Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul_20150930153802

Review: Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ soul

Namco Bandai once again shows great support to their fans by localizing yet another niche game based on an anime license. These game usually do well when they’re based on other Shōnen franchises like Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece and even Jojo. Saint Seiya however isn’t as popular or well know as the previously mentioned titles so it’s a bit surprising this game even got made let alone localized. But Namco Bandai once again took a risk just to please its fans but was it worth it?

 

The battle for the sanctuary has just begun:

Saint Seiya is based on the popular manga by the same name and follows the titular character Seiya who in a nutshell fights evil that threatens the goddess Athena. The game itself has a story mode that covers the events of several different arcs of the manga split up in four episodes. The story mode follows several characters (most of which are Seiya and his crew) through a certain arc. Players select a level which tasks them to beat opponents who usually get buffed and beat them with a specific character. Sometimes the game splits into three choices and lets the player decide which one to tackle first. This however is a useless feature since players still have to complete all the stages so they might as well have been in a specific order. Most stages follow a specific pattern. Cut scene, battle, cutscene, same battle, another cut scene and lastly next stage. The cut scene reenacts the scenes in the manga but the low budget the game has didn’t allow it for a lot of animation so what happens is characters sometimes talk to each other for sometimes up to five minutes each without any animation at all. This makes most of the cut scenes unintelligible and extremely dull. The one thing story mode actually does is unlock characters, stages, costumes and Assist phases. Other than that Story mode doesn’t have anything to offer. Even fans won’t get to see their favorite moments reenacted in the in-game engine. 

Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul_20151003211410The plot is often explained with minimal visuals as to what is actually happening. It’s really confusing.

 

It’s the duty of Saints to protect Athena.

If you played any of the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm games you basically know what you are going to get with Saint Seiya. And while it plays a lot like Ninja Storm it feels like it’s at least trying to make a somewhat balanced game. The game puts two combatants in an arena in which they are free to move. The camera follows the character closest to it but never manages to obstruct or lose sight of the other character. Players have light and heavy attacks which, when pressed multiple times after each other, allow for strings or “combos”. Other than those attack there are special attacks that are done by holding the special button and pressing the light or heavy attack. These attacks can be used at any time provided you have enough meter or players can use them to end their combo for that extra bit of damage. There is also a block button and a grab button. Grabs can be used on shield happy opponents but take a while to be used; so opponents can avoid or attack before anything happens. If an opponent presses the grab button while being grabbed they can tech out of it. Players can also tech land after a combo sent you flying to get back into the fray faster. And while most of these techniques won’t be used by most players or aren’t that much of importance in a game like this, it does show that the team had a bit of thought behind their mechanics instead of mindlessly mashing buttons to just see flashy moves. Also unlike the Ninja Storm series, Saint Seiya doesn’t throw a confusing UI and meters at you. Instead, there is a life-bar, timer, a special move meter and a Seventh Sense Meter. The seventh Sense meter is a bar that slowly fills as you charge or get attacked. Once full the player gets two choices either cash out a lot of damage with a Big Bang Attack if it hit’s(like Street Fighter’s Ultra moves) or activate your Seventh Sense which buff your character considerably(like Marvel 3’s X-Factor). This gives for an interesting option. “Do I cash out a nice deal of damage if it hits or do I buff myself for potentially more damage. “Saint Seiya feels like it wants to be more than just a Ninja Storm re-skin but ultimately while more balanced and more enjoyable fails to bring anything new to the table. As far as modes go there is story mode, battle mode where you can fight a CPU or friend in several different modes,the collection where you can buy skins, stages and more or look at models of the characters and more. Battle mode covers not only 1v1 battles but it also has a costume rules mode like first hit wins and hidden life-bar or up to ?? player can compete in a tournament mode. There is also an online mode but it just doesn’t work as it’s supposed to, matches are incredibly laggy and disconnects are frequent.

Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul_20151004003518Combat is flashy but simple. Though it does try to have some depth.

 

A new holy war must now begin.

Saint Seiya tries to go the cell-shaded route but because of a lower budget only the characters are done like this. So while characters are cell-shaded stages aren’t. It causes a disconnect between the characters and the world like they aren’t supposed to be there. It doesn’t look visually pleasing. All characters in the game wear armor and the armor has a nice shine to it. It would have looked okay if it wasn’t for the stages looking so out of place. Soundtrack wise the game covers it grounds with standard music and that’s all there is to say about that.

seiya reviewThe shiny armor looks nice but the lack of the same art style in stages makes the models pop out in the most unflattering way.

 

Closing note:

Saint Seiya isn’t a bad game. But it treads that line very thinly. Everything works and functions but gameplay wise there isn’t really anything deep or interesting going on for regular people to care about it. However like most licensed Namco games whether it be Naruto, One Piece or even Godzilla fans of the series will enjoy themselves. And that’s why this game was localized little money was spend on it, because Namco expects little profit from it. Namco didn’t release it to make money rather than to give fans of this niche series what they want and a huge amount of props goes out to them for it. The game might not be anything interesting but as a fan-service game it works.

5/10

I'm a fun loving guy who like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and long walks on the beach. I work hard, I play hard. Must like cats. Ugos need not apply. If you want to ask me anything you can contact me at yordi.verhoene@gmail.com