These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
The ambiguously canon SCV light novel appears to do this to Tira... somewhat. Was she making sure Pyrrha stayed alive for all those 17 years due solely to keep her around to manipulate into being Soul Edge's host later in life or was there genuine motivation buried somewhere in there to keep Sophitia's final request that Pyrrha would be taken somewhere safe?
Alt-itis: One of the largest appeals of the series from III onward was its character customization. Particularly in V, where it was the most complete part of the game. Most of the time spent on it is making as many and as detailed characters as possible and watching them beat each other the hell up.
Ass Pull: Soulcalibur V's time skip of 17 years should have allowed for a slew of new characters, and exciting older versions of established series regulars. However, in what is arguably one of the biggest Ass Pulls of the series so far, only Mitsurugi (46), Siegfried (40), Hilde (35), and Voldo (67) have aged naturally out of the whole returning cast. The rest of the returning cast are afforded a variety of contrived excuses for the fact that they lookexactlythe same as they did 17 years previous — Ivy (listed as "stopped aging at 32"), Maxi, Tira, Cervantes, Raphael, and Kilik all have similarly wafty excuses (or no explanation at all) in their bios to explain their youthful inertia (all of these cases have to do with Soul Edge's influence when you look at it). Overall, this lends the time-skip plot device a half-done feel, as if it was felt too risky from a fan-appeal perspective to allow these characters (particularly the women) to age naturally. Compare this to Namco's other premier fighter, which shook up the status quo quite soundly with its third installment, and you'll probably be able to understand where a great deal of disappointment with V's story lies.
To add fuel to the fire, game director Daishi Odashima even stated in interviews that the seventeen years time skip was nothing more than an arbitrary number, to which many fans justifiably asked, "Then what was the point?"
It's widely believed that Cervantes (who was undead prior to SCV) returned to a younger age upon coming back to life.
According to Word of God, he actually bodyhopped (somehow) to a younger vessel 12 years prior to V... which inexplicably happens to look like his original body in addition to retaining all of the supernatural powers he had while he was a ghost pirate zombie.
Strangely, one of the create-a-character hairstyles is Maxi's "Regent" hair-do, but it is an aged grey colour by default, implying perhaps that Namco did originally intend to age him naturally... then rescinded quite late into the game's development.
Did we really need yet another "good force from the beginning is revealed to be a total dickweed with no reason or warning" that is so common in certain JRPG to apply to Soul Calibur?
There has been a modicum of foreshadowing for this event, such as Soul Calibur not being in the proximity of the Kali-Yuga or Dvapara-Yuga, the other two treasures responsible for routinely purifying the blade of any negative energies it incurred over the years, Soul Calibur being trapped inside of Inferno for four years after the original Soulcalibur, possibly being corrupted by Soul Edge as hinted by Soul Calibur (Evil) in SCII, and Algol's soul tainting the sword due to his restlessness when he sacrificed his life to forge it, although the common reaction is that this plot point came out of the blue.
Soulcalibur V. Story Mode. Chronicle 17. The whole "go back in time to prevent your big mistake" element—never once hinted as an ability of Edge Master's, one that would've been useful at numerous points in the series—is so Deus ex Machinait hurts.
Author's Saving Throw: The producers probably felt really bad about tossing Sophitia into the grinder in V. So not only does she get to appear in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, she's also set to return in Soulcalibur: Lost Swords. Although the canon status of the game is questionable, it's something.
Base Breaker: The Star Wars characters. Everyone likes Darth Vader, but not necessarily as a Soulcalibur fighter. Although they helped introduce new fans to the series similar to Link in SCII (especially Vader), the fact that they come from a futuristic sci-fi settingnote which is still technically "a long time ago" was not taken lightly. Yoda deserves special mention for his height making him rather unorthodox to play as, and because many Xbox 360 users were stuck with him rather than the much, much cooler Vader (until the DLC came out). The fact that many fans had been hoping forKratos, who only afterwards got to be in the less popular Broken Destiny, did not help matters.
