Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 53 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 53
  2. Negative: 0 out of 53
  1. Feb 5, 2012
    90
    A superb fighting game that stays true to the great legacy Namco's series has. New and balanced fighters along with many modes and great graphics make this one the best Soul Calibur we've seen in years.
  2. Jan 30, 2012
    90
    SoulCalibur V is a great game with amazing visuals but above all what makes the game super fun to play are the new mechanics, easy to pull out but deep and perfectly devised in the legacy of the franchise.
  3. Jan 28, 2012
    90
    Soul Calinur V is way better than the fourth chapter, and it finally manages to refresh the series, respecting its own legacy at the same time.
  4. Jan 21, 2012
    89
    Faster and more aggressive, SCV is what the series needed. Long term fans may bemoan the changes, but this is the perfect starting point for newcomers. [Feb 2012, p.94]
  5. Feb 13, 2012
    87
    A very pretty and smooth beat 'em up with quite comprehensive character customisation options. The single player game modes are quite good, but what's with the lack of survival? [Feb 2012]
  6. Feb 1, 2012
    87
    Soul Calibur V enjoys its triumphs, most notably the strong online element, as well as its shortfalls, such as the flat story and relative dearth of extra content. In spite of its mostly positive gameplay tweaks, though, it's in no real danger of reinventing the wheel. That's OK with us. In this fifth installment, Soul Calibur is as easy to enjoy as it ever was, and it brings with it enough new stuff to more than justify its existence.
  7. Jan 31, 2012
    87
    Stunning visuals, challenging gameplay-tweaks and new game modes - the fifth installment is an excellent comeback for the Soul Calibur series. Because of the confusing training mode and the lack of a tutorial, getting behind the new fighting techniques can be difficult at first. But it's well worth putting time and effort into this, as the fights will become more and more thrilling.
  8. Jan 30, 2012
    87
    Soul Calibur V doesn't offer anything new for the genre, but is a great title with many hours of amazing fighting gameplay to offer.
  9. Feb 15, 2012
    86
    A gorgeous and playable fighter that offers a strong alternative to Street Fighter and Tekken. [March 2012, p.86]
  10. Jan 31, 2012
    86
    Project Soul got a lot right with SCV, and I enjoy it, I just wish there were more content, specifically more offline modes of play. I find myself bouncing back and forth between offline and online play, slowly becoming content and fatigued with both.
  11. 85
    One could easily dedicate hours and hours into perfecting each character and making any opponent look like a complete tool without even hitting triangle, square, or circle...It'd be hard, and require a lot of discipline and practice, and luck in my case, but it's possible.
  12. Feb 6, 2012
    85
    It's not as deep as Street Fighter IV or the Mortal Kombat reboot and the story mode is just awful. There's still, however, a lot of fun to be had with this game and the character creation mode guarantees hours and hours of extra playtime.
  13. Feb 3, 2012
    85
    SoulCalibur V does as much right as it does wrong when it comes to delivering the perfect fighting game package. While the single-player portion is riddled with the absence of modes that made the series what it is today, its most important aspect -- well balanced gameplay -- far exceeds my expectations.
  14. The rush you feel when striking down an opponent with a perfectly timed swing from your mighty sword remains one of the best and unique experiences in the entire beat 'm up-genre. SoulCalibur still can't compete with the likes of Capcom's fighting games, but it's getting close. [February 2012, p.90]
  15. Jan 31, 2012
    85
    Soulcalibur V is the next-gen Soulcalibur that I've been wanting as a fan for years. At the same time, it's nothing if not more Soulcalibur. Now if Namco Bandai would release a DLC pack with the full Soul Calibur II roster, I could finally retire that disc.
  16. Jan 31, 2012
    85
    Soul Calibur V has greatly evolved in the gameplay department. In doing so, though, the game lost a lot of single player content. Great news for the competitive community, not so much for common gamers.
