Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul is a new game based on the popular manga that started back in the ’80s. It is a follow-up to Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers which came out for the PS3 way back in 2013. The new game adds several new features to the fighting series, including a visual upgrade thanks to the more powerful PS4 system.
From a visual standpoint, the cel-shaded graphics are impressive as it looks like you are watching an anime come to life. The graphics are a step up from Brave Soldiers on the PS3 and this is a good thing.
All of the character models look as accurate to the anime as they can be and unleashing their special moves is a sight to behold. The only thing holding down the graphics are the fighting arenas themselves. They look okay at best, but they’re not as detailed or fun to look at like in other fighting games. The fighting arenas are also quite small, although there is still enough room to side-step enemy opponents and run around to flank them.
Speaking of enemy opponents, Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul is unlike traditional fighting games such as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. This game utilizes the over-the-shoulder camera perspective as seen in the Dragon Ball Z video games. The characters are also fast and agile like all of the ninjas from the Naruto series too.
The gameplay is quick and some gamers might find it hard to grasp at first. This is because the gameplay system requires players to evade and make use of the side-stepping technique a lot. It’s different from most other fighting games where the opponents are always staring down at one another on a straight plane.
Mastering side-stepping in this game is a must because the A.I. will punish players early on if they cannot evade and block effectively. The A.I. loves to block a lot and attacking all of the time is not a good strategy to win fights in this game. The game forces players to think and adapt on their feet because going on the offense every time will punish players.
Arguably, Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Souls has a more grounded and tight combat system than in the Dragon Ball Z video games. This is because the fighters in this game don’t fly so all of the fights are more enclosed. The Dragon Ball Z video games can be harder to master as their fighters can fly around long distances that it can be difficult to follow the action.
The cel-shaded graphics are impressive as it looks like you are watching an anime come to life
Although Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul’s gameplay can be hard to master at first, developer Dimps has been kind to the game’s controls. The controls are easy to remember and the special moves are executed by only pressing two buttons or so. Players won’t see the complex analog stick rotations that they have to do when playing a game like Street Fighter IV.
All of the main combos can be executed by pressing the triangle and square buttons. The X button is used for evading enemies while circle controls laser blasts. L1 is for blocking and holding down R2 allows you to do all of the character’s special moves. As aforementioned, the control system is easy to remember and beginners won’t have any trouble on learning how to play this game.
One problem with the gameplay itself is that some characters are much better than others. Seiya for example is faster than everyone else and can land several hit combos. On the other hand, Shun is the cheapest fighter in the game because he can spam long-ranged attacks with his chains. It would have been better if the game was a little more balanced because not every character has effective moves and attacks.
Outside of the gameplay, there are several modes in this game that gamers can indulge in. The main part is the story mode called Legend of Cosmo and it’s broken up into four main parts. The story mode is quite enjoyable since it’s like playing through the anime. There are a lot of cutscenes to watch and many fights to participate in as well. There are hours upon hours of gameplay featured in this story mode alone.
However, the story mode can be a bit hard to follow for anyone that is unfamiliar with the series beforehand. The game does not do a good job of clearly explaining what is happening or who the characters really are. Only fans of the anime/manga will truly know what is going on. For those who aren’t Saint Seiya fans, it’s best to read up on the story before playing this game.
Outside of Legend of Cosmo, there are the many modes that feature in other fighting games. There’s the VS Battle, Survival, Training, Tutorial and also a tournament mode called Galaxy War. The latter allows the player to participate in a tournament to unlock several items and more.
There are also online battles in this game too. The online play is okay at the moment, although nothing special. I experienced a bit of lag, but it wasn’t anything that ruined the gameplay entirely. It’s also worth mentioning the competition is quite hard as there are many other good players out there…
Speaking of unlockables, there’s a lot that players can achieve here. There are well over 70 fighters in the whole game for gamers to unlock plus cutscenes, music, costumes and more. If players want to unlock everything, this is sure to make them play the game for multiple hours to get everything.
Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Souls packs tons of content that is sure to keep hardcore fans occupied for hours on end. However, the fast style of fighting gameplay may not be accessible for everyone. Not to mention not every character is effective in the game and the story is hard to follow for newbies to the franchise. Still, fighting game fans will find a lot of entertainment value here.
Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul
- Available On: PS4, PS3, PC
- Published By: Bandai Namco
- Developed By: Dimps
- Genre: Fighting
- US Release Date: October 6th, 2015
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul is an enjoyable fighting game that fans of the manga/anime series will absolutely love. Non-fans might be overwhelmed by its story and slightly hard gameplay."
- Tons of gameplay value
- Many unlockables
- Cartoon-style graphics
- Great controls
- Hard to follow storyline
- Often difficult AI
- Unbalanced Roster of Fighters