Also Dampierre. He's either a whimsical, hilarious and Crazy Awesome addition to the roster or too wacky and annoying for the series and (like the Star Wars characters) completely out of place.
The new Nightmare of V appears to be this, although almost completely from a gameplay perspective. A number of Soulcalibur forums are split down the middle between people that say Nightmare is insanely overpowered and people who don't think he's a threat at all.
Tira and Z.W.E.I. also tend to fall into this. Tira is a classic example, being an Ensemble Darkhorse considered the most interesting and competent of the series' villains by a large portion of the fanbase but also The Scrappy for people that don't like her voice acting or her role in Sophitia's Face-Heel Turn. Z.W.E.I., meanwhile, is either considered one of the coolest of the new characters who got shafted in Story Mode for that dick Patroklos or a bizarre, out-of-place anime character that doesn't mesh with the setting and got too much screentime as it was.
Algol. Either he's a well-rounded, tragic character with understandable motivations who also happens to be an undeniable badass, an OP character who is a complete pain in the ass to fight against, or simply lacks the wow factor of bosses such as Abyss and Night Terror from III. A great deal of fans asked if Algol would be returning in V, but his actual reveal in V caused a schism. Then it was revealed that Algol, like several characters, was a non-plot entity in the game. The base was broken even further.
Somewhat remedied by the fact that his infinites which made him so cheap and got him banned were removed entirely in V, making him a bit less OP. This still does not stop people hating him whenever he gets two full meters and uses them all in one combo that kills you instantly.
Natsu. The reaction on fan forums was frosty at best when she was first revealed. She's either viewed as a plucky, fun take on the usually stoic ninja class, OR an annoyingly tacky ninja Barbie, pandering to the very worst Mukokuseki pop-culture principles. That, and the fact that she replaced the deadly serious, ice-cold badass and fan-favourite, Taki....
Broken Base: Soulcalibur V is on a crash course for splitting the fanbase in two (see also: Contested Sequel below). The competitive players love the changes done to the engine, while fans of the single player modes are disappointed with the slim solo options, not to mention missing/replaced classic characters.
Even the new mechanics are not safe from polarizing the fanbase. Many feel that the meter is well implemented while many others feel that it makes Soulcalibur less unique and more generic.
The fanbase is also broken over the matter of the DLC character customization packs on the Cepheus Store. Some love the steady stream of updates to help the game's longevity and the additional options for customization, while others think the time devoted to the Cepheus Store would be better spent on updates such as characters or stages. Still others think that the prices are just plain not worth a few pieces of clothes.
Good news! Soulcalibur II, which many consider the Magnum Opus of the Soul series, is getting a HD rerelease complete with online multiplayer! Heihachi and Spawn will even both be available for the PS3 and 360 versions. Wait, you want to play it on the Wii U and with Link? Sucks for you.
Even better news, ladies and gentlemen: we also have the lack of a Japanese voice track, unskippable intro and win poses online and a netcode WORSE than Soulcalibur V and Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Make of it what you will.
Canon Sue: Mitsurugi has begun to move towards this territory of late. Despite being a walking artifact with no tangible connections to the main plot anymore aside of "only Soul Edge can provide a challenge for me", he's the one who gets to face Algol in IV, despite such a scenario not making much sense when Algol's true goal was re-obtaining the soul swords (thus meaning he'd be more inclined to go after Siegfried and Nightmare). Whereas Taki (another fan-fave since the beginning) has been shunted to the sidelines in favor of Natsu because she's allegedly "too old to be a ninja", Mitsurugi—the exact same age as Taki—is not only still kicking it old school, but hasn't lost his edge with a sword despite being inactive for 17 years (whereas Taki was not only training and raising Natsu but still partaking in missions). He's portrayed as a Badass Normalpar excellence with nearly no losses to his name since the original Soulcalibur (the one character who defeated him prior to Soul Edge, gun-toting Teppou Hei, was given his just desserts soon after) and enough skill to fight Algol, a character easily in the Top 3 among the Soul series cast, to a draw. The only tarnish on his record excluding his backstory in the first game is his loss to Setsuka between IV and V, and even that seems like a cop-out on the writers' part: although Setsuka defeated Mitsurugi fairly and disarmed him of Shishi-Oh, he got the last laugh by knocking her unconscious, which makes him appear to be the victor instead. However, he remains a popular character, and thus avoids Creator's Pet status. On top of this (and in all fairness), he was originally intended to be the main character of the series; back in the days of Edge/Blade, you'd have a hard time convincing fans that Siegfried would go on to take up the mantle of protagonist for most of the series' run.
