Soul Calibur IV

Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating.

Content sum up: While its combat system is mild and bloodless, and language is negligible, the same cannot be said for its suggestive content, with plenty of near naked women and pronounced, exaggerant breast physics. If it didn't have these element, my recommened age rating would go down. But since there are alternative fighting games for kids anyway (Naruto, Super Smash Bros, etc.), I recommend this game for ages (at minimum) 14+.

Mild language: There are two uses of the word hell in story mode, but both are used in context (as in fires of hell), and the second time it's used in text. Some characters will say "D*mn!," or "D*mn you!," while fighting, if damaged or they lose a match; a couple of the characters will use hell in the introduction before matches; and a few of the characters' combos and a couple of the story stages have the word d*mn and hell in their names. There is no option to turn language off.

Partial nudity: Many of the female fighters wear scant garb; from the most modest, who wear full armor, to the worst, who wear almost nothing. The worst offenders are Ivy (roll-over here), Taki (here) and Sophitia (and here). These female fighters also have large busts, and are implemented with prominent, overreactive breast physics. Lastly, there is a character customizer, where you can create and customize a (male or) female character. You can make her chest very large, and remove her equipment entirely, leaving her garbed in a skimpy bikini. You can stay in this character creation screen, zoom in/out, and pan in on the character. Some of the outfits selectable show more than this bikini, like a strapless bra, which reveals more of the upper breasts, a couple of g-strings and other outfits that resemble lingerie.

Sexual themes: Several of the female fighters move around in a suggestive manner, but beyond this, there are no actual sexually oriented scenes or dialog.

Violence: The story revolves around all of the characters fighting over two swords of destructive power, the good sword Soul Calibur, and the bad sword Sould Edge. That's all there is to the story, and though it is a bit better story than in the in say, the Dead or Alive series, it's still incoherent, contrived, corny, and really just an exuse (like all fighters) to get from match to match. Every fighter has a basic ability to block, kick, punch, grab, and counter, and many characters use swords, spears, flails, whips, etc. And while combat is chaotic, the arenas are partially destructible, and it is relatively violent (it's a fighter), it is also mild, with (devoid a plethora of colorful, firework-like effects on impact) no bood, and a lack of the gratuitous brutality compared to most in its genre. Other than this, there are a couple of somewhat intense and violent scenes in the story mode, but they're brief, far and few between and not worth writing out in detail. Last of all, there are some bizarre fighters, notabley Nightmare, Astaroth and most of all, Voldo (roll-over); his disturbing appearance even more so in motion, with snake-like movements as he grotesquely hisses and contorts.

Content review posted: 07/31/2008

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