  17. Jan 31, 2012
    85
    The singleplayer story may not be that long, but it's definitely worth playing and a good training for the arcade, Legendary Souls and multiplayer modes. Whereas the soundtrack is a bit repetitive, strong graphics and varied characters are big pluses. Who doesn't want to test his skills against players from around the world? Preferably in a good fighting game such as this.
  18. Jan 31, 2012
    85
    Faster, deeper and more dynamic. The team has done a remarkable job balancing the fighters, putting the focus back on fighting and developing a robust online mode, with plenty of room for a healthy community. A real back-to-form for the series.
  19. Jan 31, 2012
    83
    SCV reinvents the series again, and implements a number of changes that add layers of complexity and depth to a winning formula. The new Street Fighter-centric direction is surprising, but one that still works within the general framework without being overpowering. While plenty of single-player content can keep you busy for months -- much like the original -- in the end playing with friends and real opponents is the best way to experience Soulcalibur.
  20. Feb 6, 2012
    81
    Soul Calibur V is a competent, good-looking fighter that's great with multiple players. It has much of the charm and style that has been the franchise's calling card over the years, and diving into the mechanic will yield rewards for the patient. But the story campaign is so goofy and nonsensical, the lack of popular characters will annoy some fans, and overall, it just feels like a lesser-quality installment despite the lack of any glaring flaws.
  21. Feb 15, 2012
    80
    Soulcalibur V doesn't change the formula and doesn't even try. A fighting game in the purest form, that we all know and love for years. A few delicate tweaks and a robust online mode make you come back for more.
  22. Feb 13, 2012
    80
    While I am disappointed with the removal of Weapon Master Mode and the terrible story, I simply can't deny that SoulCalibur V is a great fighting game. Adding in the critical metre makes for a deeper game, but it still feels like SoulCalibur. I regard SoulCalibur II as the best in the series, and while SoulCalibur V isn't quite up to that masterpiece, it's still has soul that's burning brightly.
  23. 80
    With its trimmed down roster of fighters, a laughably bad story mode and a general lack of options as well as gameplay-variations, Soul Calibur 5 could easily be called guilty of having jumped the gun. But then there's the beautiful visuals and the top-notch playability. Fighter animations are sublime, the characters very detailed and the controls are super-smooth. And in the end, that is what counts.
  24. Change can be a scary thing, but the developer's gamble paid off: SCV is the most fun we've had with the series in years. [Mar 2012, p.78]
  25. 80
    Soul Calibur V shows that Namco's soul is alive and well and, of course, it is recommended for fans and for those who are a little tired of fighting in 2D.
  26. Feb 6, 2012
    80
    The soul will burn forever. Soul Calibur V plays superbly and is ideal for multiplayer and personalisation. It probably could do more to build and coerce the player, but fans of fighters will have a blast.
  27. Feb 3, 2012
    80
    It's hard not to recommend Soul Calibur V. The balanced gameplay makes for an open invitation to new players, and stalwarts of the series will find a return to form for the series. Even if you're not that into fighting games, the depth and variety in Create a Soul is a game unto itself.
  28. Feb 3, 2012
    80
    Soul Calibur V could have been so much more. As it stands, it's a solid fighting game that feels a bit hollow. It misses the creative modes that made the series unique in the first place.
  29. Feb 3, 2012
    80
    What Soulcalibur lacks in Single player content, it makes up for it by having solid gameplay mechanics, fantastic visuals, and fairly good roaster of characters.
  30. Feb 3, 2012
    80
    SoulCalibur V stumbles in several big ways, but luckily what counts the most – gameplay – shines as brightly as the holy blade the game is named after. If stubborn fans can get past the new cast and gameplay tweaks, they'll find that what made previous SoulCalibur games so great is all still there.
  31. Feb 2, 2012
    80
    Casual fans will be in awe at the sheer beauty and polish of the game. Hardcore fighting game enthusiasts will appreciate the adjustments made to the fighting engine. Players looking for the most bang for their buck might be disappointed with the sparse selection of game modes, but should look into the character creation mode to keep them busy.