Mitsurugi is similar to Tekken's Paul in that he has been in every Soul series game and his main motivation in the tournament is just because he likes to fight (he is of course in every game because he is popular). (On a different note, Mitsurugi's counterpart Arthur is even often speculated to be an ancestor of Paul.) The difference is that, despite being shown to be a powerful fighter with impressive feats to his name (despite losing plot importance to largely play the role of comic relief in later games, Paul did fight Kazuya to a draw and went undefeated throughout the Third King of Iron Fist Tournament, even triumphing over Ogre), Paul's character traits are sometimes played as severe detriments to himself and others (such as his overconfidence in T4note which not only led to his fans and admirers getting sick of Paul's ego and Paul's dojo going bankrupt due to lack of students, but his loss at Kuma's hands), unlike Mitsurugi. He also spent the nineteen-year Time Skip between T2 and T3 actually training (and thus was in peak condition as opposed to Mitsurugi), which helps make his accomplishments seem more believable.
Contested Sequel: Soulcalibur V. Hoo boy. The online crowd highly praises this game for finally focusing on what really matters instead of single-player content, while fans of the single-player and story aspect lambaste it for the same reasons, particularly the lack of story content for everyone who isn't Patroklos or Pyrrha. Opinions on the character roster vary even more wildly.
Designated Hero: Patroklos is what happens when you try to compress the totality of Siegfried's character progression in the past five titles into one abbreviated story, but ramp up every flaw of his to the point of anti-endearment. Despite SCV trying its damnedest to make you accept him as the series' new hero, it is Pyrrha, his wallflower of a sister, who comes across as a more strong-willed and heroic character, and she's the one who spends most of the game doing Tira's bidding. Yes, the Designated Villain of the game is more of a hero than its supposed lead. When Patroklos is challenged on the legitimacy of his status as Soul Calibur's inheritor and told that he lacks resolve, one wonders why the sword simply didn't change hands to Z.W.E.I. or back to Siegfried (or why it stopped working for Siegfried at all) as the plot naturally shoehorns in half-baked explanations to continue "justifying" the guy's almost non-existent hero credentials. (Face it, if Yoshimitsu declares you an evildoer, he probably has a good reason to do so.) He does slowly move away from this, though a downright horrific Establishing Character Moment at the end of his first chapter (see Never Live It Down below) makes it hard for many to recognize any subsequent growth as a character from Patroklos.
Li Long. He was probably the reason many people got into Soul Edge, thanks to his unique weapon and flashy moves. His lack of presence in the other games makes this all the more sad. Thankfully Maxi uses the same weapon — hey, wait...
Well, according to Word of God, Maxi did learn how to use nunchaku from Li Long...
Link, the GameCube-exclusive guest. Singlehandedly got more people into Soulcalibur II than any other system's guest character. In fact, the GameCube version is one of the few multiplatform games in the 6th generation of consoles to sell best there.
Kratos. Probably the main reason why fans bought Broken Destiny; fans had been hoping for him as a guest character ever since SCIV was announced.
Shura. Possibly the most popular (bonus) character in Soulcalibur IV. Harada and Daishi received a lot of tweets asking if she would return.
Talim is also very popular due to her kind personality and unique playstyle. Filipino players especially like her, since she's the only Filipino fighter in the series (or possibly in any other fighting series out there).
