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
    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. Feb 1, 2012
    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.
  3. Jan 31, 2012
    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.
  4. Jan 30, 2012
    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.
  5. Jan 30, 2012
    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.
  6. Jan 28, 2012
    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.
  7. Feb 13, 2012
    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]
  8. Jan 21, 2012
    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]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 128 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 46
  2. Negative: 9 out of 46
  1. Feb 5, 2012
    The 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 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
    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 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
    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'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 »