Story (Well....I don't even think Old School Fighters Had This Short of a Story)
If you're looking for a story. You'll find one but comparing to the older ones. You pretty much got gypped. The story is pretty much 16 episode's long and you're forced to play Patralkos, Alpha Patralkos, Pyhhra, Pyhhra Omega, and Z.W.E.I. The only thing that makes this long is the A.I. will randomly be unforgiving during this mode and just beat you down till you cry. At other times the A.I. is pretty stupid. The story mode is very short and feels incomplete. If you wanted to know what happened to your favorite characters....well buy the special edition for the art book or look online somewhere cause you'll never know otherwise.
Character Creation (Pretty much what you expect)
What almost everyone likes in the SC series is back and rather improved. Now you have the ability to even add various tattoos, scars, etc and place them however you want. Unfortunately players with dirty minds took full advantage of this and place objects in inappropriate places.....what can ya do.....Probably the main downside to this is that parts generally have to be unlocked by raising your player level (luckily it can be autogrinded) and of course there's DLC hanging around for those few parts you're just dying to have.
Online Play (Its same in every game)
Its honestly not bad. I had no real problems with finding stable connections. Right now there seems to be a good number of people online. I like the ability to chat with text rather than a mic and be able to spectate at the same time. Downside to this is the same as any other online game however. You'll always find rooms with Rage Quitters, Trash Talkers, etc. you know the drill there.
Offline Game Modes (Short End of the Stick)
Soul Calibur was generally known for having tons of offline modes available. Unfortunately this game lacks heavily in that department. You have Arcade Mode (doesn't need explaining). You have Legendary Souls Mode (The Super Hard Mode), you have VS (not gonna bother explaining), and you have Quick Battle. Quick Battle is pretty much your closest ticket to online mode without going online. You fight set ghost characters and earn titles (240 in all). Searching for a specific Ghost or Title can be rather annoying as only 4 appear on the screen at once. You can narrow your search but you'll still have trouble searching.
Gameplay (Fixing things that wasn't broken again)
Like many companies today this game series has had another major tweak in the game. To be honest while fighting this game feels a lot more closer to a Tekken Game than Soul Calibur. This isn't cause of Devil Jin style or whatever. The combos feel a lot more like Tekken and the game itself feels like it relies less on getting reads and more on learning a combo and abusing it. There also seems to be a problem on moves for some characters that should get the full hits but rather allows you to guard in the middle of a 2 or 3 hit move. This might be due to the patch but its rather annoying when I see that happen at times (especially playing as Xiba or Maxi). Most matches I've played a lot of the players pretty much seemed overly reliant on landing the only combo he/she knows rather than attempt any other move. I dislike the fact that the game now has a super meter. I feel its rather unnecessary to the game, I'm actually growing to not using meter at all now. Honestly thinking about SCIV (Soul Calibur IV) the only thing I didn't like about it was how useless Critical Finish and armor breaking system was. The rest of the game was fine. But like most companies they take everything and generally redo it.
I'm 50/50 with the character roster. There's characters missing that should be in the game and there's characters that are pretty much watered down versions of there older selves. I do like the new guys in the game they seem rather interesting (I mean the new characters not the watered down clones). The moves list looks very limited compared to how Soul Calibur games usually have. You can reason that the clone characters are gone but, in my opinion none of the characters are really clones of each other. Around the time SCIII and SCIV came the character each had there own unique style. You could try to reason with me on it but I know the differences between them and I believe they're not clones in any shape of the word. Anyway this would actually be the first SC game where I feel I don't want to learn all the cast to some point.
The main 2 characters I dislike however is Ezio (Yes Ezio from that Assassin's Creed Game) and Devil Jin. Generally the 2nd (or 3rd if you count Yoshimitsu) time at Tekken character has been added to the game. BTW you remember that thing Jin/D.Jin always used that combos all the time. Yep that uppercut or what did they call it EWGF? Yeah that's in the game and just as abusable. Devil Jin himself isn't in the game but his fighting style is. Honestly if you were gonna add that style why not add the character. I kinda wanna hear him say "Fear the wrath of God" and his laugh again. Ezio I absolutely hate. I never liked the Assassin's Creed series and putting him in this game just makes my blood boil. His only saving grace is that he's actually a good Guest character in quite a long time. But nope you can't use character creation on him or make a character with his style at all.
Dampierre is the DLC character he honestly looks like a joke character at first glance and its easy to see why. But there are many players that seem to win with him all the time. I'm not downloading him as I need points and I rather spend my money on something else than a character I probably won't use.
Overall this game isn't as great as it should be. I've heard many people give the excuse that if they didn't rush this or had more time it would be better. But this is what we got. I have to put it near the bottom in terms of which Soul Calibur Game I liked from best to worst. So really next to the PSP one and Legends. This game lacks a ton of single player. Really this game was made for those that love the competitive scene. Casual players like myself will not find much to do in this game unless character creation is your thing. If Namco-Bandai, Project Soul, whatever wants to really grab my attention with a Soul Calibur game, the best idea I find is to make a Soul Calibur with all the fighting styles the game has had thus far that includes guest characters. You don't have to make the character again just make that style you did that with Aeon so why not everyone else?
- All the DLC cost about 30-35 bucks all together. Its pretty much Costumes, older game music (This is what my Ipod is for), and Dampierre. The rest of the DLC is pretty much costume patches to prevent from seeing naked characters online (well dressed in underwear).
- The online play like many fighters has pretty much ended up being Smash Bros. Mentality. A lot of players hate the use of certain characters or expect you to play a certain way with characters.
- To unlock the rest of the character creation items you must level up player points. Takes a very long time to do even if you're auto-grinding. Hope you don't RRoD.