Soulcalibur II (ソウルキャリバーII, Sourukyaribā Tsū?) is a fighting game developed and published by Namco and the third installment in the Soul series. Soul Calibur is the name of the holy sword, created to battle the evil sword Soul Edge, which the games' story-lines revolve around. Compared to Soulcalibur, Soulcalibur II boasts improved graphics and introduces new characters, stages, and music. It is also the first game in the series to include guest characters from other series.
Modes and featuresEdit
Modes and other features added to the Home Versions:
- The home versions of SCII featured a unique character, Necrid, who did not appear in the arcade version, nor in any subsequent games.
- Soulcalibur II presented the normal modes from most fighting games: Arcade, Team Battle Mode (similar to arcade, but with teams of up to 8 characters and without cutscenes or endings), Time Attack (fight against the clock to gain records), Survival Battle and Training Mode. There are also "Extra" versions of these modes, intended to allow the use of the Extra Weapons. Worth mentioning is that Arcade's 7th battle is called a "Destined Battle", a battle predefined that never changes. Each character has one according to their story, and are shared by groups of two (Mitsurugi→Taki, Taki→Mitsurugi) with the exception of the console-exclusive characters.
- A returning feature from Soul Edge is the inclusion of Extra Weapons. Instead of Soul Edge's system of different stats, this one is based on power %, defense %, and special abilities (drains energy, pass through defense, etc). Each character has 12 different weapons, from the standard (basic) weapons for 1P and 2P to the powerful "Ultimate Weapon". Also each one was granted a Soul Edge version of their arms and a "Joke Weapon", weapons with bad stats and effect, and with unique, and funny, hit sounds. Each weapon is given a backstory in the "Weapon Gallery".
- The Arcade version has a unique mode called "Conquest Mode". Conquest Mode allows the player to pick an army, fight enemies and gain experience points, allowing it to increase the level of the selected player.
- "Weapon Master Mode" takes the core system from "Conquest Mode" and expands upon it. This mode, made in a similar fashion to Soul Edge's "Edge Master Mode" and Soulcalibur's "Mission Mode", presents a history set in an alternate world, while the player moves in a map divided in "regions" (named after stars) and fight enemies to gain experience points (and raise the "rank" of the character) and money (which could be later used to bought weapons, art, costumes and videos). The mode has 10 normal chapters, 4 sub-chapters and 2 extra-chapters as well as Extra-Missions (alternate version of normal missions). The plot of the mode puts the player into the role of a swordsman searching Soul Edge, which suddenly is faced against a powerful mad knight named Veral, who searches Soul Edge for his own desires.
- As in Soulcalibur, there is a "Museum", containing character artwork, various videos (like Arcade Intro or WMM intro and Ending) and Weapon Exhibition (or "katas"). There is also the "Profile Viewer" (to see character's stories) and "Battle Theater" (to see CPU vs CPU battles).
- Like before, some characters are granted with 3rd costumes, purchased in Weapon Master Mode. Out of the 25 selectable characters, 13 of them were granted a 3rd costume: Astaroth, Cassandra, Ivy, Mitsurugi, Nightmare, Raphael, Seong Mi-na, Sophitia, Taki, Talim, Voldo, and Xianghua. It should also be noted that Link has four costumes (exactly like the ones that he has in Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64), and Assassin, Berserker, and Lizardman each have 6 different costumes (3 color edits of their 2 standard costumes).
- It was the first game in the Soul series to feature the option to hear the characters speak in Japanese or English.
The game is set 4 years after the end of Soulcalibur, which based on calculations from a timeline released on the Soul Archive website, puts the game's story in the year 1591.
The wave of slaughters that terrorized Europe reached a sudden end. The knight in azure armor, Nightmare, and his followers were successful in collecting enough souls and were about to start the restoring ceremony on the ruins of the once-proud Osthreinsburg Castle. But just as the ceremony was to start, three young warriors assaulted the castle. In a matter of time the clan was defeated and Nightmare stood in front of the young warriors wielding the Sacred Trinity. After an intense battle Nightmare fell, but then the evil soul inside Soul Edge sent the young warriors into a vortex of hellfire and stood to confront them. As a result of Soul Edge's evil aura, Krita-Yuga revealed its true form: that of the Holy Sword, Soul Calibur.
The intense battle ended with the victory of the holy sword, but at the collapse of the vortex of Inferno, both swords along with the azure Nightmare were sucked in a void and expelled in another place. Siegfried Schtauffen, who was until a moment before the Azure Knight, restored his mind. Recognizing his sins, he set on a journey of atonement. Still the blade held a strong bond, and every night it took control of the body and took souls of those nearby. The efforts made by the young knight were fruitless, and four years later the Azure Nightmare returned.
