Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Comparison Between Soul Calibur 2 and Soul Calibur 4

Hi there,
 Today I'd like to discuss and compare two Soul Calibur games from different eras and different gaming consoles.
Recently I bought SC2 (Soul Calibur 2) from my local Gamestop for about 8 bucks since
I've heard a lot about how great SC2 was and how much better it was compared to SC4 (Soul Calibur 4) and I wanted to see for myself first hand.
SC2 was originally released in 2003 for the GameCube,Xbox, and the PlayStation 2 with each of the consoles having exclusive characters as follows: Link (Legend of Zelda), Spawn (Todd McFarlane),Heihachi Mishima (Tekken).
While SC4 was released in 2008 for the Xbox360 and the PlayStation 3 with exclusive Star Wars characters for each console: Yoda (360), Darth Vader (PS3) The Apprentice (Both).

Read on to see if SC2 is actually better than SC4 or just highly regarded by those for it's nostalgia!
More after the Jump!

For this discussion I will be talking about the GameCube version of Soul Calibur 2 and the Xbox 360 version of Soul Calibur 4.
 I got the GC (GameCube) Version of SC2 mainly because of Link and I'm also not into playing on the other consoles or with their characters.

It might surprise you, but Soul Calibur 4 was actually the first Soul Calibur game I've ever played. Even more surprising is the reason. Star Wars Characters. Yep that's it. Never would have even cared if it hadn't been for them but that's another story.
I only rented it when it first came out and was more of a button masher without any training.
But last year a friend of mine bought me SC4 for my B-Day and not too long after that I was on Live playing against people of all levels and learning from experience and training.

Anyway enough about that! It's time to get started!

Speed and Pace
In SC2,it seemed much faster when moving your character,attacking, sidestepping,and guarding.
After playing SC2 for a while and going back to playing SC4, it felt slower.Like attacks, movement and especially sidestepping. I was actually surprised on how different they were in speed.
Nightmare has never looked better than this.
Well I have to admit, SC2 didn't have a lot of moves per character and some characters even shared moves.
Like: Sophitia, Cassandra, and Lizardman. Now the three I mentioned were not clones of each other but they shared quite a bit of moves. They are other characters in SC2 that have a similar deals. But plenty of them have their own unique movesets like: Ivy, Tailm,Cervantes,Maxi, and etc..
 Also on a personal note since I play Siegfried on Sc4,  Nightmare on SC2  feels like Siegfried with a little bit of Nightmare's moves sprinkled in. 
So I got to hand it to SC4 because in it, each character has a nice library of original and unique moves (with Yoshimitsu's being as long as the Old Testament). Though some character went through some drastic changes which could be seen as a good or bad depending on the changes.
SC2 Screenshot from Gamespot
Maybe it's not a direct part of the gameplay but it is quite important to the overall gaming experience because good or bad graphics can make or break the game depending on the game.
Now of course SC4's graphics are better then SC2's since they were made 6 years apart which is 4 years short of a decade.  But even so, when I first put that SC2 Disc and watched the opening intro, I was amazed by how beautiful the graphics were for a game that was released so long ago. It looked almost as good (possibly better) then something you'd see on an Xbox360. Now the graphics in the game aren't exactly as good as the intro but they certainly aren't too shabby either.
Also SC2's Intro is probably my favorite Soul Calibur intro because of how well it was paced,showed all the characters,cool fights, and most of all..the epic musical score.
SC4 Screenshot from GameFAQs
Compared to the Xbox360 controller, the GameCube controller (in my opinion) isn't really suited for Soul Calibur. It's just the button layout is a little strange but it's not impossible to get used to it. Though playing both back to back might feel a little weird. Honestly it's not much of an issue just something I thought I'd mention.