Hwang, to the point where fans are petitioning him to be included in V. Unfortunately, Word of God states that neither he nor Shura will be returning in V.
Ezio Auditore. 'Nuff said. Bonus points for being the least base-breaking guest character, as fans critically approved his fighting game debut.
Darth Vader has evolved from a Base Breaker into one of these, for being one of the best guest characters to use in competitive play, the only one of the three Star Wars guests to not be broken in some way, and for being, y'know, DarthVader. Possibly a bigger game-seller than Link.
In II's Weapon Master Mode, one of the three gates main antagonist Veral is trying to destroy in order to release the full power of Soul Edge is guarded by Tristy, Guardian of the Soul, who appears as Kilik in the story. In the epilogue, Tristy notes that the powers of the two soul swords have made him immortal, and as such, he'll spend the rest of his existence recording the history of the world. Most fans came to the same conclusion: Tristy is the past identity of Edge Master, with additional backing seen in Olcadan recognizing Kilik's style (it's heavily implied that Edge Master and Olcadan fought to a draw in the past).
The Assassin enemies in II were believed to be Hwang due to them duplicating his moveset.
There's a somewhat popular theory that Voldo is none other than Vercci himself, simply driven insane by his paranoia and greed.
V is just swarming with these. Is Raphael the new Nightmare or (at the very least) a new host for Soul Edge? Is Viola an amnesiac Amy? That's not even getting into the appearance of Ezio, who, by his series' canon, was dead before the Soul series even started, and the Word of God statement that Ezio is in V due to Animus, implying that either Ezio is some sort of "ghost" or that the game takes place within Animus itself. And let's not even get started on the potential shipping/ship sinking debates popping up from the fact that both Xianghua and Hilde are now mothers.
On the subject of Soul Edge bodyjacking Raphael as his new host, the idea that Raph himself is a ghost during the events of V is a very popular fan theory. Nothing has been explicitly confirmed, but all hints (see the WMG tab for more details) point to yes.
When Alpha Patroklos was leaked, many theorized that Setsuka had trained Patroklos when he was little. Not only does he have herfightingstyle, but he also speaks Gratuitous Japanese during certain moves. This was later confirmed to be true.
The rumor that there will be a Nintendo 3DS version has caused some people to think that Link will make a comeback.
Even Better Sequel: General consensus is that Soulcalibur II is the best game in the series. Especially the GameCube version.
Tough Act to Follow: Many agree that II is where the series peaked, so every game since is this by default. Still, there are a great deal of fans who will take the original Soulcalibur and SCIII as acceptable answers for one's favorite entry in the series alongside SCII.
Fanfic Fuel: Soulcalibur V is becoming a potential case of this especially due to the fact that SCV is now a major case of What Could Have Been as the Story Mode was originally going to be a lot larger than it was but ended up being substantially downsized due to time constraints. Basically, if Namco doesn't release a more complete version of SCV then fan writers will probably have a field day with this.
Sophitia and Taki have "unblockable" attacks which, while still slow to use, have areas of effect which can't be walked around, so you need to jump/attack the other person instead. Sophitia's barely even has the start-up restriction, since another attack leads into it.
Natsu is arguably this, as she can take off 50% of someone's health without meter by mashing buttons.
Another AI killer would definitely have to be Link's throw in the GCN version of Soulcalibur II, which can Ring Out from almost anywhere on the stage.
Cervantes in Soulcalibur.
Astaroth was arguably this in III, where he had some of the most powerful throw combos in the history of the series.
Setsuka's initial incarnation was very hard to beat, since her fighting style emphasizes quick, hard-to-block strikes.
Hilde. Ringing people out with her in IV was so easy that every Hilde player who appeared on the main stage at the Evolution 2009 tournament was booed by the crowd.
Any mention of liking Amy in the 8WayRun forums is bound to be met with a boatload of hate.
