The quest for the all-powerful sword known as Soul Edge continues and fighters around the world compete for the right to wield its power. This time fighters can unlock and use over 200 different weapons and items! When it comes to weapons-based combat, Soul Calibur 2 is definitive the winner of the genre! The ability to acquire and use different weapons for each character is actually a feature in contrast to its predecessor. The various weapons have special properties, but having greater offensive power at the cost of some defensive power now. Also those weapons do not change the character's fighting style and they are mostly just graphical replacements! The game features seven game modes including Arcade, Time Attack, Survival Mode, Versus Mode, and Team Battle.
Much like its predecessor, gameplay involves four buttons, corresponding to your character's horizontal slash, vertical slash, kick, and guard. Using various combinations of these and the directional pad, you can make your characters unleash dozens of different moves. Of course, fighting games are best when played against other human players, and so Soul Calibur 2 offers a two-player mode which gets just as entertaining as the previous installment in the series.
Another interesting feature of the game is, the exclusive console-specific characters according to the different system versions released: The PlayStation 2 version features Namco's Heihachi from the Tekken universe, while the Xbox version contains Todd McFarlane's Spawn, and the GameCube version boasts Nintendo's Link from The Legend of Zelda fame! Pretty interesting, isn't it?
If you played and enjoyed the original Soul Calibur, you'll also enjoy the sequel since it's so much like the first game adding extra features.
Soul Calibur 2 is by all means a great fighting game, and Namco has done a fine job of making a top notch title!
Graphics are astonishing! It takes use of the Gamecube hardware capabilities to its limits and uses them to create a visually stunning package. Many of the character (and background) animations are recycled from the previous game but for the most part the game runs smoothly at 60fps and features lifelike character models that have all been expertly motion captured! Backdrops is something you'll notice from the beginning, and each stage is beautifully designed and heavily animated at the backgrounds! Every once in a while, you might detect a very slight hitch in the frame rate, but this is something you can live with it and does not act negatively to the gameplay at all.
Sound fit in very well with the overall setting of each stage and character, offering a handful of audio-quality music and plenty of speech and other sampled SFX.