It’s been a long time since SoulEdge on the first Playstation. That game was easily the best vs fighter for that system using the mechanics of the hugely successful Tekken franchise and adding in weapon based combat at a time when the Highlander TV series was the highlight of evening viewing.
On the XBox consoles it’s the Dead Or Alive franchise by Namco rivals Tecmo that has paved the way for this kind of one on one combay. And I have to say that Dead Or Alive, even in it’s earlier incarnations, has a level of control and fluidity I founding missing in this game.
While the game is 3D rendered it seems more fixed on the 2D plane. There’s a certain level of dodge or sidestep but nothing that gives the freedom of movement I’d like. And I miss ring-outs dropping the action down to another platform.
I found story mode to be quiet tortuous in the contrived narratives the game wanted you to read before you headed in to the same formulaic 5 rounds regardless of the chosen character with no real relation to the backstory.
I found the ladder mode the most interesting. Very similar to story mode in construction but more interesting in difficulty progression. You pick two or three characters to as a tag team and must see how many levels you can clear in single bout fights with two or three opponents in each level.
As ever these game are most fun if you can find a friend for the second controller and take on ever increasing grudge matches against a real opponent.
One nice feature when beating friends to a pulp is the inclusion of Darth Vadar from the Star Wars universe. Yoda is available as a downloadable character. This provides some obvious fun with the Death Star hanger backdrop.