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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (454)

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Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4.5/5
Hammerwatch 3/5

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SoulCalibur V   PlayStation 3 

V for Very Familiar    3.5/5 stars

I've always been a fan of the SoulCalibur series for one reason - it really caters to the button-masher who can't be bothered with silly things like learning combos, defending or strategy. And SoulCalibur is really good at letting you release that inner button masher (especially whatever character happens to have a long stick to smack you with). I want to have fun with my fighting game - and while the AI stills gets off way too cheap combos (especially at higher difficulties), overall this series remains a fun diversion - but I feel bad for whoever paid full price when it was releases as it suffers from a major case of redundancy.

Presentation: Graphics-wise, the game has still got it. While I haven't had the chance to play many fighting games this generation, I have to think that SoulCalibur V has to be among the best-looking. Characters have expressions, the physics are believable and the variety of moves is still spectacular (even if it's all pretty much recycled aside from slapping some different skins on new characters). In that aspect, the game soars.

There is still a robust customization mode where you can create anyone from an evil Steve Jobs to a pink-colored nightmare. If you decide to take part in the one-on-one quick battles, you'll see just how bizarre people can be with both characters and voices. The downfall to this mode is that in order to unlock equipment, stickers and the like - you have to "level up" your character. This involves a lot of battling, and while you can unlock plenty in story and arcade mode - it's not near enough to get you everything. A fighting game that makes you grind? That's a bit mean. You can also unlock plenty of equipment in the Cephalus store - if you're a completionist you could easily double the price of your game (at full price, no less). These add-ons should really be like a $1 apiece. While you can make your character look great, don't bother trying to customize anything else - once you have your style, armor, weapons, weight - nothing makes a difference in strength, speed or anything else that might influence the fight.

Voice acting and music are average. Nothing really stands out, but nothing is really grating (not even the annoyingly peppy characters). It is fun to play with voice customization - you can make them sound great - from chipmunks to Darth Vader. Likewise the actual cut-scenes are nice to look at - but in story mode, they went with story-boards for the most part - and while they are not bad, per-se, they do seem rather... boring and cheap on the developer's part. Eh, I guess they had to save money somewhere for including everyone's favorite Assassin's Creed character.

Story: For a fighting game, the SoulCalibur series has always managed to tell a decent story - even if it has been somewhat redundant (bad sword turns you bad - good sword must defeat bad sword - rinse and repeat with different characters as you like). One thing I always like is that each character usually has some kind of story - even if it's only a brief little coda about what happened. Yet the biggest disappointment in SoulCalibur V is that the only story mode follows the rather bland Patroklos and his sister Pyrrha (neither of whom have the best fighting style IMO). Occasionally you'll take control of another fighter, and you meet a handful of the in-game characters, but in the end - this is the only story you get. It's a good story - it's certainly more well thought-out than previous games, but I still would have liked to see a little story for each of the other characters, even in it meant going through arcade mode with each one.

Gameplay: If you've played one SoulCalibur game, you pretty much know what to expect. As I never bothered to learn combos, if they changed any around, I didn't notice. As I stated, I'm a button mashing fool by nature, and when it works, it works and when it doesn't I curse up a storm. I dabbled briefly in the online mode - and obviously my strategy won't win any awards. Since the game has been since January, the online mode is already pretty empty. I don't see how anyone starting out now would be able to raise their online level very high without a lot of effort.

Overall: SoulCalibur V remains a solid fighting game - if you get it for a decent price. I would have been majorly disappointed if I had bought this day 1 - but down the line, if you need a sufficient bite-sized time waster, it does the trick. Customization is still fun, even if the overall game seems simplified. I wish they would have expanded the story aside from a couple characters, but otherwise it keeps thing on the level. They don't take many chances, but they don't mess things up too bad either.

Presentation: 3.5/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Overall (not an average): 3.5/5



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