Review

Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny

A Gameplay-Perfect Port Loses The Narrative Thread
by Adam Biessener on Sep 28, 2009 at 10:41 AM
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Project Soul
Release:
Rating: Teen
Reviewed on: PSP

For all intents and purposes, Broken Destiny’s gameplay is a one-to-one PSP port of last year’s excellent Soulcalibur IV. Namco once again delivers rock-solid framerates and reflex-testing action with this release. Though the fighting is indistinguishable from the series’ console flagship and the roster would be impressive on a home console, two problems prevent this from living up to the high standard set by SC IV.

The single-player content in Broken Destiny is a huge step backward from the surprisingly deep offering in SC IV. The Gauntlet tells an insipid story in between mostly 2- to 10-second challenges, and is useless outside of teaching new players about Soulcalibur’s A/B/K paradigm and series-specific concepts like Guard Impacts. Beyond this, you’re stuck with standard modes like Arcade ­and ­Training. 

The second issue with this title is that multiplayer is ad-hoc only. That means you can only play versus another human if you both have PSPs and are in the same room – and let’s be honest, who plays Soulcalibur like that? If you have a buddy and a couch, get SC IV and do it right. If you don’t, you’re stuck with Broken Destiny’s unremarkable single player.

As for the two new characters, Kratos and DamPierre, they’re as polished as anyone on the roster. Kratos is a slow, juggle-based warrior who has gaping holes in his attacks to make up for his silly combos. Think of him like Ivy, with better range and much less versatility. DamPierre is most reminiscent of Voldo in that he relies primarily on deception and often puts himself in a backwards or prone stance – either of which he can explode out of with ­punishing ­assaults.

The way you prefer to play your fighting games indicates whether Broken Destiny is for you. If Arcade mode versus a CPU opponent is all you need, this port’s remarkable gameplay will be a great fit. More social players who don’t have regular access to fellow PSP owners will be disappointed despite this title’s technically sound execution. Either way, this is undeniably Soulcalibur despite its smaller ­package.

 

7.5
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Game Informer's Review System
Concept A high-fidelity port of the franchise’s excellent fighting action, this brings all the combat but leaves behind some of the series’ recent single-player improvements
Graphics Soulcalibur has always been known for its visuals, and the PSP’s crisp screen does not disappoint
Sound The voices are poorly digitized, but the battles sound fine otherwise
Playability Soulcalibur doesn’t really use two shoulder buttons, much less four – and it plays better on a d-pad anyway. The PSP is a great fit
Entertainment “A bunch of nerds around a TV” is still the One True Way to play Soulcalibur, but this delivers given its constraints
Replay Moderately High