  32. Feb 2, 2012
    80
    Now that I'm done crying about content, let's get down to the real reason to play Soulcalibur V. The gameplay has been improved for the better. Regardless of my gripes, it won't stop me from trying to be the best Chun Li-with-a-sword player I can be. This Soulcalibur is definitely worth playing.
  33. Jan 31, 2012
    80
    Prettier, more accessible, and more varied than ever. This is one of the best new 3D fighters of recent years, even with a horribly disappointing story mode.
  34. Jan 31, 2012
    80
    Soul Calibur V is for both new and experienced players. It makes it easy to for you learn the basics of the game, but if you want to win against skilled opponents then you better start practicing. Most moves are really cool, but juggles are somewhat overused and some characters are just horrible.
  35. Jan 31, 2012
    80
    This game looks better than before and contains some good improvements. It plays faster and feels more dramatic. There is a lack of enough offline content but online it's better than ever.
  36. It all adds up to the perfect environment for a game that rewards timing, perception and strategy in a way that just about any gamer can understand. But don't be intimidated by the good looks and graceful moves; shimmy on over and get to know Soulcalibur V. You've got nothing to regret but the shakes.
  37. Jan 31, 2012
    80
    Soul Calibur V represents a strong return for the series, with battles more hard-hitting and free-flowing than ever before. Long-term fans might bemoan changes to the core mechanics, such as the removal of Critical Finishes and Guard Impact, but it's hard not to view most of its additions as progress.
  38. Jan 31, 2012
    80
    Whilst the story may only clock in at around three to four hours, it still feels worthwhile and, in all honest, probably isn't what's going to draw most into a fighting game anyway. The arcade mode may be disappointing, but there's enough in general (particularly with the online) to keep pretty much any fighting fan happily occupied.
  39. Jan 30, 2012
    80
    SoulCalibur V is a great fighting game with a completely new fighting system. The Project Soul team has done a great job changing the fighting mechanics, with few big mistakes around game modes and the character roster. This is a great new beginning for the saga.
  40. Jan 28, 2012
    80
    On a straight fighting level, SoulCalibur has never been better, and, although it might be locally anorexic, the multiplayer side offers more than any Soul titles since the original Calibur made the Dreamcast a must-have. [Issue#118, p.94]
  41. Jan 25, 2012
    80
    There's no faulting the fighting here - it's balanced, it's brutal, it's beautiful, it's brilliant. It's easily up there with the essential multiplayer titles on PS3. Yet the supporting single-player modes are so flimsy and weak, we have to deduct marks. [Issue#214, p.78]
  42. Jan 25, 2012
    80
    It's still a Soul Calibur game, but Project Soul has successfully designed it for a wider audience of casual and hardcore players alike, which was a key factor in Capcom's successful reinvention of its revered series. [Feb 2012, p.108]
  43. We love the fighting that is present in SoulCalibur V because it's fast, inventive and approachable; but those improvements are all but squandered on threadbare single-player that's basically a bootcamp for pushing players online. That transition is fine if you've got the mad skills. However, newcomers may find that SoulCalibur V will too soon limit them to either replaying quick battles ad infinitum (to unlock useless hairstyles and arse-less chaps), or going online to be thoroughly pantsed by the grandmasters. [February 2012, p.72]
  44. Jan 31, 2012
    76
    It's still fun, the characters are still bursting with personality, and despite my misgivings about the style, the story is still memorable. It's not a complete departure for the series, but the move away from classic characters may be indicative of the series as a whole turning away from its roots. And that may be something to worry about when we finally get around to talking about SoulCalibur VI.
  45. Feb 14, 2012
    75
    SoulCalibur V is meant to be played with people; anybody expecting a rich experience from the singleplayer, like that found in earlier entries in the series, will be disappointed. Play with friends or online and it's easy to quickly discover a deep and rich fighting system that can be a lot of fun.
  46. Jan 31, 2012
    75
    Fans looking to relive the experience of SoulCalibur's early entries may be irked by this game's new additions. But once the steep learning curve is surmounted, you will find a fresh-yet-familiar fighting system that's fun to explore.
