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 Gamescom: Soulcalibur V's Smooth Mechanics 

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PostSubject: Gamescom: Soulcalibur V's Smooth Mechanics   Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:34 pm

by Colin Moriarty

Back in the day, I was a pretty big fan of fighting games. Ever since
my older brother purchased Street Fighter II for our SNES some 20 years
ago, I was quite enamored by the genre. My affinity of fighters reached
its apex when, during the Dreamcast era, I fell in love with games like
Power Stone and -- you guessed it -- Soulcalibur. But after spending an
insane amount of time with Soulcalibur II on the GameCube, I moved on
and never really gave the series a second look. There were just too many
other games out there to play.


But after getting hands-on time with Soulcalibur V,
I couldn't help but wonder if it was time for me to step back in and
give this franchise another look. It felt fluid and fun, and I'm looking
forward to seeing the final product when it drops sometime in 2012.
Obviously, Soulcalibur V is the fifth core game in the series (sixth if
you count Soul Edge and ignore the other spin-offs), but it remains true
to the series' roots. It's a 3D fighter with weapon-wielding characters
going at each other, but unlike a title like Bushido Blade, there's
nothing realistic about any Soulcalibur game, V very much included.



Then again, that's part of what makes Soulcalibur a popular series, and
why Soulcalibur V proved to be a lot of fun for me. Obviously, Capcom
dominates the fighting scene with its 2D offerings like Street Fighter
IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but there's a place for a fine-tuned
weapons-based game like this. And better yet, there have been some
refinements made to the series that I think will allow it to compete
with some of its powerful contenders within the genre.


What appealed to me most about the game wasn't only the roster of
characters that we currently know about, but also how many characters
look to be in the final game. When the character select screen was
sitting there and one of the developers was talking to us through an
interpreter, I couldn't help but count the on-screen character slots.
While only eleven of them were filled, there were 30 in total. When I
inquired how many characters would be in the final game, the developers
told me that they weren't ready to say, though I could certainly count
the squares and figure things out for myself. And that's just what I
did.


Characters that were new to the series, as well as characters
Soulcalibur fans are plenty familiar with were both playable. I gave
Siegfried and Tira, both characters that aren't new, a try. But other
journalists played as characters ranging from the familiar, like Voldo
and Ivy, to the new, like Patroklos and Z.W.E.I. There seemed to be a
nice balance of characters, those with small weapons and spry attacks,
and those with larger weapons that can deal more damage. Nothing felt
unbalanced, though I'm sure there's plenty of fine-tuning left to be
done.


Round one. FIGHT!
What
I enjoyed most, though, was a new feature called the Critical Edge. The
Critical Edge is a new gauge that fills up as your character deals
damage. Eventually, it allows your character to perform a special attack
with the same, fairly simple move-set that transcends any character on
the roster. While these attacks aren't as over-the-top as special moves
are in games like Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, that's part
of their charm. They don't (usually) stop the action outright or create
a match that's unbalanced. Rather, they are executed seamlessly into
the action, providing a far smoother and more fluid experience.


Soulcalibur V is still a ways out. Much of the roster of characters has
yet to be revealed, and the only release window we were given during the
presentation was a nebulous "2012." Still, the hands-on time I was
granted while at Gamescom planted it on my radar. I just hope the
execution of the final product proves to be as fun as my short time with
it was here in Germany.


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