Around those times various warriors came into contact of the blade's remaining fragments, revealing Soul Edge's ultimate survival after its defeat. Driven either to possess or destroy it, they join a new journey, while Nightmare starts his rampage anew, seeking souls to restore Soul Edge once again...
A number of new characters were added in Soul Calibur II along with most of the characters from the previous game. Raphael and Talim's playing styles are entirely unique, while Cassandra and Yun-seong's are derived from established characters Sophitia and Hwang, respectively. Charade, like his predecessors Edge Master and Inferno, switches his style to those of random existing characters with each individual round of fighting. Each of the home versions also included Necrid, who was not included in the arcade version of Soulcalibur II. Necrid, like Spawn, was personally designed by comic book artist Todd McFarlane. Characters in bold must be unlocked.
- Astaroth - Giant Axe
- Cervantes de Leon - Long Sword and Pistol Sword
- Isabella "Ivy" Valentine - Snake Sword
- Kilik - Bo Staff
- Maxi - Nunchaku or Three Section staff (Due to censorship)
- Heishiro Mitsurugi - Katana
- Nightmare/Siegfried Schtauffen - Soul Edge
- Seung Mina - Zanbatou (Halberd) (Correctly spelled as "Seong Mi-Na" in subsequent releases, home versions only)
- Sophitia Alexandra (home versions only) - Sword and Shield
- Taki - Dual Kodachis
- Voldo - Dual Katars
- Chai Xianghua - Chinese Sword
- Yoshimitsu - Katana and Sashimono
New Main CharactersEdit
- Cassandra Alexandra – Sword and Shield
- Charade – Imitative Power
- Raphael Sorel - Sword-Rapier
- Talim – Dual Elbow blades (Bladed Tonfas)
- Hong Yunsung – Dao (Correctly spelled as "Yun-seong" in subsequent releases)
- Heihachi Mishima - Gauntlets and Karate-style moves (Playstation 2 exclusive)
- Link - Master Sword and Hylian Shield (Nintendo Gamecube exclusive)
- Spawn - Spawn's Axe (Xbox exclusive)
- Necrid - Transforming Energy called Enigma (home console exclusive)
The North American, Australian, and European versions of the game also contained three unlockable limited-play characters loosely based on characters from Soulcalibur:
- Assassin (generic thug, with a move list derived from Hwang) - Dao
- Berserker (generic thug, with a move list derived from Rock) - Double-Edged Axe
- Lizardman (generic lizardman from the army created by the cult order, Fygul Cestemus, in Soulcalibur. Has a strikingly similar move set to Sophitia and Cassandra) - Sword and Shield
Action Replay CharactersEdit
From the Soulcalibur character roster, the ones that did not return for Soulcalibur II as characters themselves were Hwang Seong-gyeong, Nathaniel "Rock" Adams, Lizardman (as the lizardmen in the game are not the same one as in Soulcalibur), Siegfried Schtauffen and Edge Master (when playing in Weapon Master mode, Edge Master's name can be referenced in the character classes while leveling up, such as "Iron Edgemaster", "Bronze Edgemaster", etc.) . Inferno is in the game, only this time, he is not a playable character. While Siegfried is not playable as a seperate character, he is playable as his alter-ego, Nightmare and Nightmare's 3rd Costume.
Soulcalibur II was rated the 18th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Powers Top 200 Games list. Media reviews of Soulcalibur II were favorable, as the game earned over 91% for all versions on Gamerankings.com, and commercially the game sold well. It has also earned a 9.2/10 from IGN.
The game also did well in the competitive gaming scene, both in the US and abroad, where it was featured in many tournaments for the years after it came out. The game was particularly noted for its balance, as many different characters placed in top levels in tournaments.
After repeated high level play, however, criticisms arose, most notably in some potentially game-breaking bugs which were found, including the 2G bug (which allowed players to block immediately after being Guard Impacted) and G-Step (which allowed players to sidestep vertical attacks and immediately cancel their sidestep, allowing for instant punishment). Many moves in Soulcalibur II are also safe, even on block (meaning that if they are guarded, their user will recover to a neutral state before the opponent can retaliate), and characters such as Astaroth benefit more from the Guard Impact system than others.
Game Rankings currently scores it 90.6% for the PlayStation 2, 92.9% for the GameCube, and 90.8% for the Xbox.
- E3 2003 Game Critics Awards: Best Fighting Game
- X-Play - 10th best GameCube game of all time
- Screwattack.com - 8th best GameCube game
Also, Soulcalibur II was often cited as one of the best fighting games of all time. For Gamecube, it received the highest reviews. Its overall score for Xbox, Playstation 2, and Gamecube was a 9.2 out of a 10.0 which was very good.