If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a Soul Calibur nut. It’s only evident here, here, here , here, here, and here, but ironically not here. Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny is basically Soul Calibur IV on the go. Sign.Me.Up.
Soul Calibur IV’s gameplay is translated flawlessly on the PSP. All the moves, techniques, and timing you expect from the consoles versions works just the same. If you can pull it off on the console, you can do the same on the PSP. Graphically, SC: Broken Destiny is just as impressive. Though some minor details are missing, it’s not that noticeable. Backgrounds are still gorgeous and everything runs just as smoothly. The music, sound effects, and voice acting …all top notch as well. I was simply amazed at the quality and attention to detail in SC: Broken Destiny. It’s not just some pared down port of SCIV. The game also keeps track of Xbox style achievements which is a nice touch, because like trophies for participation, we all like to feel good about ourselves no matter how minor the accomplishment.
But let’s get this out of the way…the bread and butter of fighting games are their Vs. Modes. No matter how many variations the game throws at you, playing against the computer can only go so far. We crave human opponents to compete against. Honestly, I tried different times of the day, even different networks, but it’s devoid of any participants. I assume the people playing online Soul Calibur are playing it on Xbox Live or PSN, finding it pointless to play it on the PSP. I don’t believe it’s the game’s fault that Vs. mode is a ghost town, so I don’t think it would be fair for that flaw to detract from its rating. Just make sure to have a friend with SC: Broken Destiny on his/her own PSP if you want to play its Vs. Mode.
What do Soul Calibur and the Simpsons have in common? Guest cameos. The Soul Calibur series has an impressive list of guest appearances: Heihachi, Spawn, Link, Yoda, Darth Vader and his Apprentice (Did you know his name is actually Starkiller, and that the name Starkiller was originally going to be Luke’s surname? And that’s your nerd trivia for today). Broken Destiny boasts God of War’s uber-badass Kratos on its roster. Unlike the Star Wars characters who felt way out of place, Kratos is just such a natural fit for the SC universe. God of War fans will drool over his familiar and brutal combos. The other new character is mustachioed, top hat wearing Dampierre. A con man with blades that shoot out of his sleeves, the story is told from his point of view with a fair share of dialogue and journal entries. He is a comical, unorthodox character that takes a little getting used to.
One new feature during matches is the ability to strip your own armor to avoid a critical finish but at the cost of greater susceptibility to damage, because fighting in your underwear with pointy weapons will do that. It’s another addition to the risk/reward concept, but since playing defensively is strongly discouraged anyway it’s a feature I’ve never felt the need to use. It does serve as a momentary and comical distraction when the computer does it. Single player has a nice array of game modes: there’s quick match, trials, practice, and character creation- but the highlight of single player is the Gauntlet. This is where Broken Destiny serves as a trainer for SCIV. You have to execute specific techniques with the right timing because you only have a sliver of stamina and only 2-3 seconds to do it. It covers the very basics like movement and striking to more advanced concepts like Guard Impacts and throw escapes. It serves as an excellent primer for newbies and a great way to refine skills for series’ vets. The non-canon story is told in this mode through some hilarious text with characters offering helpful tips and advice as well. To be honest I wish this was the “real” story. The canon story from consoles takes itself too seriously and is seriously convoluted, which is typical for fighting games anyway. Still, I found the lighthearted touch refreshing.
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny is bottom line the best fighting game on any handheld. Alas, if only other people were playing it, too. Enjoy this game on long car rides, plane trips, and generally waiting around for stuff, because what else are you gonna do, read a book?
- Flawless SC4 gameplay on PSP
- Better “story”
- The Gauntlet = Soul Calibur boot camp
- Good luck finding an opponent in Vs. Mode
- No instant replays
Final Verdict: Enshrine It
Confused about our score? See our Ratings Guide.