The year is 2005 if i can remember. Goes back a long way. First, i must tell you that i played SC1 on the Playstation1 but only briefly. I thought WOW! What an interesting concept for a fighting game. But i was a big fan of Mace the Dark Age at the time. Another weapon based fighting game. It's actually Soul Calibur2 that got me into the franchise from the moment i played it. Everything was better: Graphics, fights, stories, characters. I'll even admit that some of my fav characters were at their best during the SC2 era and never came back as great since.
In all the buzz that surrounded SC2 (Buzz in which i was kind of refusing to draw myself in for any game at the time. I had to just pick up a game and see for myself.) and SC2, VF4 and its Evolution version, MKDA (Deadly alliance being MK2 in my opinion in terms of story, characters and art designs.) were the games that got me back into the series.
And since then, SC3, Tekken5, VF5 and MK Deadly Alliance are in my opinion the last games worthy of their reputations, or the last great games to be released for their respective franchises. The SC2 and MKDA buzz was just on the verge of fading out to me when SC3 and Tekken5 came out.
But SC3 isn't a game to neglect. Depending on which character you will use, the quest to destroy or wield the evil sword Soul Edge continues in this installment and new characters such as Tira, Zassalamel and Setsuka are coming to elevate what fans favs: Kilik, Ivy, the twins Cassandra and Sophitia and along with deadly pirate Cervantes are doing since the very beginning of the series.
The gameplay is not so different from other Soul Calibur games. Still some really flashy moves will require some time and thinking to be mastered since they need to be input at an exact moment during a combo for instance. Pin point moves in one word. But once you are comfortable with all of them, the fights only benefit from these type of moves. Yeah, this is Soul Calibur. Between Ivy's snake sword, Astaroth's gigantic axe and Tira's circle blade the games are all about looks. And really fast pace fights. Probably the most beautiful fighting franchise in history of fighting games. Other than that, SC kind of started going in circles at the time of SC3 and many competitors were starting to do a great job both in terms of look and technical stuff.
SC isn't a one hit wonder though, and they happen to prove it yet once again with SC3. Along with the arcade mode came a lot of interesting modes such as the Chronicles of the swords mode. A real time strategy story in which you are forced to create your own hero and put him in the team you will have to defend all along. The mode involves that you smartly direct your team on a battlefield filled with enemies and their strongholds. For instance: Once you've taken down a stronghold, you have to go on a one on one fight most of the time to defeat the enemy that occupied the structure. Each level has a number of strongholds to take down and ultimately a boss battle that will take place in the last structure to be destroyed. And this mode provides a really vast and long quest on its own believe me. If you're willing to do all the levels, you should have fun with this game for a while.
In the story mode, you obviously decide which character you want to use and do his/her own quest. The script will change at some point depending on which path you'll take when offered more than one option. Sometimes leading you to unlock a cut scene (Scenes that might end up making players redo a specific character's story mode only to be able to unlock all of them.)
There is actually plenty of stuff to uncover about this particular SC game and among all that, the creators even took the wise decision at the time not to have all of the fun that so many possibilities implied be stained by the Online feature that happened first with the PS2. So many stuff wouldn't just go down the drained so was more easily appreciated compared to todays fighters that seem filled with possibilities on the surface but ultimately offer an hour or 2 of discovery only before one can step online with a fully loaded roster and extras.
Yep, you can create your own character in SC3 and even though there were still some options missing in this character creation mode, SC actually offered us the best creation mode out there. And with SC5's creation mode, no other fighting series has ever reached these heights in terms of possibilties. SC is the absolute in this area imo. With that creation mode, SC3 offered a shop in which you could buy weapons, clothes, armors and even characters. Extras such as concepts were added to the shop for people to enjoy real talents in characters and arenas designing. The ultimate best franchise in terms of beauty in my eyes.
There is a lot more to discuss about this game and series of course. The insane looking battles and characters never being matched though, this is were quality resides for these installments.
This was the last great SC, just before VF5 and SF4. And as i said, buzz of Tekken5, MKDA and SC2 didn't even came to stain this one in particular on my side.