  47. Jan 31, 2012
    75
    Soulcalibur V is at its absolute best with friends, when it's testing your skill, reaction times and trash talking ability. The combat is still great and the graphics are still beautiful. Outside of that, it's a slight disappointment, as this is the weakest single player experience in the series yet. The game just never attempts to give us something we haven't seen before.
  48. 70
    A good genre piece brings fans hundreds of hours of entertainment. Japanese poetics with schoolgirls wearing katanas and thin knights with iron swords are worth seeing. [March 2012]
  49. Feb 19, 2012
    70
    The combat mechanics are easy to pick up, but the advanced techniques ought to be more than enough to keep things interesting. Regardless of its shortcomings, Soulcalibur V is still a fun and engaging game. That's all what really matters.
  50. Feb 13, 2012
    70
    Apparently the devs ran out of money and couldn't polish the game the way it deserves. SoulCalibur V had a big deal of potential – a lot of great characters and a cool fighting system – but simply feels unfinished. [March 2012, p.54]
  51. 70
    It's a competent fighter, yes, but nothing about it really screams "must-have" unless you are a diehard SoulCalibur fan.
  52. Feb 7, 2012
    70
    Soul Calibur V ultimately feels rushed. The modes are shadow of their normally robust nature, the character list has been reduced severely, and the net code is not as good as it should be. It seems like Namco was desperate to get in on the fighting game revival and rushed this out. I expect better from this series and with so many fantastic and cheaper fighting games out, such as King of Fighters XIII, Mortal Kombat 9, and even Soul Calibur IV, I cannot recommend the game to anyone but the most hardcore of Soul Calibur fans.
  53. Feb 1, 2012
    70
    It's easy to sell goods that are supposed to be good. However, when authors simply copied everything great from the Street Fighter game because they were not able to deal with their own worn-out game concept by themselves, there is something wrong. We want you to better take care of tenderfeet. We want more bonus content. And we want some fresh juice. SoulCalibur is far from going down to the second league, however, there's no play-off this season. Fans of the series will most likely buy it, the rest of you just take it easy and wait for the all-star mainstream: the Street Fighter x Mortal Kombat game.
User Score
6.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 131 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 47
  2. Negative: 9 out of 47
  1. Feb 5, 2012
    5
    The Soul series of fighting games have always been a breed apart - where other fighting game franchises have focused on fast and frenziedThe Soul series of fighting games have always been a breed apart - where other fighting game franchises have focused on fast and frenzied action, high-count combos and twitch reactions, Soul was different in the sense that it required elements of patience. You never had to worry about your guard breaking, because you were meant to constantly shift your position or quickly intercept an attack with a well-timed block. You never had to worry about one mistake costing you the match (in most cases) because juggles and combos, while present, took a backseat to a more deliberate style of fighting. It wasn't a scrap, it was a duel, and you had to do less outplaying of opponents than you would OUTHINK them, and this was a refreshing change of pace in an era where the Marvels and Guilty Gears of the world were focused on finding ways to use one more gauge. Soul Edge/Blade brought a new idea, SoulCalibur perfected it, and SoulCalibur II immortalized it. SoulCalibur III was released on the PlayStation 2 without an arcade playtest preceding it (for a Japanese fighting game, that's never a good thing) and as such had massive issues that plagued it, and SoulCalibur IV felt like it had an identity crisis - it didn't know exactly what game it wanted to be, and could never find a comfortable place in between trying to remain relevant to the changing tastes of the genre and maintaining its own unique sense of class.

    With that said, SoulCalibur V is a descent into full-blown manic schizophrenia, and is easily the most unnecessarily contrived attempt at revitalizing the franchise. Somewhere along the line, I imagine someone at Namco Bandai had to have said "I wonder if we'd do the franchise and its fans justice if we only took the system back it its roots," but I'm sure that genius was ignored or fired for speaking not only a great idea, but the truth. Whoever came up with the conceptual gameplay ideas for this title needs psychological evaluation. Probably rehab from whatever rocks they were smoking, too.

