Soul Calibur: Lost Swords
  


 

PREVIEWSoul 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).
 

Sophitia makes her return from Soul Calibur IV.

 
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).
 

Siegfried demonstrating a "red" elemental attack.

 
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. So far, Sophitia, Taki & Amy have made their return from Soul Calibur IV... and there may be others on the way. I suppose it would be pretty cool to see some more 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.


I've been playing the Japan version since it came out in February (and all my stats conveniently transferred over when it hit PSN in North America). After playing Lost Swords for several months on and off, I'm still not feelin' it. The dumbed down movelists (yes, even more dumbed down than in SC5) put a bad taste in my mouth from the start. On the bright side, the movelists aren't deteriorated enough to make me not want to play the game at all. There are actually a ton of new combo strings per character, which reminds me of Soul Edge / Blade in some weird way... and dare I say some of the combo possibilities are actually kinda fun (as fun as beating up on silly CPU AI can be). For many moths since the game's release, painfully SLOW load times were easily among the game's biggest flaws... but the load times have been remedied since the Sept. 2014 patch (1.2).

 

   

   

 
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Page Updated: October 8th, 2014
Developer(s): Namco (Project Soul)
Publisher(s): Namco Bandai
Artwork by: Takuji Kawano (character artwork)
Platform(s): Playstation 3
Release Date(s): Feb. 6th, 2014  ()
April 22nd, 2014  (/)
Characters Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Sophitia, Pyrrha, Astaroth, Nightmare, Ivy, Hilde, Taki, Patroklos, Cervantes, Raphael, Amy, Seong Mina

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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   
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Innovation   
Art Direction   
Customization    
Options / Extras    
Intro / Presentation    
Replayability / Fun    
"Ouch" Factor    
Characters    

BOTTOM LINE

   

 

 

First Impression:

Welly welly welly welly well.... Project Soul sure 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 massive 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?

Overall, Lost Swords feels more like a typical "shallow" mobile phone game than a console game (and probably would feel much more natural on a portable system). Lost Swords also 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. And 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. So 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 generic items that never seem to match. Overall, it's pretty embarrassing on many levels... and it seems like a bad joke, at best?

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). Leveling up your character RPG-style is sort of fun in its own way, and the Survival style missions are mildly satisfying, notably 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 also adds a multiplayer-esk element to the game... but it doesn't seem like it's being used to its full potential.

I wish Soul Calibur: Lost Swords was more like Tekken Revolution... I really really do. Lost Swords is certainly off to a rough start, and whoever is running the official Soul Calibur Twitter page doesn't seem to understand how Twitter works. (P.S. You don't need to post the same update on Twitter for a week straight). Due to all of this, I'm actually a bit concerned where Soul Calibur is headed in the near future... but something tells me Soul Calibur 6 will set things straight (no, that hasn't been officially announced).
 
~TFG Webmaster
 

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