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Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul review

Saint Seiya Soldiers' Soul review (1)

In Japan, Saint Seiya is nothing short of a national phenomenon. Even after the manga sold 34 million copies, interest hasn’t waned, with the Saints spurring an anime, four films, and even a musical. Purportedly, the property played a pivotal role with directors, with the creators of Bleach and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing stating they were inspired by Seiya. In other parts of the world, the series proved just as popular. Showcasing one of the rare Brazilian protagonists depicted in manga and anime, Saint Seiya become huge in not only that country, but throughout the rest of Latin America.

About the only location where Seiya wasn’t well received was in the U.S. Blame a bowdlerized, reedited effort that aired sixteen years after the original production and it’s little wonder that the Cartoon Network pulled the plug on the anime after only 32 episodes. So while South America receives a boxed copy of Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul with both a Portuguese and Neutral Spanish voiceover track, the U.S. only receives a subtitled digital version. But regardless of how you watched Seiya, you can relax knowing that developer Dimps (Dragon Ball Xenoverse, co-developer of Street Fighter IV) have created a largely commendable adaptation of the eighties-era anime.

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Jumping into the game’s Legend of Cosmo component gives the option of progressing through a contenting compilation of four story arcs culled from its animated source material. Whether players select Asgard, Hades, Poseidon, or Sanctuary, the structure of each journey is similar. Employing a map to chart progress, you’ll be sent through a succession of cutscenes and battles which aim to offer an abridged rendition of Saint storyline.

While there’s divergence to accommodate the transition to single match, one-on-one, health bar-driven fights, Soldiers’ Soul captures the much of the essence of each showdown. In execution, that typically means multiple fights against the same foe, with enemies having additional health in subsequent matches to signify an enemy’s unveiled power. Interestingly, special challenges task players with mimicking the finishing strikes of the anime, so when Seiya faces against Sea Horse Baian, burning Cosmos to the Seventh Sence, earns additional credits that can be used to unlock Soldiers’ Soul’s bevy of in-game collectables.

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For better or worse, the game’s fighting doesn’t veer wildly from the pugilism found in the Naruto Shippuden and Dragon Ball Z adaptions. Soldiers’ Soul employs the same perspective, with the camera continuously framing both characters as they dart around a bounded ring. Favoring accessibility, the game shirks complex combos, instead allowing players to execute a powerful string of strikes through successive presses of the light or heavy attack buttons.

Beyond these basics, fighters can block, dash, and dodge, as well as utilize special abilities that are tried to your Cosmo gauge. While this meter fill as you attack, you can also charge it up manually by holding down the left trigger- ideal for when your opponent is downed. A combination of trigger and keys commands offers access your special moves, which provide a gratifying recreation of each character’s abilities. Dimps intent on keeping Soldiers’ Soul accessible to aficionados is evident, with a low slung learning curve and control consistency among the title’s roster. But, there are also concessions to nuance, best illustrated in a full Cosmo meter. In archetypal risk/reward fashion, players can empty their saving on a flashy Big Bang special or engage their Seventh Sense- which augments a character’s abilities, extending the possibility of inducing even more damage.

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Wisely, incentive in Soldiers’ Soul extends beyond playing through familiar plotlines. Fans will undoubtedly find themselves absorbed in the chase to unlock all 60+ character variants, even if a large portion of the final roster are Saints in bronze, gold, and God clothes forms. What’s more currency can be uses to purchase Assist Phrases, which are used to augment the abilities of a character in addition to the customary sundry of collectables that range from background music, art, and a multitude of additional costumes.

Beyond Soldiers’ Soul robust quartet of campaigns, there are a handful of additional play modes. Battle of Gold offers a non-canonical collection of duels for the revived God-clothes Saints. To keep players from careening through this indulging diversion, torches are required to proceed, each available through a heaping portion of in-game credits. Meanwhile, the title’s Tournament recreates the Seiya’s Galaxian Wars contest, playfully adding commentary delivered via the DualShock 4’s speaker.

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Naturally, players can burn Cosmos in both local and online battles. Unfortunately, a few blemishes spoil the net-based skirmishes, stemming from the game’s netcode. Unless matches sported a top tier connectivity rating, lag has the tendency to creep into games. While that might be patchable, the game’s rooster balance is a much bigger issue. With gamers gravitating to characters with powerful ranged attacks, Saint Seiya seem better suited for solitary play rather than a match striving for equality.