    First of all, let's talk gauges. SoulCalibur didn't have a "guard crush" anti-turtle mechanic until SC4, and they connected that to a one-hit-kill system that was almost impossible to initiate because it took forever to whittle down someone's guard. So, they thought up a better idea than half-heartedly stealing a Guilty Gear gameplay trope was to steal a Street Fighter one: enter the new gauge at the side of the health bar, which powers Brave Edge moves (think EX specials), Critical Edge moves (think Ultra Combos in SF4), and Guard Impact. The first two on this list are lame additions to try to add a false sense of complexity, but the last one kills not only me, but I'd be willing to wager 80% of the existing, longstanding fanbase.

    Guard Impact is to SoulCalibur as a series what breathing and blinking is to human life. They decided to change the way it's worked for the past 13 years for some reason, whatever reason that may be, it wasn't good enough. In its place is "Just Guard," where you need to block at the exact frame (or nearabouts) to cause a window of counterattack. This has taken a system that caused tense parry wars and impossibly exciting action between friends and foes alike and successfully reduced it to trying to tap guard at just the right moment of any incoming attack. So, they took yet another great 2D mechanic and plastered it into a game where it really didn't belong (you have Garou: Mark Of The Wolves to thank for Just Defense). Again, they have taken the rich complexity of chess at a hundred moves a minute, and reduced it to Connect Four on a PixyStix sugar rush.

    Every step isn't backwards, however. The music is fantastic, classic tracks and new alike. The visual fidelity is stunning, backgrounds pop and come to life, characters have ornate clothes, lip-sync is very well done for speaking animations. The online netcode is beyond solid and functions like a dream (X360). The character creation mode, a SC staple since SCIII, is easily the greatest part of the whole game. This is what every character creator should be, and Namco Bandai should carry that proudly. It's just a shame that the game that uses all of these sublimely fantastic elements should perform so underwhelmingly, and I'm not going to even go into the abysmal story mode and complete lack of single-player content, again, something the Soul series is not only known for, but carries high praise and accolades for those very features in past games. Let's do the math: major characters missing, balance issues out the wahzoo, a fighting system that doesn't deserve the name SoulCalibur, a complete and utter lack of meaningful single-player anything, fantastic presentation in which everything shines but the gameplay itself, atrocious storyline...it all equals a five, and it really should be a four, but the rest of it shows such high workmanship that I can't bear to not give credit where it's due.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 7, 2012
    1
    Story: ~1hr to beat. Note: this involves a few fighters. The rest -omitted, you get to fight on a few stages. The few people that do show upStory: ~1hr to beat. Note: this involves a few fighters. The rest -omitted, you get to fight on a few stages. The few people that do show up have 1 line of dialogue. Almost the entire cast of SC5 is not in the 'story mode'. Wow! Big effort Namco. ~3 cut scenes in story mode. The rest is pencil drawings. Yeah, I prefer pencil drawings on my 60" 1080P HDTV. Thanks Namco for 1996 & chargingfull price for a 'new' game. It's as if Namco scanned the storyboard pencil drawings that should have become CG video or even in-game-engine sequences & decided "Nah, we're 2 cheap. Let's use pencil drawings instead." I almost forgot, you're going to hear a LOT of "I love you brother/sister/mother" in story mode. You get to hear those words & READ them 2. Why? cuz you can unlock the text. cuz that is SO much more fun than unlocking katas (e.g.SC2), different gameplay modes (e.g. SC3) & ending movies (e.g. SC4).