Genius Bonus: Ivy uses a whip-like weapon and is the daughter of a pirate captain. Another name for the whip-like cat-of-nine-tails is "captain's daughter," according to the Other Wiki.
"Pavor Nocturnus", the theme of Nightmare in SCV, is the Latin designation for the sleep disorder known as night terrors, making the song title a clever nod to Nightmare's One-Winged Angel form, which served as the True Final Boss of Tales of Souls in SCIIIand, according to the New Legends of Project Soul artbook, is currently aimlessly flying around in Astral Chaos.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Soulcalibur III's Event Viewer let you change any character's weapon before choosing which scene to watch. Choosing to equip Mitsurugi with Soul Edge and choosing to view his ending could lead to the implication and sight of him being able to wield Soul Edge AND Soul Calibur at once... and then came Soulcalibur IV which introduced Algol, who could do exactly that as part of his story. Even funnier when you learn that Mitsurugi's later story involved him challenging Algol to a duel.
Ho Yay: Possibly Voldo for Vercci, also conveying Nightmare Fuel because Vercci is dead. This trait gets taken advantage of by Soul Edge, who impersonates Vercci's voice in order to bend Voldo to his will.
Voldo knows and realizes it's a trick. He goes along with it anyway because he's so happy to have a new purpose in life. In his own heart, he serves only Vercci. Furthermore, in Voldo's ending, he becomes the guardian of Soul Edge, which kind of works as a double-edged sword for Nightmare. On one hand, Voldo kills anyone trying to take or destroy it; on the other hand, since Soul Edge no longer has a body, it can't absorb souls anymore.
Although it shouldn't be taken seriously, Cassandra has a one-sided case of Les Yay towards Hilde in the gag comics explaining the new features in IV. Works surprisingly well considering her battle quote "Argh, you're definitely not my type!" is only used against males.
In a rather demented demonstration of Les Yay, Tira seems fond of calling Pyrrha "Pretty Pyrrha" ("Pyrrha-chan" in Japanese) and threatens to give her a spanking in her intro quote when fighting her. She also screams out "Feels good!" when KOed by Pyrrha.
Magnificent Bastard: Raphael. Quite possibly this trope's embodiment in the series. He also has quite a few similarities with Lelouch of Code Geass fame.
Not if Tira has anything to say. She's very good at playing many of the characters, particularly villains, for suckers. The only thing really holding her back is actually being loyal to Nightmare.
And as of SCV, Tira is no longer loyal to Nightmare.
And without that tethering her, Tira firmly cements herself as such. She spends the majority of V manipulating Patroklos and Pyrrha so that Pyrrha can become a malfested, thus causing Pat to abandon her and Pyrrha to turn to Tira in response, giving Tira the perfect opportunity to make Pyrrha Soul Edge's newest host. And when all's said and done, Tira flees the scenewithout even getting so much as a comeuppance.
All of the above are nothing compared to Zasalamel. He successfully manipulated everyone else on this list and more in order to do something nobody has since Algol — control both swords at once. And, in every path of every character, he succeeds.
Memetic Molester: Voldo, Ivy, and various other questionable attacks can pertain this status. These two just dominate the competition.
To a lesser extent, Tira, thanks to her Critical Finish in SCIV, which involves her forcing a kiss of death to her opponent. Her non-input ending in SCIII also contributes due to how easily taken out of context it can be.
Thanks tohis LP of the story mode in V, several of Maximilian Christiansen's comments are working their way up, the most frequently repeated one being "I'll carve... my own steak!" for Alpha Patroklos' Critical Edge ("Medium rare, bitch!" addendum optional; the actual line is "I'll carve... my own fate!").
Most Annoying Sound: "JUST KIDDING!" Not only because of Xianghua's shrill voice, but also because it alerts a feint move meant to let the opponent's guard down. Leixia inheriting it doesn't help.
Xiba's death cry of "FOOOOOOOD!" is also very, very high in the running for most annoying sound in the game. Christ, we GET IT, he's a Big Eater!
