Hmm, a Ph.D. in Soul Calibur, eh? Well, now that we have some idea how noncompetitive Chi is, I can offer up my opinion and say that I agree wholeheartedly with everything Chi wrote in his review. I too was turned off at first by the relative ease of beating the game. The exquisite graphics and sound were almost wasted in my opinion and I was looking at giving Soul Calibur a 7.5 or 8.0. Luckily, I did what Namco was counting on gamers to do and that was to continue to play and try out all the options they have offered. It's obvious that Namco was counting on players to play and replay this game as Soul Calibur bursts at the seams with hidden features and characters. Once I got a taste of this part of the game (and Chi will back me up on this) I was pretty close to being obsessed with unlocking all of them using every character in the game. To our knowledge there are hidden costumes, hidden fighters, hidden art galleries, hidden stages, alternate stages, and my favorite: hidden theater galleries (here I could see each fighter put on an exhibition with his weapon of choice). Take heart though, as these are just an end and not a means.
The experience of getting to those 'extras' is what really matters and Soul Calibur delivers. The graphics in this game are truly phenomenal. I can pretty easily say that these are the most beautiful graphics and sounds on any system that I've experienced firsthand. The colors are vibrant and everything is rendered at a steady 60 frames per second and, as Chi said, the musical scores in this game are exquisite. Soul Calibur is simply a joy to watch, but thankfully, it's even more fun to play. The moves are easy to pull off (that scores big with me every time) and look great while they are being performed. And they all flow into each other without much any interruption in the animation (my personal thanks to the motion capture people and programmers). I could go on and on but I really don't need to as Chi and everyone else in the industry has already done so. So in closing, I will say this: Soul Calibur is one of those games where I really felt I got my money's worth. Once I beat the game, I became addicted to playing it again and again and unlocking more things. All this as well as being pulled into a totally enjoyable game. Be aware that the draw of Soul Calibur really kicks after you beat the game for the first time but once you do it never lets up.
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