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October 23, 2005
Soul Calibur III - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
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SC3 looks stunning!
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Cassandra's about to Ring Out.
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New characters Tira and Zasalamel.

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Checking the character stats.
Were it not for Sega's Virtua Fighter series Namco would be the stand out company when it comes to one-on-one fighting games. Indeed they have two franchises that stand apart from each other, but are equally impressive. The first is the predominantly fist based fighting games Tekken while the second is their weapons based combat game Soul Calibur is equally impressive. In fact Soul Calibur II is widely regarded as the greatest weapons based combat game of all time. Fantastic graphics, impressive sound and, most importantly, superb gameplay made is a must have title. Now we have a third game heading our way and while the previous title made it to all three main platforms Soul Calibur III is a PS2 exclusive.

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Taki is kicking ass again!
Let me put your fears to rest straight away. Namco are not simply milking gamers for a few dollars before moving onto the next generation. First of all the game will include three new characters bringing the games roster up to 26 playable characters. The new characters include Zasalamel who uses a Death Scythe as a weapon, the gorgeous green/blue haired Tira who uses a Ring Blade and Setsuka who uses a Iai sword hidden in an umbrella as a weapons. In terms of returning characters we can expct all your favourites such as Ivy, Mitsurugi, Taki, Cassandra, Astaroth, Voldo, Raphael, Siegfried, Kilik, Nightmare and Talim among others.

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The games storyline is as follows. The unholy sword was sealed by the destined one, but a mysterious individual revives the azure knight, Nightmare. The legendary battle of Soul Calibur and Soul Edge moves to the next phase. Which sword will ultimately prevail? What is the motivation of the three new souls who join the fray? And how will you, the player, become involved in the world of Soul Calibur?

In terms of game modes there is plenty to look forward to. As well as a Practice mode the game includes normal arcade modes Soul Calibur allows you to guide the fate of your favorite character in the narrative Tales of Souls Mode, play head-to-head with a friend in Vs. Mode, create your own custom fighters in Character Creation Mode, battle as their custom fighter in a real-time simulation in Chronicles of the Sword Mode, engage in unique and original battles in Soul Arena Mode and even recount the history of the franchise in Museum Mode. In fact the only thing that seems to be missing is any form of online gameplay which is a shame, but with so much else to look at we can forgive them. Most of these modes are self explanatory but some of them stand out as being extremely exciting.

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Increasing the character stats.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to Soul Calibur III is the Character Creation Mode. These characters can be used in other game modes but it's the depth of manipulation to you created characters that promises the most excitement. When you begin the character creation you are asked to choose a name as well as the sex of your character. This not only determines the strength of your character but also limits you to that sexes interchangable parts. Next up is a choice of over 10 available jobs such as dancer, monk, barbarian, thief, gladiator, ninja, pirate, samurai, assassin, or saint. The choice of occupation will determine the battle disciplines & weapons you can choose from. These will increase in number as you progress through the game. Next up are the previously mentioned interchangable parts with over 20 to select from including the characters face (eyebrow, lips, eyes, skin colour), Mask, Necklace, Belt, Variety of armour, Socks and shoes, Clothing, change colours, for a look that is truly original.

Following these decision the game determines your fighting style however it's up to you to select your preferred weapons including an iron sword, tambourine, steel fan, dagger, katana & shuriken, kunai and sickle. Your created character can then be used to fight against your friends in the Vs. Standard Mode, or enter into the other modes such as Chronicles of the Sword.

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Chronicles of the Sword mode.
The Chronicles of the Sword mode allows your original customized character to play a game which combines the action of the main game with an adventure element. In fact much of this mode is played from an isometric perspective as you can see in the image to the right here. As you move around the map you will encounter enemies which will have to be defeated but in doing so you can upgrade your character's stats.

Soul Arena mode is another interesting addition to this game which places you in many unique situations to overcome. Some may be battling a giant, others may be competing for coins or battling a statue. It's going to be entertaining at the very least and certain to occupy you for more time then you have to sapre that's for sure.

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Yet more stunning effects.
Have a look around at these screenshots. If you're not excited by these then you'll never love the PS2. The characters are stunningly detailed with equal amounts of love given to the gorgeous backgrounds. What you can't gauge from these screnshots is just how stunning this title looks in motion. The character movement is fluid and the visual effects among the best seen on the system with gorgeous sparks as weapons clash, motion blur as the weapons are flung around and even the odd bit of destruction of the environments. Audio is faithful to previous titles with that familiar announcer returning to duties once again.

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Two massive weapons.
The great news for PAL gamers is that we won't be waiting too long before Soul Calibur III hit our shelves. Perhaps spurned on by the impending launch of XBox 360 before Christmas (in Europe at least, Australian gamers aren't worthy of a 2005 release according to Microsoft) Sony have ensured this game is on the shelves in late November, only days before Microsoft releases their new system. As a Playstation 2 exclusive this title is one to drool over with stunning visuals and audio, many new additions and enhancements and even tighter gameplay then ever before. This game looks like smashing the competition.