Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
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. 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]
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 100
    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.
  6. 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]
  7. 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]
  8. The game looks great, sounds better, and has more depth than 3 fighting games put together.
  9. Both the stages and characters show a grand level of detail and depth. Everything down to the facial features look spectacular.
  10. 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.
  11. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    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]
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. It is hard to find fault with a game that improves upon its groundbreaking predecessor in every category.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. netjak
    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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Official Xbox Magazine
    Crisp, tight controls, hilariously dramatic dialog, and oodles of options make Soul Calibur II an instant classic. [Nov 2003, p.128]
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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]
  26. Xbox Nation Magazine
    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]
  27. 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]
  28. 90
    It offers the more dedicated players, who want to explore the depths of its combat system, almost endless scope and gameplay. [JPN Import]
  29. GMR Magazine
    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]
  30. Cheat Code Central
    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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. Game Informer
    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]
  36. 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???
  37. 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.
  38. 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]
  39. The biggest let-down though is that Soul Calibur 2 feels much more like a remake than a true sequel. [Import]

Awards & Rankings

#6 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 61
  2. Negative: 3 out of 61
  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. Sep 17, 2018
    My childhood fighting game 2nd to Tekken 5. By god is it amazing!

    To top an already perfect game on the Dreamcast would be difficult but
    My childhood fighting game 2nd to Tekken 5. By god is it amazing!

    To top an already perfect game on the Dreamcast would be difficult but Namco and Project Soul pulled it off. I LOVE this game to bits.

    I love the graphics. A big improvement over the original, they look smooth and so realistic. The motion capture looks fantastic. The soundtrack is epic and is my second favorite next to Soulcalibur 3. The sound is superb. I love it. The gameplay is still the same but has been updated with new mechanics like Guard Break, Attack Break, Stun Hits, Fake Attacks, Walled Stages and Stage Hazards. The story is intriguing and enthralling with every character. I LOVE the voice acting for every character as well.

    There is so much to unlock from playing Weapon Master Mode and other modes. It gave the game SO much replay-ability. I have so much fun with all the modes.

    It's a fantastic game. Well worth adding to your Xbox Original collection.
    Full Review »
  3. 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 »