Where Soul Caliber IV shows its true colors is in the character creation mode. As the player uses his/her custom character the more the game opens up and unlocks different fighting options. Variety in game play and characters seems to be the goal here, and the gamemakers seem to be right on target.
Depending on which version you choose, the Xbox or PlayStation version of this game, they seem to balance out each other in what they can do. The PS3 version allows you to download the entire game to your hard drive to give quicker load times, but a new download for the 360 will allow you to do this with ANY 360 game so this is a moot point. Of the guest Star Wars characters, Yoda on the 360 seems to be the better character to fight with. He can jump around and is more agile, whereas Vader is slower and harder to maneuver, especially when using combos. When using their force powers they can throw around other fighters. The one odd thing is that a character like Vader isn't able to use a choke hold and that Yoda isn't able to throw around BIG objects like an X-wing. The last and most mysterious Star Wars character is a new one from a game that's not even out yet, the Apprentice or Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
A new feature called "Critical Finish" is more like the fatality moves in Mortal Kombat. It is primarily used to punish players who block too much and makes the Soul meter deplete, allowing them to be more easily defeated. Soul Caliber IV is an online mode feature. As a player online you level up with each victory and leader boards show the most successful combatants. There are different ways that you can fight such as just good old brawling or the use of super combat skills you have acquired and see how you do with other online players. You can also have quick re-match's that sometimes take a bit to get going due to Internet connection speed, but even with this there was a lot of thought and work put into this feature on both the PS3 and 360.
There have been a ton of fighting games over the years and whether this one will end up a classic or just another defeated opponent on the heap is still up to the fans. The one thing that may make it classic is the "create-a-character" mode, its one of the best features they could add to this game and it makes it shine. So with a bit of classic and new this is one of the best fighting games to come out in some time.
Soul Caliber IV ★★★★✩
Rated- T for Teen. Publisher- Namco Bandi Games America. Platform- PlayStation 3, Xbox 360. Retail- $59.99