Namco Bandai Games has a surprisingly deep archive from which to draw retro titles for modernisation and yet have been reluctant to up to now. It seems odd then that the publisher should begin with Soul Calibur II, a videogame which has since seen numerous sequels and spin-offs both significantly better and notably worse than this classic release. But it’s that exact statement that has obviously convinced Namco Bandai Games that the gaming public want to see more of Soul Calibur II: it’s considered a ‘classic’ by most.
Soul Calibur II HD Online is, as the title suggest, a high-definition (HD) rendition of the original Soul Calibur II with added online functionality. It’s that latter component which is arguably Soul Calibur II HD Online’s greatest asset. Beat-‘em-ups are commonly considered to be at their best when played against human competition, and being able to relive your greatest Soul Calibur II moments against friends further away than your couch will be reason enough for many to invest on Soul Calibur II HD Online.
Soul Calibur II HD Online isn’t without plenty of content elsewhere however, with the return of the Arcade, Weapon Master, Time Attack and Team Battles gameplay modes. The sheer quantity of options and the depth of each was remarkable when Soul Calibur II launched nine years ago, and though it may not be quite as astounding in the modern era it’s still impressive given that Soul Calibur II HD Online is a digital-only release offered at a wallet friendly price.
The combat system presented by Soul Calibur II HD Online is deep yet accessible, making the videogame far more welcoming to players of all skill levels than the likes of Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate or Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Of course, there’s a selection of moves and combos that demand the player learn each character and furthermore the Guard Impacts and Soul Charges introduced by Soul Calibur II demand precision timing for perfect execution. This is retained in Soul Calibur II HD Online, despite the control system being noticeably inferior to the original release.
Available to download now, Soul Calibur II HD Online is an enjoyable walk down memory lane. Unsurprisingly it struggles to compete against more modern titles, including the latest title in the series, Soul Calibur V, however it remains enjoyable in its own right. It’s a videogame designed for established fans of Soul Calibur II, bringing the best of what the original videogame offers and modernising it just enough to warrant a second crack at your free time.