Building on the engine used in 2013’s Brave Soldiers, Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul offers a largely capable visual delivery. While the juxtaposition of cell-shaded characters against non-shaded backdrops or the sporadic instance of a low-res texture might concern some, these deficiencies are largely outweighed by the game’s other graphical virtues. From a consistently fluid, sixty frame-per second framerate to stunning special attacks, Soldiers’ Soul offers just enough trimmings to justify a now-gen release.

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Although Saint Seiya might not be a household name in the North America, for other parts of the world it’s earned a spot in the anime pantheon, with Athena’s guardians inspiring a number of consequent efforts. For those who followed the anime or manga, Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul is a solid helping of fan-service, offering a proficient fighter that’s entrenched in Saint lore. Enthusiasts don’t be disappointed.

Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul was played on the PS4 with code provided by the publisher.

Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC
Developer: Dimps
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release date: September 25th, 2015
Price: $59.99 (PS4), $39.99 (PS3), coming soon to PC via Steam
In Japan, Saint Seiya is nothing short of a national phenomenon. Even after the manga sold 34 million copies, interest hasn’t waned, with the Saints spurring an anime, four films, and even a musical. Purportedly, the property played a pivotal role with directors, with the creators of Bleach and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing stating they were inspired by Seiya. In other parts of the world, the series proved just as popular. Showcasing one of the rare Brazilian protagonists depicted in manga and anime, Saint Seiya become huge in not only that country, but throughout the rest of Latin America. About…

Review Overview

Gameplay - 80%
Control - 75%
Aesthetics - 80%
Content - 80%
Accessibility - 75%

78%

GOOD

Summary : If you strip away the license, Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul remains an accessible, albeit ill-balanced fighter. While fighting fanatics might scoff at the mechanics, Saint stalwarts will likely appreciate the game’s adaptation of source material.

User Rating: 3.83 ( 5 votes)

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

18 comments

  1. I hate to sound like a jerk, but what happened to the Corpse Party: Blood Drive review?

  2. Is Saint Seiya streaming anywhere? Always heard good things about it but never was able to watch it.

      • Is that the original anime? I thought Sanctuary was one of the arcs.

        “Whether players select Asgard, Hades, Poseidon, or Sanctuary….”

        • You might have to find another complete source for it, most of this anime is old and scattered everywhere online. It seems most sites separate arcs and place them as individual series nowadays, Sanctuary being one of the longer ones, I guess it makes sense.

          If I remember correctly, Saint Seiya gets started with Galaxian Wars, which is the tournament Seiya participates in when he goes back to Japan, meets Saori and all that. The ones who survive this are the ones who became the Bronze Saints – Seiya meets Hyoga, Shiryu, Shun and Ikki. After this comes the Black Saints, then the Silver Saints.

          Then comes the Gold Saints arc, which is the one everyone loves and knows – Sanctuary, here you meet the zodiac warriors and rescue Athena. After Sanctuary comes Asgard, then Poseidon, and then the Hades story line which makes for The Holy War chapters. Then for last, Soul of Gold and Omega. This is what it is for the anime timeline, most of anything else comes from the manga and the OVAs.

          Outside the anime, I recommend Legend of Sanctuary, all things considered it lived up to the hype – summarized about 100 episodes in less than two hours of rendered beauty. I might not agree with some creative choices made, but whatever – the whole damn thing was just everything most people wanted. And the one I liked the least must be Overture, it picks up after The Holy War, it’s beautiful yet painfully slow with plot incongruencies.

          • Wow, how did you manage to watch it all in the US?

          • I grew up in South America around the 80’s, which means I would come back from school to watch Candy Candy, Heidi, Mazinger Z, Macross, Dragonball Z and of course Saint Seiya – which is the one that got me into anime.

          • So I guess the whole thing about Seiya being a Latin American thing is pretty true.

            Well at least we got Macross and Ranma 1/2!!!

          • Pretty hardcore knowledge there. Anime respect earned!

  3. I watched a bit of Saint Seiya when I loved in France. I’d love to play the game, Looks cool.

  4. Why is it $59.99 for a digital version? Should be $49.99?

  5. Great review. I love the animals and manga.

  6. Ive never seen of Seiya, only heard of it. Good review though.

  7. Here’s the thing about digitial games like this. We probably wont see a sale for a while. I don’t thik the PS3 game has dropped below $29.99

  8. I’m one of the few people who watched Saint Seiya in the US, butchered and all. I was always sad that Saint Seiya: Sanctuary Battle wasn’t released here. This kind of makes up for it.

  9. Do they have the old butt rock metal soundtrack?