Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 92
    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.
  2. 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.
  3. Aside from the gorgeous visuals and multitude of goodies to unlock, the game's action will hook you in and won't let you go until the very last stage.
  4. That isn't to say SCII isn't a fine upstanding product; it is in spades. It just happens to be more than a little predictable and without sounding unappreciative, it's more or less like the excellent Dreamcast verison released back in 1999.
  5. I think I may have expected too much from this game, as it really isn't the Second Coming that I was waiting for. [Oct 2003, p.132]
  6. 96
    It's the best version of an extremely excellent game, on the most powerful system of this generation, and that's something to relish.
  7. 100
    For the vast majority of the gaming world, this is quite easily the best 3D beat 'em up ever made.
  8. 100
    Spawn's struggles with the forces of good and evil in the comic actually make him the best fit, story wise, of the exclusive console characters. His powerful strikes and air-based attacks also make him an extremely tough character to beat.
  9. The game looks great, sounds better, and has more depth than 3 fighting games put together.
  10. 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.
  11. Remains a solid, hard-hitting fighting game that requires skillful mastery of it characters and their unique fighting abilities all wrapped up nicely in a next-gen package that no fighting fan will want to miss.
  12. 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]
  13. Crisp, tight controls, hilariously dramatic dialog, and oodles of options make Soul Calibur II an instant classic. [Nov 2003, p.128]
  14. 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]
  15. 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]
  16. Soul Calibur II will satisfy most fighting fans with its smooth play and brilliant graphics. It stands easily among a handful of other games as one of the best fighting games of all time.
  17. The Xbox version is the prettiest of the bunch, sporting HDTV support with a 720p display mode, yet it also suffers from the worst default control layout... "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.
  18. Soul Calibur II just oozes replay value. From the extensive Mission mode, the 23 characters you can unlock, the 10 game modes, and over 200 unlockable weapons and costumes means that you will be playing this for a long time, and that is supposing you don't have any friends to play multiplayer with.
  19. Looking, sounding and playing as brilliantly as ever, it's such a relief to know that the hype behind this game can be believed. [Import]
  20. The biggest let-down though is that Soul Calibur 2 feels much more like a remake than a true sequel. [Import]
  21. The perfection it consists of is almost unmatched by any game to date. The blend of weapons, gameplay, control, graphics, and sound is downright superb. Fighting styles are different from character to character and the sheer amount of replay value this game has is remarkable.
  22. Those who purchased the original and probably played it to death will find themselves asking why this game has been in development for the best part of three years; it's along similar lines to annual sports updates in terms of innovations and enhancements, so why such a wait???
  23. The controls in Soul Calibur II are nearly flawlessly executed, and considering the Xbox and Gamecube controller configurations, just making a fighting game playable, let alone as fluid as Soul Calibur II, is a miracle unto itself.
  24. Bland techno or rock riffs are common staples of fighting games, but SCII takes a much more elegant route and utilizes an orchestral soundtrack. Simply put, it works wonderfully. The voice acting is spot on as well.
  25. 93
    What makes Soul Calibur so brilliant isn't just the amazing graphics and great combos, it's the continuity and fluidity of the progression of the game. Moves seem to flawlessly transition from one combo to the next, making the game seem believable one moment and then outrageous the next.
  26. The Xbox controller, thanks to the ultrastiff D-pad and gummi bear-buttons, is the least responsive controller to play SC II with... The graphics are the best of the three versions, though not by much. [Sept 2003, p.63]
  27. As the passionate announcer exclaims during the opening sequence, "the soul still burns," though neither as fiercely nor as brightly as longtime fans may have hoped for.
  28. Soul Calibur 2 is an evolution of the original on all levels - it might take you weeks of play to figure out all the changes made from the first game.
  29. 95
    A masterpiece. While perhaps a bit too akin to its Dreamcast precursor, Soul Calibur II retains the elements that made the first one so fantastic.
  30. It boasts a special unique visual flavor to it. They honestly really didn't leave out too many details out to dry in this sucker. Right down to the last facial animation sequence, which you can playback later on.
  31. 90
    It offers the more dedicated players, who want to explore the depths of its combat system, almost endless scope and gameplay. [JPN Import]
  32. Unlike most 3D fighters, Calibur II's melee system isn't so mcuh an elaborate re-creation of the canned rock-paper-scissors style gameplay as it is a vast metaphysical playground giving players unprecedented freedom to create their own deadly techniques. [Oct/Nov 2003, p.88]
  33. 100
    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]
  34. The second installment of the Soul Calibur franchise simply bursts with greatness. The sequel to the already great fighting game is, quite simply, bigger and better.
  35. 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]
  36. Both the stages and characters show a grand level of detail and depth. Everything down to the facial features look spectacular.
  37. It is hard to find fault with a game that improves upon its groundbreaking predecessor in every category.
  38. 75
    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]
  39. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. ArmandoD.
    Sep 5, 2005
    Now it's 10/2006... and still the best fighting game! I've had this game since it was released... and i am still playing it and Now it's 10/2006... and still the best fighting game! I've had this game since it was released... and i am still playing it and it's great fun (specially with friend /s). Full Review »
  2. Dec 10, 2013
    First game i me and my bro got with the new 360 harddrive for our 4 gb 360, is badass spawn is AMAZING, why hasnt he got his own video gameFirst game i me and my bro got with the new 360 harddrive for our 4 gb 360, is badass spawn is AMAZING, why hasnt he got his own video game yet, HE IS A BADASS MF Full Review »
  3. May 12, 2012
    I recently decided to get back in to fighting games, I used to play a lot of them but for some reason I just got out of them, but withI recently decided to get back in to fighting games, I used to play a lot of them but for some reason I just got out of them, but with fighting games have recently been fighting (pun definitely intended) they're way back to the top I'm interested in them again. I decided to play this one just out of the blue for some reason, and I'm glad I did it's fantastic even though it's got some years on it. It has a fantastic selection of characters including the Xbox exclusive Todd Mcfarlane's Spawn (the Gamecube exclusive is Link from the Legend of Zelda series, and the PS2's is some guy from Tekken), several fun modes, and fantastic controls. The graphics are still fantastic, and the soundtrack is great, voice acting is good for most characters but one or two of the will have you grating your teeth. If your looking for a fantastic fighting game don't let the fact that this for the original Xbox detract you from picking it up, it's truly phenomenal, deserving of the praise it received, and I'd even say one of the best fighting games of all time. A must play. Full Review »