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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the latest in the swordfighting brawler franchise. Since the emphasis is on one-on-one fighting, there's a healthy dose of violence, although none of it is gory or bloody. Characters dress rather provocatively. Expect to see plenty of cleavage or nearly-exposed buttocks. The game is playable online, a feature Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for kids under age 12.
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What's it about?
To inject some new life into the long-running series, designers for SOULCALIBUR IV call on The Force. The franchise returns with gorgeous brawling, robust features and the guest appearances of two Star Wars icons, Darth Vader for the PlayStation 3 and Yoda for the Xbox 360. More than 30 characters duke it out in a quest for legendary swords the Soul Calibur and Soul Edge.
The brawling breaks down between five main actions: Horizontal and vertical attacks, kicks, blocks and throws. Using a combinations of buttons in conjunction with moving toward a specific direction, you'll pull off an array of strikes. A colored Soul Gauge tied to your health measures performance. If it flashes red, you're left in a defenseless state called Soul Crush. From there you're open to all attacks, including a round-ending Critical Strike. Along with strikes, players can use power-ups to gain an advantage.
Is it any good?
Battles are incredibly fun and tailored to most levels of experience. You can button mash your way to victory or practice each character's deep roster of moves. While fighters are front and center, you can't help but notice alluring landscapes, particularly those based on Star Wars lore. Beyond story mode, there's a Tower of Lost Souls, a 60-floor tower players can ascend or descend by vanquishing as many foes as possible. For the first time, Soulcalibur players can take combat online. You can also explore leaderboards to see how you stack up against others.
Characters boast a broad range of outfits and weapons. Using the lightsaber as a Star Wars figure feels great, particularly when you hear the sword zip back and forth. If the game's 30+ characters aren't enough, you can hop into the character creator to build your own. Either choose a current character as a template or build from scratch. Gold you accumulate throughout your battles go toward purchasing new, more powerful weapons. Soulcalibur IV takes an already strong series and refines it for a fantastic fighting experience.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.