The only Guest Character so far that actually fits into the Soul Calibur Universe.
SC2's Arcade Mode is pretty much SC4's Story Mode since each character has story specific lines and all face the final boss. Though SC2's is longer.
Also Inferno is the final boss, who has one of the coolest (or hottest if you prefer) musical themes in SC2.
Anyway after defeating him you see a small slideshow (with some nice art)of what happens to the character the player has chosen to play as. If you've played SC4's Story Mode you'll know what I'm taking about(except for the art ,it's a cut scene and a wall of text).
Only thing is with Arcade Mode is SC2, you don't have special abilities or weapon effects like in SC4.
Honestly SC4's story mode was two steps backwards because (from what I've seen and heard) Soul Calibur 3's Story was longer, had cut scenes, and had more of impact on the player watching and playing as the story unfolded.
Another Screenshot from Gamespot
Weapon Master
In this mode you play as your own character (in name only) and journey though lands to find the powerful sword known as Soul Edge while facing many enemies on the way in which you must defeat under certain conditions in order to proceed on with your journey. Also during this journey you may unlock weapons (to buy in the weapon's shop),characters,stages, and other things.
Weapon Master seems pretty similar to SC4's Tower of Lost Souls.
But unlike ToLS (Tower of Lost Souls), Weapon Master has more emphasis on the what kind of weapon you have your character wield which gave different amounts of power, defense, and special abilities.
Instead of what kind of armor (or lack of, get to that in a sec) or rings you equip your character with that give certain skills. Like: Draining an opponents health,giving Impacts damage,Auto Impact, and etc..
Now all that is fine and dandy, but I think there were somethings with equipment stats that were not right.
For example: How is it that a Tee shirt that doesn't even cover the belly gives your character more defense then a armor chest plate? Does that even remotely make any sense!? Seriously?
That and I think they should put more emphasis on the weapons you give your character since they kinda lost their impact in the overall process of making one's character in SC4.
I also found WM more challenging because having to defeat you enemies under certain conditions seemed like you couldn't just spam your way to victory (like inToLS, which I did before I knew how to actually play). Sometimes you were required to do wall combos or air combos and that was the only way they would take any damage while still able to attack you the usual way. Or having to make sure your character never hits the ground because it'll be an instant K.O. Or you'd have to hit the enemy 20 times under 20 seconds which easier said then done. Lot of challenges like that, and the original story for Weapon Master was quite cool as well even if it was mostly in text.

Well that's pretty much all I can compare the two in when it comes to mode since SC4 doesn't have modes like:

Team Battle Mode (kinda like Arcade with ability to play with multiple characters,similar to some level's in SC4's ToLS except for the "drop-in/drop-out" feature)
Time Attack (here you have to defeat your opponents before the time runs out)
Survival Battle (here you pretty much have to survive for as long as you can or till you defeat the final boss. It's kinda like ToLS Descending mode)
Training Mode (Ok so both games have this mode but they don't seem to be that much different though I think SC4 improved it a little)

All of which SC2 has.
Also each of the modes listed above has "Extra" versions of them where you can use weapons with special abilities acquired in Weapon Master. For those who play SC4, think of these as Special Vs. versions of these modes. Not only that but that, but each of the above (excluding Training I believe) has an Alternative Mode which is pretty much Very Hard versions of these modes. They are quite hard too, believe me.
And not in the "Spam with lows and Grabs" kinda way like EdgeMaster Difficulty in SC4.

For a mode that as little to nothing to do with gameplay there is the  
Museum where you'll find artwork and various videos which both games have.
SC2 however as more than just that, like:
Weapon Exhibition (here's one for example)
Profile Viewer (Basically it gave Bios for each character and all their taunts,grunts,attacks,and other voice work.)
Battle Theater (Here you could watch computers duke it out if you like. I remember doing this with Super Smash Bros. Melee and how interesting they could be. Haven't tried it yet with SC2, but it'll probably be better then some of the spamers and noobs I see online)

So overall I think I understand why Soul Calibur 2 is spoken so highly of in the gaming community because of it's speed and for having more offline content but I think Soul Calibur has improved since then in plenty of ways to like having online play,deeper story (SC3 not SC4, definitely not SC4), more characters and moves, better graphics, and better voice acting ("Don't...cry."-Mistsu). Though there are ways that it hasn't and has actually gone backwards (even futher than SC2) in certain areas.

With Soul Calibur 5 coming out in the first quarter of 2012, I am hopeful that this new installment will have the speed of SC2, the deeper story and bountiful offline content of SC3, and better graphics and better (and hopefully more) online then SC4.
So I'm looking forward to picking up and playing the latest chapter of this tale of souls and swords eternally retold.

Anyway I hope you all enjoyed reading my thoughts on the matter and I would love to hear your thoughts too in the comments.

Thanks for reading! : )
 Come Again!

1 comment:

  1. I definitely am hype too for SC5! It looks like the gameplay's gonna share some similarities with Street Fighter 3 i.e. Critical Edge -> Supers, Brave Edge -> EX Moves, Soul Gauge -> Super Gauge. This meter management is very much like a 2D fighter thing.

    Having played both game, I'm looking forward to how the new mechanics are gonna fit the new SC. Of course, I also want the deep story mode of SC3 to come back!