Playstation Reviews: Soul Edge

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Review: Soul Edge (Soul Blade)

Without a doubt the most stunning graphical fighting feast ever to grace any console, Soul Edge (Japan), or Soul Blade (US) is the next PlayStation game that you must buy. Fans of fighting games (2D or 3D) will be in ecstatic glee when they obtain their copy of this next Namco masterpiece, and with good reason; this is the first game which is actually superior than the arcade version!

Firstly, let's talk about that introduction. Never, ever has there been CG intro like it. It betters Tekken 2, Wipeout XL; indeed any game you care to mention. Mitsurugi strikes two foes in a cornfield during sunset, and the effect is real. Li Long stands on a raft as it flows along a river winding along a deep ravine. And Taki's breasts actually sway and bounce as she leaps about an emperor's castle, throwing down fluorescent runes and destroying a hideous devil samurai. Nothing you've seen will prepare you for this graphical masterpiece; indeed, Namco have rendered an entire valley which only appears for two seconds in the intro; this is how hardcore the introduction is!

Then you'll find that the in-game graphics are also nearly as stunning and you'll be blown away by the light-sourcing, the stages made entirely from 3D textured polygons and the super rocky-steady 30 fps animation. Let's take a random stage; you're fighting in a bamboo forest in bright sunlight, a small cave next to the ring and various paper symbols are blowing in the breeze. Halfway through your fight, the light darkens to night; a floating ghostly head floats in the cave, spirits fly about the arena, and drifting wisp-o-the-wisp balls of green light flit about the playing field; as your fight continues. Take it from me, you won't even have come close to seeing this type of graphical perfection on the PlayStation before.

So the graphics are great huh? Well the gameplay's also pretty damn special; you've got a whole host of characters, playing identically to Soul Edge Ver. II (arcade), but with the added benefit of increased details on some stages (water on the Li Long raft stage for example), all the modes present in Tekken 2 (Practice, Survival, Time Attack, Team Battle), as well as Edge Master Mode, where an epic series of plot-based fights await you. As you progress, you'll be awarded up to nine different weapons (all which can be used in two-player fights), and each fight will be under different conditions (you're poisoned, you fight three characters one at a time; you get the picture). This is just great, and guaranteed to keep you hooked for days. Each weapon has different attributes and this effects every fight in different ways. Pretty awesome stuff... especially as the total number of weapons is over 80!

There's two swipe attacks, one kick and a block button (exactly like Star Gladiator) and ring outs only if you float your opponent. But who cares about that; you'll take to this game instantly; you want to know more!! Well; Cervantes and Hwang are playable, Soul Edge himself looks totally cool, there's five different costumes and up to four different endings for each character (which aren't CG, they're real-time), and we've found (but not played as) two hidden characters (Tanegashima with a bow and arrow) and Han Myong (the master of Hwang).

Pre-order your copy now. This is worth paying just for the intro. Fortunately, Namco have including a fully-rounded and phenomenally playable fighting game into the bargain. This is the PlayStation conversion of the century; Sony should thank their lucky stars they have Namco on their team... Okay, enough prattle; check the screenshots; there's going to be a lot more of them very soon... En garde!

- Chief Hambleton

Please Note: This review was based on a 90% complete version of Soul Edge