"Squirm! More Souls! With this... you BURN!" If you are playing Arcade mode in V on Standard, you will hear this exact sequence of Nightmare quotes (while waiting for him to stop beating on your prone body so you can get an attack in edgewise) every single round you fight against him unless you prevent him from attacking at all.
Narm: Voldo's Soul Edge ending, emphasized by bad PS1-era voice acting.
Vercci's Spirit: "Voldo... you fulfilled my wish... Good for you!"
And this rather bizarre and erroneous statement uttered by Tira in SCV. It should be noted, however, that this was part of Tira's manipulation of Pyrrha in order to lead her astray.
Tira: "Normal humans don't go around killing people and burning towns!"
The random create-a-character option in III is a wonderful source of this, because no matter what an amazing fighting background you give them, no matter how epic the background music and how dead serious the battle-lines are, nothing is going to add seriousness to a battle where, say, a bald, blue-skinned guy in a mix of samurai getup and a jester's outfit that is continuously dancing in a silly fashion with tambourines in his hands, fights a half-naked, bespectacled mute old lady that beats things to death with a giant piece of meat.
Nightmare Fuel: Back in Soul Blade/Edge, fighting Inferno/Soul Edge is one by itself. A flaming red skull with two swords, fighting you in a place where the world is crumbling apart, and all of Soul Edge's voices are all numb-chilling howls...
Even worse, Hwang's bad ending in that game. Victorious, Hwang took Soul Edge back to his homeland, thinking that he can contain the evil of Soul Edge to save his country. Bad idea. When he got back home, he became possessed, starts killing his countrymen, and the camera closes to his face, while he lets out a chilling evil scream and his eyes become evil red...
Arguably even worse is Siegfried's bad ending from that game. Unlike Hwang's, you actually see him scream in pain and fear as he turns into (an early version of) Nightmare.
In V, start a fresh edit based on Yoshimitsu. Eventually you can use the same "Mummified" underwear for all your other characters.
Porting Disaster: As noted in Broken Base above, this is the common view on SCII HDO. For many fans, it seems like the HD "remaster" stripped away features from the original game for no reason, barely tweaked what was left in, and tacked on a shoddy online experience for good measure.
Replacement Scrappy: Averted with Cassandra, who was intended to be Sophitia's Suspiciously Similar Substitute, but has been quite well-received (perhaps because popular demand brought Sophitia back as well, meaning the fans gained a new sword and shield character without sacrificing anything). Played perfectly straight with Hwang's "replacement" Yun-seong, however (though Hwang's moveset was closer to Mitsurugi and Xianghua). There are a LOT of people who far prefer Hwang to him.
A good number of people see a majority of V's cast like this. Since they get almost zero story development due to no story elements in the arcade mode, they are more or less reskins. The exceptions to this are Z.W.E.I., Viola and Ezio, for having original fighting styles at the very least, plus Ezio's status as a Guest Fighter.
The Scrappy: Although Tira and the various Tier-Induced Scrappy characters get quite a bit of hate, the most universally hated character in the series appears to be Rothion, Sophitia's NPC husband. Mostly for Die for Our Ship reasons, as people prefer to pair Sophitia with characters of either gender such as Siegfried, Taki, Cassandra, or themselves.
As of SCV, he's finally dead due to illness. But then so is Sophitia (at least from what's been revealed so far). You can't have your cake and eat it too, people.
Also Yun-seong. Full stop. He is everything wrong with teenage action characters in one migrane-inducing package. This is a "hot-blooded" teen who has been shown, told, and even experienced that Soul Edge is nothing more than pure, unadulterated evil that would only possess him and force him to destroy everything he has ever loved. So what does he do? Return home to fight for his country? Or even to continue his training? No. He searches for the damn thing anyway! In fact, Seong Mi-na's only role in the series these days is to stop him from being so incredibly stupid, even if it means attacking him with a bladed weapon. His English voice is also seen as a factor by some.
