Soulcalibur Legends Review

When I first heard about the upcoming Soulcalibur Legends for the Wii, back in May, a deep and honest feeling of excitement overcame the gaming side of my brain. I’ll go ahead and say it – I’m a huge Soul Calibur fan. (By the way, does anyone know when we started turning that into one word?) While I wasn’t entirely thrilled by the third outing on the PS2, Soulcalibur 2 (specifically on the Cube; gotta love Link!) was something of arcade-fighting perfection to me. It had fantastic arcade-style gameplay, incredible graphics, and a beefy single-player mode to boot. So, you can imagine my slight hesitation when I heard the title being designed for the Wii was, in fact, an adventure game. Still, I kept my hopes high, specifically for some stunning visuals and a kick-ass combo system. I’d like to take this time to personally thank Namco Bandai for providing neither of those to me.

It sure seems like the Wii has been getting a great deal of second-rate third-party titles. While the PS3 and 360 will be receiving Soulcalibur 4, Wii gamers are stuck with a pseudo-action adventure title. The trend of handing Nintendo’s white innovation shoddy versions of classic IPs is certainly starting to show (See: Resident Evil), which is just another reason to go snag an Xbox 360. But enough of me bitching about how I can’t properly engage in multiplayer battle with my Wiimote, let’s actually get into the game.

Despite having the classic Soulcalibur name tacked on, Legends really doesn’t resemble the series we’ve all grown to love past the aesthetics. Remember when Midway released Mortal Kombat Anthologies with Sub-Zero? Yeah, apparently the nightmare continues. Soulcalibur Legends is just a remarkably average adventure game with a lot of button mashin- er, excuse me, arm-swinging action. You take control of your fighter – of which, you have 12 to choose from throughout the game – and start physically hacking and slashing your way through. I wish there were more to tell you about the gameplay, but that’s really it. It’s a pathetically shallow attempt by Namco Bandai, and while it’s not particularly bad, we’ve all come to expect much more from the Soulcalibur IP.

Most of the time, fans of a particular series will go out of their way to purchase any and all new additions to their franchise, letting the average gamer steer clear. Surprisingly, this is not the case for Legends. In fact, the simplistic fighting and straightforward design make it almost perfect for that casual-gaming demographic the Wii is so catered to. Really, the main people who want to avoid this game are true fans of Soulcalibur. The Wiimote gestures are incredibly simple to perform and work properly a majority of the time, but at the end of the day, it boils down to radically swinging your right arm around while occasionally side-stepping using the nunchuck.

As you progress through the storyline, which involves wars, swords, and demons (oh my!), you continue to unlock various characters and weapon upgrades for each of them. At the start of each mission, you choose which character you’d like to play through as, and there are distinct advantages to each. I suppose it’s RPG-esque, but typically you just plow through with your most powerful or favorite character. Nothing groundbreaking, I can assure you. There are a decent amount of unlockables, but unless you’re willing to drone through hours of repetitive sub-par gameplay, there’s not much of a point to treasure-hunting.

Legends does support a nice widescreen and progressive scan mode, which is always appreciated (if not expected) in Wii titles, but there’s really little going on, visually. I swear they’re just using a slightly updated version of the Soulcalibur 3 engine. A few of the attack special effects do look pretty impressive, but seeing them over and over again doesn’t add much to the “awe” factor. Don’t get me wrong, Legends doesn’t look bad, but I know the Wii can do much better. Shame on the developers for using a past graphical engine on a new console.

Is Soulcalibur Legends a bad game? Well, it’s not awful; it’s just disgustingly run of the mill, and we really deserve better than that from such a fantastic series. While Legends might be a hit for the gamer born with a Wiimote in their hand, it doesn’t translate well with veterans of the series. But if you’re the kind of player who enjoys the occasional mindless repetitive hack-and-slash title (and particularly likes the Soulcalibur characters), this isn’t a terrible choice, especially seeing as how the Wii features very few games of this genre. There’s no doubt you’ll have fun for about an hour with Legends, but after the monotony of swinging sets in, there’s not much to come back to. Hardly worth my 50 bucks.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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