Universal acclaim - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 45
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 45
  3. Negative: 0 out of 45
Buy On
  1. 100
    For the vast majority of the gaming world, this is quite easily the best 3D beat 'em up ever made.
  2. Hyper-intuitive gameplay, well-produced audios and visuals, and an extreme sense of style make for the greatest traditional fighting game of all time.
  3. The absolute best fighting game available on the GameCube.
  4. A hardcore gamer's fantasy game come true. With Eight-Way Run, Air Control, Guard Impacts, and all these other techniques in your holster, you can spend weeks training with just one character. [Sept 2003, p.103]
  5. 95
    Essentially more of the same great stuff that made its predecessor the genre-defining game that it was, but in the context of the present day and the corresponding competition, the impact of such a game has been greatly reduced.
  6. Surprising the controller was really easily to use in this game, and not a hamper like in other fighting games. I am not big on using the analog control stick for fighting games, but Namco did a great job because every move performed worked flawlessly!
  7. The amount of impeccable polish applied to Soul Calibur II is nothing short of astonishing. It rivals every fighting game in the history of gaming, and has raised the bar for every game yet to come.
  8. There is no word to express how fantastic this game is. It combines outstanding graphics with loads of modes and characters, a good soundtrack, and brilliant, brilliant gameplay. Not only that, but the amount of stuff to unlock is unbelievably huge, and the game is also extremely addictive.
  9. 94
    The addition of weapons to the fighting game mix has put the Soul Calibur series in its own arena; the intensity of clashing blades and the strategies afforded by their behaviors makes the game feel more visceral than any of the other fighters on the market.
  10. Soul Calibur II won't impress you as much as its predecessor, since you've seen most of these characters, their weapons, and their moves before, and the available gameplay modes are nothing out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, on its own terms, Soul Calibur II is by all means a great fighting game.
  11. Other than the game’s well-performed music, the sound is nowhere near the quality as that of the game’s controls or visuals.
  12. 100
    Of the three console-exclusive characters, Link requires the most finesse to stay competitive but not so much that younger players will get frustrated.
  13. 100
    There isn't a better 3-D, weapons-based fighting game on the market.
  14. With 200 items to unlock, eight different modes, and Link as a playable character, Namco has certainly delivered an impressive package for fighting game fans. Yet if players look closely, they’ll see the package is wrapped using recycled paper tied together with frayed twine that has a few too many loose ends for such an important sequel.
  15. The game looks great, sounds better, and has more depth than 3 fighting games put together.
  16. 100
    Given the game’s top notch presentation, tight and accessible gameplay with considerable depth and veritable endless buffet of modes and secrets to unlock, Soul Calibur 2 is a no-brainer purchase for fighting fans. [Import]
  17. Edge Magazine
    No other beat 'em up developer is quite as willing to experiment with the form in a bid to stave off the moribundity that's gradually subsuming the genre. [Import - June 2003, p.88]
  18. 90
    No two battles are ever the same, something new always seems to crop up each time. It is the essence of fun, dedication and competition that causes players to continue competing and hoping to get better. [JPN Import]
  19. GMR Magazine
    The control in the GameCube version is suprisingly good, with buttons intuitively arranged and response time razor sharp. The Cube SCII is nearly as sharp is the Xbox version, and GameCube owners get the coolest exclusive character in Link. [Sept 2003, p.63]
  20. Put in enough time and you will find you are able to block, sidestep, counter, throw and special move your way to an impressive amount of “perfects”, without ever reaching the ridiculous heights of some games whereby a newcomer has no chance whatsoever.
  21. Nintendo Power
    I say this without hyperbole: Soul Calibur II is the best fighting game ever created. The game's beautiful graphics and fantastic control are exceeded only by its incredible character balance. [Oct 2003, p.136]
  22. There's a certain point in gaming where you just stop thinking about semantics of criticism and let a moment take you. It's probably after Nightmare scrapes his hulking sword across a castle wall with sparks nipping at Talim's feet as she runs up the wall ready to slice back at her aggressor. No two-digit number can validate the pure exhilaration of that moment.
  23. 95
    Though the controls are a bit goofy at first, the graphics and sound make the game highly palatable. The addition of Link, while wholly out of place, was a good choice, as he is an excellent character to practice, learn with and master.
  24. Perfection in a fighting game. It does exactly what it says on the tin and about 200% more.
  25. netjak
    Bigger and prettier than its predecessor, but it really doesn’t do much to move the series forward. Everything that made the original great is still here and improved, but there is very little that is new to the series, and even the things that are new seem more toned down than perhaps they should be.