Even with the Replacement Scrappy issue aside, Xiba is not being particularly well-received by the fandom. His backstory is basically nonexistent, and his only personality traits are constant hunger and being as dumb as a sack of hammers. Even if you like his playstyle, the fact that 99% of his quotes are about how much he wants to go eat will start to grate on you very quickly.
Scrappy Mechanic: IV's take on Character Creation has Attack, Defense, HP, and the five parameters (Power, Impact, Gauge, Boost, and Special, which you need for using skills) tied to the weapons and equipment. This leaves you with several unfavorable options: either you play with a hodgepodge of ill-matched items cobbled together at random, a cool-looking warrior who is poorly-suited for tackling challenges that require better stats (Tower of Lost Souls in particular), or the basic 1P/2P costumes for each character which can only equip special equipment gems (they affect two of the five parameters, although they provide both generous amounts of skill points and stat boosts) and whose color is the only thing you can customize in the vein of III. CAS builds that are both eye-pleasing and practical do exist, but prepare to spend a lot of time jumping through hoops to get there. The feature has been dropped in V, giving the player more freedom in the customization area, without ever minding about pros and cons. The trade-off for this is the unfortunate lack of effects on the extra weapons, a staple in every previous game barring Soulcalibur.
Tear Jerker: One of Tira's potential endings. Nightmare dies, and she is left shaking his body and sobbing that she doesn't want to be alone.
That One Achievement: Wind of Battle in V. The player's required to move over 87,600 total meters across the stages in-game. It's made worse than it should be by the limited offline content.
That One Boss: Setsuka is a stone-cold bitch to fight when she's a computer in Soulcalibur III.
Colossus is this a bit, but it's not terribly fake difficulty or cheap A.I. He's a goddamn giant statue that deals extra damage and is hard to block. For once, it's a reasonable point that he'd be hard.
NIGHT TERROR. There is a perfectly good reason he serves as the True Final Boss of Tales of Souls in III; you need to be flawless if you want to win.
The Apprentice, despite not being a broken character, tends to be a pain in the neck to fight against.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The series has been frequently accused of going this route ever since IV, but this is even more prevalent in V since several characters don't appear in the story mode (and of the ones that did, few had a significant role) and there are no character-based endings in the Arcade Mode at all.
Unlike the other Ditto Fighter characters, Charade wasn't limited to a humanoid form. Its weapon demonstration was it flying around in a comet shape, before reforming. Its event match in III showed that with the Grieve Edge discipline, it didn't even have to be a whole body. And it even had eye beams. None of this was ever used again.
Possibly justified in that, by the time of IV, all of the shards and permutations of Soul Edge (Charade included) returned to Nightmare to reform the sword.
In general, the story for V was rampant with this, with many characters not appearing and many more barely making a cameo. Even Viola, who was was stated to be very important prior to release, had a total of three lines. Plus the game not mentioning anything about the rivalry between Edge Master and Algol, Maxi training Natsu, Leixia and Xiba while traveling the world, Z.W.E.I. and Viola's backstories (not to mention the latter's supposed connection to Amy) and Ezio's appearance in the Soulcalibur universe made things worse. It's very telling that, according to Daishi Odashima, the story mode of SCV was only one fourth of the planned size.
Hilde, not really for her ranking (there are characters ranked higher than her) but rather for how easy it is to win via ring out with her. During the Soulcalibur IV tournament at EVO2k9, every time a Hilde player was featured on the main stage, the entire ballroom would be filled with people booing.
The inclusion of Vader and Yoda means half the work is already done for some people, or all of it for those who download the other guy.
What about (based on the latest trailer of SCV) Ezio vs. Nightmare?
Soulcalibur II HD Online: Spawn vs. Heihachi Mishima.
Unfortunate Implications: In Soulcalibur V, every previous female character over the age of 35 (if that) as well as Talim (who would be 32 by the time of V) is either given a contrived excuse to not having aged in 17 years or doesn't appear at all. On top of that, Odashima said in an interview that the reason Taki wasn't coming back was that, since she was over 40, it was time for her to step back and train a new generation of kunoichi (Natsu, in this case). Unfortunate implications, indeed.
