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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 SoulCalibur V is a fighting game. That said, it's clearly a fantasy brawler and there is no blood, but battling against someone else is the name of the game. Along with multiple melee weapons, you can also punch, kick, and stomp on opponents to knock them out (K.O.) and enemies often scream in pain while defeated. Parents should be aware that the game can be played online with open chat so that kids can be conversing with strangers and that exposure is not moderated.
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What's it about?
As with its predecessor, SOULCALIBUR V is a weapons-based fantasy fighting game that pits two well-balanced characters against one another. For example, you have the nimble Maxi who uses nunchaku to hit and trip opponents, while Tira slashes a large "ring blade" as her main weapon. You can also create your very own character from scratch –- by playing around with many dozens of variables like gender, body type, weapons, facial features, and clothing. Speaking of characters, just as Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Apprentice from "Star Wars" were playable characters in 2008's SoulCalibur IV, this new disc features Ezio Auditore from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series as a guest character. Ezio, of course, relies heavily on his Roman longsword, hidden blade, and crossbow, to name a few weapons. The story is a bit tough to follow but proves to be a classic "good-versus-evil" yarn set in a fantasy 17th century Europe.
Is it any good?
SoulCalibur V is an action-packed fantasy brawler with lots to like. There are a number of modes to partake in, including offline battles against a friend or computer-controlled opponent; a multi-tiered training mode; quick-play arcade mode; online play against someone (with support for chatting and tournaments); or the story mode that picks up 17 years after the events of the last game. The story mode becomes more challenging after episode 17, where you'll find yourself on a huge battlefield against characters like Odor and Murk.
Gameplay is fast and furious as you attempt to K.O. opponents before they can do the same to you. The game boasts an 8-way run system (for true 3D movement during matches), multiple offensive and defensive maneuvers (including hits, throws, magic blasts, chained attacks, and blocks), and you can often use the environment to help inflict damage on opponents. Truly, these quick matches will leave your hands sore after a few minutes of play -- and don't expect to get away with random "button mashes" or you'll find yourself face-down on the ground in no time. In short, SOULCALIBUR V might not introduce a ton of new features to the series, but those excited about the return of this coveted fighting game will not be disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether fighting games are still as appealing today as they were back in their heyday (early '90s).
Has Namco Bandai lost the opportunity to advance the genre forward or is this simply what gamers want? What else could the developer do to make SoulCalibur fresh for a new generation of players?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Namco Bandai
- Release date: January 31, 2012
- Genre: Fighting
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Superheroes, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
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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.