Video Game Review: ‘Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny’ Beautiful But Odd Game

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CHICAGO – What do you want out of a fighting game? Aren’t they designed around the social experience of picking up a controller and kicking your friend’s ass? Fighting titles even the playing field, allowing the wimpy kid to kick the football player’s ass with the right mix of animated moves. They are the ultimate revenge of the nerds. Video Game Rating: 3.5/5.0
Video Game Rating: 3.5/5.0

The games thrive because they allow people to vicariously kick, punch, and maim an inferior opponent, making a handheld fighting game without online multiplayer capability an unusual title before you even open the package. Is a fighting game without an opponent kind of like the sound of one hand clapping?

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
Photo credit: Namco Bandai

“Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny” is essentially a straight import of the excellent “Soul Calibur IV” from last year but the designers of the game have made the unusual choice of making a title that’s heavy on multiplayer play only playable in that fashion through ad-hoc. In other words, you can only play an opponent if they have the same game, a PSP, and are in the same room. What are the odds that the room you’re in will have a PS3 and “Soul Calibur IV”? Why would you not just play that instead?

Believe it or not, one of the elements not loyally imported from the console version is the surprisingly deep single-player content in “SC IV”. It has been replaced by “The Gauntlet,” a series of brief challenges designed that feel more like tutorial or training levels until you realize they’re not the set-up for the single-player portion of the game, they’re the meat of the title.

Of course, the title has standard “Arcade” functionality, so if you just want to pick it up and kick some ass, you can, but there’s no deep story to get the single player involved, leaving a title that feels like it has very little sense of progress through the game.

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
Photo credit: Namco Bandai

What does work about “Broken Destiny”? It reminds a player of the graphic capabilities of the PSP and it’s a shame that more titles aren’t being released and developed for the system. “SC: BD” looks amazing, nearly as good as “SC IV” but just on a smaller scale. The character anmations are flawless and the controls are easy-to-use and seamlessly intergrated into each fight. On a visual and control level, two of the most important gauges for the success or failre of any game, “Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny” is a home run.

The game is also massively customizable, allowing players to create their own characters, complete with unique fighting styles and ridiculous outfits. Now imagine if you could take those characters online and kick some ass while you’re slumped down in the back of the bus. Maybe next time.

‘Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny’ was released by Namco Bandi and developed by Project Soul. It is rated T (Teen). The title is exclusive to the PSP. It was released on September 1st, 2009. content director Brian Tallerico

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