The Untwist: Raphael is, in fact, the new host body for Nightmare/Soul Edge in Soulcalibur V. This is made more clear by the facts that their bodies are the same size, they share the same voice actors in both English and Japanese, and their faces are identical (though viewing Nightmare's face requires equipping specific items in the character editor. Supplemental material, including an artbook released shortly after Soulcalibur V, do everything but outright state it.
Villain Decay: Lizardman goes from being enslaved by an evil cult, to wishing to destroy the God Hephaestus with Soul Edge, to simply wanting his human soul.
Mind you, none of these things are necessarily bad reasons for villainy. The reason the decay took over is because of the direction Namco took his character in.
Of course, V implies Lizardman has taken a level in badass, and is now a winged, fire breathing, dual-wielding monster back to hunting down holy warriors. It doesn't hurt that his moveset now takes a few cues from none other than Kratos. Not to mention the implication in his bio in V that he killed Kratos and ate him.
Lampshaded in Broken Destiny, where one of the early levels consists of the player beating the shit out of him, while it's obvious he's The Woobie.
The Woobie: Sophitia in IV. The emotional turmoil she has to endure due to the villains targeting her loved ones is so great that even her artwork shows Sophie in tears. By the gods, does this woman need a great big hug.
Her daughter Pyrrha continues the trend in V. People who try to get close to her all die, causing many to see her as a bad omen. She's sold into slavery. And then the noble that bought her turns out to be not that bad, they fall in love, making things look like they're improving, only for him to be murdered the same night he proposed, leading to her being imprisoned. What makes this worse is that this is the same girl Sophitia fought and possibly died for in hopes of giving her a better life.
Not only is Tira manipulating the poor girl, but Pyrrha eventually turns into a malfested (i.e. Pyrrha Omega) due to being misguided into killing innocents, causing Patroklos to run off in fear. Pyrrha, shunned, hurt, confused, emotionally fragile, and only wanting someone to tell her You Are Not Alone, decides to place her trust in Tira (who was planning on all of this), who makes her the new host of Soul Edge. It doesn't help that Patroklos is being lured by Soul Calibur/Elysium's trickery, almost becoming a Knight Templar; in fact, he would've killed Pyrrha had he not conveniently been given a Reset Button by Edge Master. In the end, the two siblings get a happy ending (with Pat even being able to accept her as a malfested), but good gravy...
Aeon Calcos. It doesn't help that with each game, he gets further away from his humanity as opposed to making any progress in getting it back. It makes his fans wish the writers would throw him a bone for once.
Aeon himself decides to go the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds route out of spite for Hephaestus (who appointed Aeon as a holy warrior tasked with destroying Soul Edge in the first place, which arguably led to his current predicament). Can't say we blame him.
What The Hell, Costuming Department?: The characters' outfits have become more and more ridiculous with each new entry. Soulcalibur IV was the lowest the series ever got, with Soulcalibur V recovering at least some common sense in this area.
That being said, quite a number of the designs (both default and alternate) in V have received mixed reactions, with some of the newcomers being hailed as too "anime-esque" (in particular, many note that Z.W.E.I. looks like he walked straight out of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, which is only exacerbated by E.I.N. more or less acting as his Stand). IV was criticized more so for blatant fanservice (most notably, the increasingly Stripperiffic female characters and the Clothing Damage feature) than the actual character designs themselves as a whole.
The alternate universe single player modes, Weapon Master and Chronicles of the Sword, have examples not found in the main games:
Cliché Storm: The Chronicles of the Sword mode in III cheerfully uses a lot of tropes and character archetypes you should be familiar with if you're into eastern Turn-Based Strategy or generally eastern military fiction.
Fashion-Victim Villain: Did they just set the character editor to random for creating the characters? Even Strife fails to be threatening, mostly due to his hair.