Up Up Down Down: Soulcalibur: Lost Swords
It makes all of the sense in the world, right? Bandai Namco released the free-to-play Tekken Revolution, which received some positive praise, so of course the next step would be a free-to-play Soulcalibur. It's a genius idea, especially given the series' incredible weapons-based arcade fighting gameplay. Unfortunately, Soulcalibur: Lost Swords is a mixed bag of cool ideas and weak execution. The end product is something that you should check out only if you're a fan of the series in need of a good chuckle at the expense of the dev team.
On this edition of Up Up Down Down, we're seeing what (kind of) works and what (really) doesn't work in Lost Swords.
Up Up: It's free-to-play
The good thing about the latest Soulcalibur game — and it hurts me to have to consider this the latest Soulcalibur game, by the way — is that the barrier for entry is quite low in that the game is a free download. The nonexistent price point allows you to check it out without making a monetary investment first. That's definitely great, because if they were actually charging you money for this, that'd be ludicrously sad.
Down Down: It's free-to-play
The bad thing about Soulcalibur going free-to-play is that it's quick to utilize and enforce those terribly cheap gimmicks that these types of games rely on to make a quick buck. Want to continue a fight where you left off after you've been defeated? Why not shell out some cash for a continue ticket? Enticing, eh? Also, gross — despicably so.
Up Up: Fighting mechanics are still fun
Ultimately, this is still a Soulcalibur game — seriously, this is killing me — which means the actual fighting mechanics are quite good despite being simplified in this installment. Wicked combos and devastating grapples are all here, and they are a total delight to pull off. There's even an interesting element-based system in place that lets you customize your character to utilize fire, wind, and so on against other elements in rock-paper-scissors fashion. It's a cool idea that's actually enjoyable.
Down Down: Fighting mechanics aren't as fun when there's no multiplayer
Well, who made the decision to release a Soulcalibur game with no multiplayer? Isn't that, like, a staple of free-to-play games? Well, not this one! Instead, all you can do to interact with others is use their customized characters as allies in battle. It's an okay gameplay feature, but it's nowhere near as cool as an actual competitive multiplayer component. Isn't this supposed to be an arcade fighter?
Up Up: Loot, customization, and crafting are neat ideas
I have mixed feelings about the loot, customization, and crafting in Lost Swords. On the one hand, playing through a campaign in search of weapons and loot is definitely a rad idea. Additionally, being able to craft new gear and customize your fighter is pretty neat in concept. The way Lost Swords delivers these elements, however, is subpar at best. Aside from being a watered down customization feature, you need to deal with tedious menus to actually beef up your character. That's no fun, especially when you can't just access these menus without first exiting a bunch of other menus. Which takes us to the next big issue ...
Down Down: Load times will take a toll on your body
I got wrinkles on my face and lost a lot of hair waiting for Lost Swords to load up its many screens and menus. Literally everything requires a lengthy load time. Whether you're moving back a menu or just tweaking your settings, everything forces this damn game into a horrible loading screen. This issue is prevalent in the crafting and customization screen, too, so don't expect to improve your gear and character without dealing with obnoxious load times. If you're in your late 50s or early 60s, it's advised that you don't waste the rest of your life trapped in the loading screens of Lost Swords.
Left Right Left Right: Go play Soulcalibur 5 instead
Lost Swords should be called Soulcalibur: Play Soulcalibur 5 Instead. The few redeemable qualities in this free-to-play fighter are massively overshadowed by its glaring, explosive, gargantuan flaws. Sure, you could probably have a little fun with the game, but in the end, you're bound to have more bad times than good with Lost Swords. Seriously, play Soulcalibur 5 instead of this cheap bastardization of the series.
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