Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul was developed by DIMPS and published by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. It was released for PC on November 27th, 2015, for $49.99. A review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. The game was initially released on multiple Playstation platforms.
Saint Seiya has been a long standing staple of the anime and manga franchises that have arrived from Japan. It is known as one of the most unique anime series for its use of the constellations to depict the warrior’s powers. There have been numerous games throughout the years that try to emulate the wonder of this show. Saint Seiya’s predecessor was Brave Soldiers. It was reinvigorated with additional gameplay and more characters in Soldiers’ Soul. This title follows the source anime and movies very closely with each chapter being either a narrative cut-scene or battle. The upgrades from Brave Soldiers include 3D models for cut-scenes instead of 2D, adding on more expression, and looking quite comical at many points. When something eventful occurs during a scene the character will say that they have just blocked a punch from the other, when in reality the models didn’t budge, which can be comical at times. This is where the game suffers the most, it’s that everything moves smoothly in the fighting but the cut-scenes are just ridiculous. After upgrading the game to 60 frames-per-second, it would be thought that DEMPS would put a little more love into something like an epic punch.
Saint Seiya’s controls are pretty basic, with nothing majorly improved upon from its predecessor. If you are unfamiliar with any of the titles it’s equatable to the Ultimate Ninja Storm series of Naruto Shippuden games. Basically it’s a 3D arena brawler that incorporates the in-game world’s natural energy. This energy, called Cosmo, is used to pull off special moves like Big Bang Attacks and to close distances quickly. Players who aren’t used to this form of fighting game or haven’t tried any fighting games in general will be happy to see that it’s easier to get used to than most fighter titles. This doesn’t deter from the fact that it’s only an enjoyable game in small doses and becomes stale quite quickly since the controller input doesn’t differentiate much. The matches in story mode do feel authentic to the anime as they are one round matches but if you lose that round, you’re given a ‘second chance’ in which you’re able to rapidly press a button to revive into the match with a full energy meter. This makes the player feel like they’re really taking part in the show and story, becoming completely immersed in the world.
Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul is better enjoyed in small doses as there’s not much innovation displayed the combat system but it still contains a ton of replay value. To justify its $49.99 listing, the game comes loaded with story material, gameplay modes, characters, and costumes. If you are a fan of the series then you’ll relive the entire experience from all the seasons to the movies, while newcomers will learn about this story and enjoy it in its entirety. There are also “what-if” fights between certain characters in which they also have lines of dialogue. This alternate aspect will intrigue long time fans of the series to see just what certain characters would do or say in situations that involved one another. It is a nice change of pace when driving through the story to exit and try these different modes out, that way they offer either a bit of challenge or just a change of scenery.
A multiplayer mode is an essential aspect to many fighting games and Soldiers’ Soul is no different. It mostly plays well and there aren’t many characters that are overpowering so balance was clearly a part of design. There are some lag issues when it comes to international matches (America to Europe) but it was mostly stable. One of the other aspects that is well done is the matching system will pair you up with someone close to the same rank and around the same playing level as you.
Soldiers’ Soul looks amazing with stellar graphics and a clean look that matches the anime precisely. This is coupled with good music and fun voice acting for each character. The franchise has such a wide variation in personalities among the fighters, it’s important to be able to distinguish one from the other and they were able to capture that perfectly by either bringing back the same voice actors to play in the game or reusing old recordings.
The achievements on Steam mimic those found on PlayStation and usually revolve around completing different story arcs on harder difficulties or accumulating a certain amount of hits for moves in matches. There are also some secret achievements that will need some research but are actually quite enjoyable to try to complete. For those that are seeking the harder achievements they’re here, as many story arcs will have to be completed on the hardest difficulty or grind away at.
In conclusion, Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul is a title that I recommend for you to wait until some kind of discount becomes available. It may have fun and easy-to-get-used-to gameplay but it still doesn’t compare to many of the higher brow anime games out there that utilize the same or similar combat system. It has a lot of replay value to justify the buy for fans of the Movie or show including a new gold battle mode with “what-if” battles. It isn’t a game that players can play consistently but rather in small doses as the gameplay feels the same with all characters and adds no variation. I experienced some lag during the battles and it should be noted that the game settings may take some tweaking depending on your PC and its capabilities.
Score: Wait for a sale.
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