Saint Seiya Soldiers’ Soul Preview

Man of the Cloth.

Though new to North America, Saint Seiya still holds popular in Japan and in other anime-loving nations. Bandai Namco hopes that the popularity carries over into the Western gaming market with their latest anime title, Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul. The title, admittedly, has some work to go, but in its first playable build, there's a lot of good mechanics for the team to build on.

Nick Tan and I got some hands-on time at E3, and instantly noticed the excellent graphics. Regularly I say that visual graphics are critical but not the most important aspect of a title. But when you find your game is drawn directly from one of the longest-running franchises in anime and manga and also runs directly parallel to the current story arc in Japan, the graphics had better be on point. Fortunately, the game, even in an early state, featured animations that were smooth and crisp, well-suited to the original anime.

Controls were surprisingly not as intuitive for a 3D fighting game, though we were both able to catch on within a few minutes. Combat was enjoyable, though we did exploit something that potentially could seriously bring the game down. During our playthrough, I played as Leo, one of the newest characters from the Saint Seiya series, while Nick played as Saga. Saga has a move where he fires a plasma ball that hones in on the other player, and seemingly cannot be blocked. [Spamming might be a problem. ~Ed. Nick]

I'm not mentioning this because I'm salty over losing, but because from our playthrough, we determined that Saga is extremely overpowered. Hopefully, characters are balanced much better by the time the game is launched this Fall. There's a lot of promise in Saint Seiya: Soldiers' Soul, but more work needs to be done before this fighter can be considered worthy of wearing the God Cloth.