There’s something “magical” about old shows, which is often a result of their nostalgic value. It’s a truly engrossing experience to rediscover something you enjoyed as a kid, or to revisit a franchise you haven’t touched in a long time. I love old-school shows that belonged solely to the era in which they were made, while feeling out-of-place when brought into a modern setting. One such show that fits the bill is the long-running anime “Saint Seiya”.
Originally made in the 80s, Saint Seiya was a show that revolved around a group of armored teenage boys who fought other armored warriors. They fought in service of the goddess of war, “Athena”, who had taken on the form of a young woman named “Saori”. Each of the boys had an armor based off a constellation, and their leader was “Seiya”. Wearing his “Pegasus Bronze Cloth”, Seiya would beat the crap out of gods and warriors in order to save Athena from the villain of the week.
While the anime itself was pretty formulaic; it managed to spawn several sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. One such adaptation was the 2015 video-game, “Saint Seiya: Soldier’s Soul”. It was a sequel to a previous game, “Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers”, which had come out earlier in 2013.
Soldier’s Soul is an arena-based fighting game; a genre which isn’t uncommon for games based off anime. The version of the game I’ll be playing is the PC one, since I was able to easily snag it during a Steam sale. Soldier’s Soul is your typical fighting game, revolving around 2 characters fighting it out in 3-dimensional arenas.
Each character has their own special attacks and move-sets, some of which favor weapons and/or magical abilities. It’s a pretty simplistic system, but it’s still effective in what it’s trying to do. The game boasts a roster of over 70 characters, featuring characters from all of the anime’s story arcs.
You can fight as the Bronze Saints, The Gold Saints, or even the God Warriors from the Asgard arc. The game also boasts a story mode that encompasses all 4 major arcs, though with some liberties taken. For example, the game skips the anime’s earlier introductory arcs and dives straight into the “Sanctuary Arc”.
This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but the game does a really poor job in fleshing out the show’s backstory. You’ll dive right into a new arc, while only being a given a fraction of the info needed to understand what’s happening. What’s worse is that all the cut-scenes are just in-game models awkwardly talking to each other, which takes away a lot of the imagination and creativity from these retellings.
The game also has another mode, one which is loosely based off the “Soul of Gold” spin-off anime. It features all the Gold Saints in their “God Cloths” from said anime, fighting it out with the important people in their lives. While it’s a fun mode, it doesn’t really do a lot to set itself apart from the main story. It’s cool that the mode lets you make use of “Assist Phrases”, which are cool little stat bonuses; it’s just a shame that there’s not all that much to said mode.
Each of the 12 Gold Saints gets a few fights each, but that’s about it. Still, this mode is only a small part of the game. The crux of the game is its combat, which is surprisingly fun. You have your basic combo strings, as well as having several special attacks. All of the special attacks in the game are based off actual moves from the anime. There are also “Big Bang Attacks”, which are powerful super moves that each character has access to. These attacks are spectacular displays of power, and allow for some epic finishing moves.
As awesome as these moves are, they make certain characters way better. For example, Syd’s special attacks are just downright disgusting. He has two versions of the “Shadow Viking Tiger Claw”, which both do an insane amount of damage and near-perfect tracking. Despite the severe unbalanced nature of the game’s roster, it’s still quite a fun game.
The final thing I’d like to touch of is the game’s graphics and sound. The game is pretty nice to look at, featuring varied designs and a pleasant cell-shaded art-style. Unfortunately, facial animations tend to be stiff and the models look very dated. It lacks the kind of polish you’d see in something like “Dragon Ball FighterZ”. Still, it’s not terrible and the graphics do help the designs pop quite a bit.
The game’s music and voice-acting are probably the best parts of the whole package. The game boasts a soundtrack that would feel right at home in any given episode of the anime. It also reunites most of the anime’s original voice-cast, resulting in vocal performances on par with the 80s classic. In fact, the voice-acting is one of the few reasons I didn’t skip the cut-scenes. Sure, they were still flat and boring, but at least the voice-acting gave them a bit more flare.
With all that being said, I think Soldier’s Soul is a decent game. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. It’s a middle-of-the-road anime game, one that a person could find quite a bit of enjoyment in. It’s obvious the game was made primarily with fans of the original show in mind, though I’m sure a lot of anime fans could find enjoyment in the game. If you’re looking for a fighting game with strong gameplay and an interesting hook, then it’s probably best you look somewhere else.