    Arcade: Remember picking a fav fighter, pick their 1P/2P/3P costume, select their diverse weapon set? Play through arcade/story & unlock their 'ending movie'? That was fun & rewarding. Namco removed that part of the game. Yes, no story mode for the remaining people in the game. All fighter endings are gone. No option to view the cutscenes, all 3 of them. That's right, they removed all the endings. Want to know what happened to Astaroth? Raphael? Amy? Taki? or Cervantes? Good luck, cuz all that is missing from this game. What did they replace it with? You get a sad arcade mode (fight 6 times) Yippie! cuz that is *so* much better than full CGI endings (sarcasm). Oh, I forgot they added a 2nd arcade mode. What is different about it? You get to fight 6 times (sound familar?) and... The difficulty is higher. rip-off. Even SF2/MK1 had ending movies We've got HDTVs, 3D games, lossless high-def master audio surround sound & what does Namco give us? pencil drawings & text descriptions of "Loves his sister, can't wait to live with her". WTF?

    Chronicles of the Sword/Tower of Souls: GONE. Replaced with... ??? Nothing. It is just gone. You have arcade (fight 6 times), training (worthless), & VS mode (which doesn't work properly). Oh wait, you can fight online.... except you could already do that in SC4.

    Reduced: Taki, Sophitia, Kilik, etc are gone. But you get 3 ppl that are mimics (copy other styles),add 2 more that have ~identical styles [Sophitia's son & daughter], that seems 2 be an extra 2 fighters, it's more clones, that makes 5 mimic fighters.

    Museum Mode/Gallery mode/photo mode/Kata mode: GONE. Replaced with: Nothing.
    1-player: All standard modes like time attack, team battle, tower of souls, survival, ARCADE, gallery, etc. ARE ALL GONE. Nothing to do in 1-player. This stands out since previous SC games had a strong single player (i.e. SC2). Using your fav. fighter & level them up by playing a variety of matches? How cool it was to have reached level 10 with everyone? This led to further rewards in-game... GONE.
    2-Player: Good luck trying to get this working. It took over 10min+ to get a VS match. Oh, & both players were sitting IN THE SAME ROOM. Remember how you could handicap your fighter compared to your opponent? i.e. in SC4 you could have 1/2 health & your little brother could have X2 health. Help even out matches where someone is less skilled, it was useful & a staple in SC? GONE.
    Training: Games typically give you info on new features & explain how 2 use them? it's good 2 have this info? Namco doesn't provide it. Yet they tout it as 1 of the main features. Contrast that with SC4 which provided it. Namco couldn't be bothered to copy some text into the game to help out players. Oh wait! They do have text... yes they provide lots of text about love....(More later). Training mode is reduced compared to SC3/4. Gone.
    Unlockables: Oh how we used to collect artwork, concept art, music, weapons, movies, opening CGI sequences (complete with inserting your CaC into those sequences), BGM, kata (demonstration) mode & all sorts of other fun stuff? Well That is all gone too. But you CAN unlock things like these wonderful TEXT descriptions. E.g. I just unlocked "Loves his sister." Wow, that is great Namco. A... piece of text? What can I do with it? I can have it appear when I play online. Wow.... that is supposed to be better than having Taki or Sophitia in the game? RIP OFF!!!
    Options: No 3D support (Arkham City/Assassin's creed). Remember changing time limits/round? You could select 'infinite' time/round, have a fight 2 the finish? GONE. Namco decided to force a max limit [60 sec]. Thanks for giving me LESS options than before.
    I've been with SC series from the start & SC5 is a joke. I even explained to Namco (via Twitter) what was wrong with SC4. In fact, 1000's of fans explained exactly what they did/didn't want. Yet Namco gave us this? Reduced, reused & recycled over-priced POS.
    Full Review »
  3. Feb 1, 2012
    3
    If you have never, ever played a Soul Calibur game before, don't bother. If you have, and loved SC4, you'll love this one. This game isn'tIf you have never, ever played a Soul Calibur game before, don't bother. If you have, and loved SC4, you'll love this one. This game isn't even worth the label on the blu-ray. Absolute stripped down bare-bones single-player modes combined with a terrible story mode that focus' on two unlikeable characters does much to put another nail in this series coffin. It has hope, but any semblance of the series returning to the high of SC3 is long, long gone. Full Review »