Game Review: Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul (PS4)
28/10/2015 Leave a comment
Anime and Manga related videogames are always a niche genre within the UK and while everyone knows the big three, which would be Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball, there’s very little interest in other franchises – with maybe the odd exception – and so with this being said where does the latest Saint Seiya videogame fall in all of this?
Well to be honest it falls into the abyss of anime videogames and unfortunately it’s not crawling out anytime soon due to its unappealing nature and unknown origins; but at least it looks good.
|Title:||Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul|
|Publisher:||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Resolution:||1920 x 1080
|Local Players:||1 – 2|
Developed by Dimps, the firm best known for their Dragon Ball Z: Budokai trilogy, and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment within Europe Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul is a 3D Arena fighter that plays exactly like its predecessor, Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, with the exception of improved visuals and new gameplay mechanics. Of course there is a valid reason for this; as Soldier’s Soul is actually an ‘updated’ version of Brave Soldiers; although at first glance you wouldn’t necessarily see it.
The entire game has been redesigned and updated for a modern feel, be it the interactive menu system, the new Big Bang Attack fighting mechanics during combat or the newly introduced Battle of God story aspect; even the games main story – which transcends the entire Saint Seiya manga timeline – has been redone to deliver a more cinematic anime experience when progressing between fights. But even with all of these new improvements Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul doesn’t manage to grab my attention long enough to care about the characters, its story or its unique world – which is a shame really as the game is actually half decent as a fighting game.
As a whole Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul is your traditional fighting game with multiple gameplay modes being offered including; the main story mode, a what if story mode, offline multiplayer battles, online multiplayer battles and a gallery mode. However when broken down into segments thats when things start to get a little bit disappointing. For starters story mode, also known as Legend of Cosmo, is where majority of your time will be spent and, as previously mentioned, it will see the entire Saint Seiya storyline played out before your eyes and its here were we run into the first issue. As opposed to starting the story from the beginning of the franchise players have to choose the story arc they want to play and with all story arcs being unlocked by default it can become confusing. In other words it doesn’t go directly to the start of the timeline and progress through it like a story mode should, such as those found within Dragon Ball Z or Naruto games, instead players have to choose a story arc and then watch it unfold. To some it could be a minor inconvenience; but to someone who has yet to see any of the Saint Seiya story it’s extremely disappointing; fortunately however you can quit-out and re-start another story arc at will and all progress will remain intact.
Of course you could just ‘google’ the information needed; but thats not the point as i want the story to be played out to me from the start. Coincidentally however this is done quite effectively; as upon starting a story arc players are welcomed to 3D CGI animated cut-scenes with full Japanese voice overs and, just like in its predecessor, after the cut scene’s have ended an episode selection map showcasing storyline events and fights will be brought up. Storyline events will see new cut-scenes play out while character icons/fight events on the map will represent fights but alas this leads onto the next problem; The fights are just too hard. I know i’m not the best fighting game player in the world but it took me two hours, and several retries, just to beat the first character in the games first story arc – a crucial fight such as this is meant to be easy so that players can ‘ease’ themself into the game as opposed to constantly being pummelled to death by repeated attacks and constant blocking. Thinking of considering changing the difficulty for story mode? Well you can’t; as the difficulty option is solely tied to the offline AI Battles so unless you get good, or lucky, you won’t be progressing forward much in the campaign.
Ironically though the “What If” Story mode of Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul, known as Battle of Gold, isn’t even as remotely difficult as The Legend of Cosmo Story mode. This particular gameplay mode sees players fighting Gold Seiya’s in “what if” situations and as each fight progresses forward the more difficult it becomes; but as a reward additional characters and perks can become unlocked. Amusingly i had more fun playing this gameplay mode than i did the main story; but thats mostly down to a combination of Saint Seiya’s story mode being difficult as well as relatively confusing with its constant relations to mythology and numerous cloths. Don’t worry though; whichever story mode you choose to play there is a story to be found – you just need to be paying attention.
The remaining gameplay modes are pretty much what you would expect to see from a fighting game of this calibur; Offline and Online Multiplayer modes see players do battle against each other online in attempt to prove they are the better fighter. As always the traditional modes, versus and ranking, are here but there is an added bonus to be had and thats some minor cusotmisation sets can be used on characters. Customation will see characters appearences and abilities slightly tweaked for a more personalised fighting experience; it’s nothing major – like that of Tekken Tag Tournament- but it does add a certain flair to the game.
Finally; the last mode is non-other–than the games gallery mode whereby content such as artwork, music and videos unlocked from progressing through the games story mode can be viewed at will. Once again it’s a traditional reward tier system whereby once viewed in the story mode you can view it in the gallery – a similar concept is also used for the extensive list of characters (48 in total) which are unlocked once you defeat them in key battles and unlock previous Saint Seiya games additional outfits are not counted as characters and as such over 140 costumes are available for selection once unlocked.
As you can probably tell Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul is your standard 3D fighting game but with an added twist of being from a fixed camera position as opposed to front and center, like in Tekken or Street Fighter titles. In terms of gameplay then it plays similar to Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm fracnhise and exactly the same as it did in Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, whereby players have high and low attack commands, block and special attack. A ‘Big Bang Attack’ can also be achived by pressing R2/R1 and pressing any of the on-screen commands. In short controlling your character is extremely easy; it’s just the daunting difficulty nature of the games story mode which makes the game a rather tedious and daunting experience.
I came into this game with an open-minded and explorative feel but with its relatively simplistic fighting controls, sluggish fighting mechanics and overly difficult story mode i feel myself instantly disappointed with a game that i was looking to be entertained by. Sure enough it looks great and it has a whole lot of unlockable content; but i feel that some additional tweaks and gameplay balancing could have been used to make it an enjoyable experience rather than a chore. Nice try Dimps; but better luck next time!
Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul is now available for the PS4 within the UK and Europe.