Soul Calibur: Lost Swords
PREVIEW: Soul Calibur: Lost Swords is a free-to-play, single-player spin-off of Soul Calibur 5. Soul Calibur: Lost Swords features familiar mechanics to Soul Calibur 5, with some returning characters from the most recent installment. Like other fighting games experimenting with "free-to-play" models, Lost Swords features a variety of micro-transactions (full details aren't yet known). Lost Swords uses a "time-limited" credits system like most F2P games, where players must purchase tokens for continuous playing (or just wait 15-20 minutes for new tokens).
Strangely, Soul Calibur: Lost Swords ditches the multiplayer aspect of 99.9% of fighting games, and primarily aims to be a 1-player experience. The core gameplay is based around players collecting loot by defeating enemies and discovering / creating new weapons. As players defeat opponents, they will obtain new weapons as well as raw materials which are used to create new "elemental-infused" weapons. These color-coded elemental weapons are key to defeating certain opponents. Typically, you'll acquire a stockpile of loot (weapons & raw materials) that you can equip & power-up or sell for gold (which is used to infuse / power-up weapons). While playing through the mode, players will also unlock additional playable characters (which may also put some of that previously unused loot to good use).
Guard Impacts (high) make their return, and unlike in SC5, can be used at any time. New gameplay systems introduced in Lost Swords include the following: Soul Burst, Soul Break, Weapon Arts and the Support Characters system. Similar to armor break systems from past installments, a "Soul Break" occurs after certain conditions are met. When an opponent is susceptible to a Soul Break, a red aura ignites around them (known as a "Soul Burst"). When players break their opponent's armor, they will have a chance to collect a "drop" from the opponent if they defeat them within the time limit. "Weapon Arts" are powerful attacks which vary depending on the equipped weapon. These are similar to super moves from past installments, and are activated simply by pressing R1 (or 1+2) once the Weapon Art Gauge is full.
Finally, the "Character Support" system allows players to use other players' characters to assist during quests. After utilizing a "character card," the current fighter will be swapped out on the fly and the support character can be used for a short period of time. If your friend's character is a higher level than yours, this can certainly come in handy. There's also a level of strategy to consider when you and your support character have different elemental weapons. Returning characters have also been given a variety of new (and easy-to-perform) combo strings (ex. Hitting "A, A, A, A" is a new 4-hit chain combo for Mitsurugi).
Along with the characters already confirmed, Lost Sword's character selection screen contains many empty slots. Considering the game's title, one would assume that the "lost swords" might represent fan-favorite characters who went missing in Soul Calibur 5. For the record, it is said that Inferno, Cassandra, Patroklos, Pyrrha, Zasalamel and Nightmare can be seen briefly in the TGS '13 trailer. While these characters aren't yet confirmed, I'd say there's a good chance we'll be seeing them make the cut. I suppose it would be pretty cool to see some classics make their long-awaited comebacks, but then again... remembering there are no multiplayer options in this game just make me sad. While Namco declared this game to be single-player, I'm pretty sure they haven't stated that they "won't" eventually add multiplayer / versus mode in the future... just wishful thinking, I suppose.
Soul Calibur: Lost Swords was released on Playstation Network in Japan on February 6th, 2014. If you have access to a Japanese PSN account (like me), you can currently play the game (if you don't mind navigating through Japanese menus). Lost Swords is set to release in other regions sometime in Spring 2014.
Page Updated: March 14th, 2014 Developer(s): Namco (Project Soul) Publisher(s): Namco Bandai Artwork by: Takuji Kawano (character artwork) Platform(s): Playstation 3 Release Date(s): February 6th, 2014 ()
Spring 2014 (/)
Characters: Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Sophitia, Pyrrha, Astaroth, Nightmare, Ivy, Hilde, Taki
Related Games: Soul Calibur 5, Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, Soul Calibur 2, Soul Calibur 2: HD Online, Soul Calibur 3, Soul Calibur 3: Arcade Edition, Soul Calibur 4, Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny, Soul Calibur Legends, Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate, Tekken Revolution
Gameplay Engine Story / Theme Overall Graphics Animation Music / Sound Effects Innovation Art Direction Customization Options / Extras Intro / Presentation Replayability / Fun "Ouch" Factor Characters
Project Soul went in a much different direction than I ever expected. And I thought Soul Calibur Legends was a weird and unnecessary spin-off.... A single-player Soul Calibur game, with no multiplayer or VS mode at all? Obviously, that's a huge disappointment for competitive players right off the bat. Need I say that the majority of my best Soul Calibur memories are playing epic matches against skilled opponents? Nonetheless, I'll keep an open mind like I always do.
EARLY IMPRESSIONS: So I've been playing the Japanese version for a few weeks, and so far... I'm can't say I'm feelin' it. The dumbed down movelists (yes, even more dumbed down than in SC5) put a bad taste in my mouth to start. On the bright side, the movelists aren't deteriorated enough to make me not want to play the game. There are actually a ton of new combo strings per character, which reminds me of Soul Blade in a way.
Lost Swords emits a blatantly "noob-friendly" vibe that slaps any halfway-skilled SC player across the face on their first go-around. I'm really not sure if this game was made for veteran players at all. Even if it was directed towards new players, Lost Swords doesn't give the right presentation to get newcomers interested in the series. For starters, your selected character starts out fighting in their UNDERWEAR... for quite a while... until you can manage to "acquire" clothing items, new weapons, etc. Yes, apparently you start out as "homeless" in Lost Swords and have to fight for cloths. (Or it's like one of those bad dreams where you wake up in public in your underwear). And when you do finally retrieve some clothing, they're horribly ugly, generic items that don't match. Maybe I'm missing something in the translation, but it's pretty embarrassing on so many levels... it's seems like a bad joke that I don't understand.
Whether it's because I've been a fan of the series since the beginning, or because I want to see how bad the game can possibly get (or perhaps get better?)... somehow, Lost Swords is still in "some way" entertaining to me, even though the game is an incomplete mess in its current state. At best, Lost Swords seems like it's still in an early beta phase (so not all hope is lost?). The "Survival style" missions can be sort of fun, especially when your opponent enters a "Soul Burst" state and you're rewarded with additional loot for defeating them within the time limit. Being able to use a friend's character may also add a fun multiplayer-esk element to the game, eventually... I can see it having some potential once new characters are released. They also need to fix the stupidly long load times.
Tekken Revolution managed to get me playing single-player modes regularly again, so we'll see what happens with Lost Swords in the long run. Lost Swords is off to a rough start, but there's still some potential if they can clean it up in time for the North American release. In any case, I really would much rather be playing a "Tekken Revolution style" multiplayer Soul Calibur game. ~TFG Webmaster