Soul Calibur V releases in Europe today, having been available in North America and Japan for most of this week. It came away with a headshot in Tuesday’s Soul Calibur V review, and if you’re thinking of joining the fight you’ll need to do some catching up to the rest of the world, especially as my main criticism was of how the game doesn’t do quite enough to get you up to speed on its new systems and massive move list. The info is all out there if you’re willing to spend time researching it though, so here’s some of the fundamentals of the new game:
Don’t let the dashing, hooded Italian on Soul Calibur V‘s boxart fool you. Namco and their rivals aren’t in the business of trying to squeeze a big release out every single year. They understand the value of leaving land fallow. It has been nearly three years since the last Tekken, dead on three years since we entered the fourth Street Fighter era. And Soul Calibur IV? Nearly four years old. The Soul series’ sixth instalment arrives this week, and it’s a game that reaffirms the series’ position as a major fighting game franchise whilst reacting to the less-than sweeping changes that have been wrought by its alternatives.
Well, something had to be left off the list: there were simply too many games. From August onwards we were buried under a huge pile of games that were not just hugely exciting, but typically expansive and demanding in review terms. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was as exciting a prospect as the rest, but it slipped through the net anyway.
But then, in this generation of scant exclusives, Uncharted is the single well established bragging point for Playstation owners: the perfect, colourful, lightish-hearted counterpoint to the 360’s one major new exclusive (Gears of War, dummy). It’s the birthright of any Playstation 3 owner and, as we have already established is quite good. And the third instalment was always likely to continue on that theme. And it does.
For a video-game character so obsessed with travelling blindly forwards, Sonic the Hedgehog sure spends a lot of time looking over his shoulder. Between the upcoming re-release of Sonic CD, the ongoing Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and the sidescrolling elements of modern titles like Sonic Colours, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Sonic Generations is slightly redundant. Nevertheless, it’s here and pulling no punches about being a celebration of twenty years of Sonic history: even the minimalistic story begins with Sonic arriving for his own birthday party, before an unknown creature rips through time and plonks lanky modern Sonic in the past with his pudgy younger self.
With Deus Ex Human Revolution out of the door and the team behind it presumably enjoying a little rest in between lighter DLC work, all eyes should rightly be on Eidos Montreal’s second team and their big project: Thief 4. Doing the rounds in the last couple of days have been 12 storyboard illustrations apparently from the game, posted on the portfolio of Vancouver-based artist Marlon Deane.
For all of their convoluted relationships, quests and all the arbitrary specifics of their canonical stories, the only thing that puzzles me about Namco’s fighting game mythologies is how some people actually manage to care about them. But they do, and Soul Calibur‘s habit of dropping in guest characters has long been a source of acute pain for those who can wrap their heads around the game’s tale of two swords better than I can.
The ridiculous thing about this retrospective is that I bothered to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 at all.
I love the damned thing of course, but I’ve reached the point where playing it is entirely redundant. It’s not like I expected to find anything new. In fact, I’m all but certain that there isn’t anything new to see. I’ve stumbled across every single route, bust open every box and collected every ring. I may as well sit beneath a bodhi tree and play the game etched into my mind – the aspect ratio is a lot better and there’s always the outside chance I may reach enlightenment. Which would be just swell.
SEGA have sent through the official launch trailer for Sonic Generations, bucking the recent trend in ‘launch’ trailers by being released somewhat close to the actual release date (Uncharted 3 we’re looking at you. Well, actually, we’ve been looking at you for two weeks and waiting for you to get to it, but whatever).
With apologies to Sony and the fine folks at the ever talented Naughty Dog, we’ve just realised that the upcoming Uncharted 3 hasn’t been mentioned on the site for something like four months. Let it not be said that Uncharted 3 is a game that is not coming out soon. In fact, the truth is quite the contrary: Uncharted 3 is very much a game that is coming out soon. In under a fortnight to be precise.
One wonders how many Sonic fans and detractors were made twenty years ago when the original Green Hill Zone blast-processed its way onto their screens. Sonic the Hedgehog was certainly a game that flashed its knickers in its opening moments: showcasing the speed of its engine, its gameplay and the potential beauty of its levels. In fact, whilst the subsequent levels offered a far more thoughtful platforming experience, they had nothing like the same visual flair. The Green Hill Zone is Sonic in many minds, for better or worse.