Soulcalibur II is a fighting arcade game that was released by Namco in 2002; it runs on their System 246 hardware, and despite its name, it is the third entry in their Soulcalibur series. "Soulcalibur" is the name of a holy sword, created to battle the evil sword Soul Edge, which the games' storylines revolve around - and when compared to its immediate predecessor, this entry also boasts improved graphics, and introduces new characters, stages and music. With respect to game mechanics, both games are very similar (with Soulcalibur II generally considered an updated version of the inceptive Soulcalibur).
Major improvements include more powerful "step" and "avoid" systems (which make evading vertical attacks significantly easier), arena walls (as opposed to ring-out ability on all sides), and subsequent wall-specific moves, a three-step "Soul Charge" system and a "clash" system (which shall come into effect when two attacks strike each other, resulting in a white flash and no injury to either character).
This game is set four years after the end of Soulcalibur, which, based on calculations from a timeline that was released on the Soul Archive website, would mean its story takes place in the year 1591:
The wave of slaughters that terrorized Europe reached a sudden end. The knight in azure armor, Nightmare, and his followers were successful in collecting enough souls and were about to start the restoring ceremony on the ruins of the once-proud Osthreinsburg Castle. But just as the ceremony was to start, three young warriors assaulted the castle. In a matter of time the clan was defeated and Nightmare stood in front of the young warriors wielding the Sacred Trinity. After an intense battle Nightmare fell, but then the evil soul inside Soul Edge sent the young warriors into a vortex of hellfire and stood to confront them. As result of Soul Edge's evil aura, Krita-Yuga revealed its true form: that of the Holy Sword, Soulcalibur.
The intense battle ended with the victory of the holy sword, but at the collapse of the vortex of Inferno, both swords along with the azure Nightmare were sucked in a void and expelled in another place. Siegfried Schtauffen, who was until a moment before the Azure Knight, restored his mind. Recognizing his sins, he set on a journey of atonement. Still the blade held a strong bond, and every night it took control of the body and took souls of those nearby. The efforts made by the young knight were fruitless, and four years later the Azure Nightmare returned.
Around those times various warriors came into contact of the blade's remaining fragments, revealing Soul Edge's ultimate survival after its defeat. Driven either to possess or destroy it, they join a new journey, while Nightmare starts his rampage once again, seeking souls to restore Soul Edge once again...
© NAMCO 2002
Alternate upright cabinet.
PlayStation 2's cover art.
Microsoft Xbox cover art.
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