before the general public are online too, things could very well change. But at the moment there’s little, if any, lag to be seen, making for a cracking time online.

Verdict

Street Fighter IV is going to have to be something pretty blooming special to beat this one. A real treat both on and offline, on your own and with some chums. This one packs a real hefty punch.