  26. One of the best 3D fighters out there. Weapon Master mode creates a worthwhile single player experience, and the numerous other modes will keep players busy for months. [Import]
  27. Fluid controls, good graphics and sound, and gameplay that rocks the gaming world proclaim this one a winner. The Weapon Master and other modes will keep you busy for a while, and the multiplayer fights seem to never get old.
  28. There is no doubt in our minds that this is the finest 3D beat-'em-up we have ever played on any system, but as massive fans of both Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, we can't help but be a little disappointed. [Import]
  29. It's one of the best looking games you'll ever have seen, it's fast, punchy, boasts simple, accessible controls - the Gamecube pad's never seemed quite so complementary to a beat-'em-up - and offers rich depths for those who go looking. [NGC]
  30. Admittedly, it’s not as huge a leap in technology or innovative gameplay over the original that I would have liked to seen, but then again, the original game was already quite close to perfection, even in 1999.
  31. A pretty good game, but it could be way better. Some of the matches are very easy, I beat the final level just by kicking him to death, never used a weapon.
  32. The word 'masterful' comes to mind. But then, it comes to mind in regards to nearly any aspect of the game you might care to name.
  33. For all its flash, it still begs the questions: Do visible nipples add anything to gameplay? I’ll let you decide.
  34. Game Informer
    I had my doubts as to how he would fit into the fold; but after putting this game through its paces, Link is now - far and away - my favorite character on the SC II roster. In my humble opinion, he's reason enough to invest in the GameCube version. [Oct 2003, p.126]
  35. Every character, human, demon, lizard, and Hylian, moves with realism.
  36. One of the best fighters on PlayStation 2 and without a doubt THE very best for GameCube and Xbox. Maybe this tells just how incredible and ahead of its time Soul Calibur for Dreamcast was.
  37. The Gamecube controller is not well suited for a game like Soul Calibur 2. While it has the four buttons necessary to play the game, the sliding grip on the shoulder buttons makes for poor controls of a special attack bound to one of those controls.
  38. Cheat Code Central
    Unfortunately the GameCube is my least favorite in terms of control, with the PS2 being the most comfortable controller to use... The GC D-Pad is entirely to small and finicky, the Xbox D-Pad is too rounded and sloppy but the PS2's just right.
  39. Playboy
    Unfortunately, Soul Calibur 2 doesn't include an option to download content from the Net, nor is there a component for online play, so all fashion critiques are confined to your living room. [Aug 2003, p.32]
  40. 100
    A noticeable step forward in the evolution of the genre. "Virtua Fighter 4" might hold the top spot among hand-to-hand fighters, but when it comes to weapons-based combat, Soul Calibur II is the undisputed champion.
  41. The controls in Soul Calibur II are nearly flawlessly executed.
  42. GameNow
    SCII is a rare thing. It has expertly designed fighting mechanics, a gorgeous graphical presentation, and a magnitude of features and play modes... The fighting still feels perfect. [Grade = A+ ; Sept 2003, p.48]
  43. Entertainment Weekly
    With seemingly countless missions, weapons, and strategies, Soul Calibur II is the latest and greatest contender in the arena of thumb-numbing fighting. [5 Sept 2003, p.L2T 22]
  44. A great game. It's got all the goods you'd expect, from solid gameplay to smooth presentation. But where the game comes up short is giving you things you don't expect, and considering that the series is in many ways unchanged since it first hit the PSX back in 1997, that’s a shame.
  45. Play Magazine
    With the grace, speed and precision of a great 2D fighter placed exactly in a 3D mold, Soul Calibur 2 is the only fighter I'll need for a very long time. [Oct 2003, p.72]

Awards & Rankings

#5 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2003
#1 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 156 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 156
  1. Jun 22, 2011
    One of the best DC games ever get one of the best fighting game sequels to date. Pros: Excellent graphics, sound, and control; likableOne of the best DC games ever get one of the best fighting game sequels to date. Pros: Excellent graphics, sound, and control; likable characters; lots of easy-to-learn combos; lots of single-player and multiplayer modes; Link is the best of the trio's exclusive characters. Cons: No online play. Full Review »
  2. ArturG.
    Apr 4, 2005
    This IS the best fighting game ever!
  3. ChristopherP.
    Nov 22, 2003
    It obviously looks great and plays smoothly but i just don't think it's a significant step up from soul calibur. the toning down ofIt obviously looks great and plays smoothly but i just don't think it's a significant step up from soul calibur. the toning down of guard impacting and parrying i think was a mistake because defense is extremely difficult now. button mashers can very easily win against all but the most expert of players, and the whole atmosphere, from the visuals to the music and sounds just lacks the esthetic qualities of the original. it's unnecessarily frustrating as well due to the underpoweredness of some of the most impressive moves and the overpowering of quick, tap-tap-tap moves. it just loses its appeal too fast. Full Review »