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All spoilers pertaining to the original timeline of the series (Soul Edge to Soulcalibur V) are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

Games with their own page:


  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • "Ha ha, this rod shall be your doom!" Um, Kilik...?
    • Soulcalibur II had a knack for this, by some fans' opinions.
      Taki: (groans) "I can feel the evil!"
      Nightmare: "My thirst is endless!"
      Raphael: "Thrust!"'
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In Soulcalibur and Soulcalibur II, Nightmare's quotes can be ambiguously interpreted as Siegfried speaking through him instead of Soul Edge trying to reclaim its lost shards. Soulcalibur VI revists this and seemingly confirms the idea in the later chapters of Nightmare's Soul Chronicle, where we see Siegfried being lured into harvesting more and more souls at the behest of Soul Edge under the guise of his father Frederick, with the narration calling attention to the tragic character beneath the suit of armor.
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  • 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 (be they Original Characters or crossover, plus "gijinka" if those characters aren't humanoid) and watching them beat each other the hell up.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping: Present with the surprisingly popular pairing of Cassandra, a family-oriented warrior fighting for her sister, and Raphael, a suave, arrogant fencer seeking to create a world suitable for his foster daughter. Since their debut in II, the two have actually interacted with each other a few times in the following installments. Another notable, funny thing about this pairing is how well certain match intro quotes of theirs from Soulcalibur II fit each other.
    Cassandra: "Ugh!! You're definitely not my type!"
    Raphael: "You're quite the rude one."
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  • Author's Saving Throw: The producers probably felt really bad about tossing Sophitia into the grinder in Soulcalibur V. So not only does she get to appear in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, she returned in Soulcalibur: Lost Swords. Although the canon status of the game is questionable, it's something. Additionally, Lost Swords featured the return of Taki, Cassandra, Amy (assuming one does not believe Viola is an older Amy with a different playstyle, which would later be confirmed to be case by Project Soul prior to VI), and Seong Mi-na. This came full force with Soulcalibur VI, which from the first trailer alone shows the much-maligned Time Skip from V has been undone, featuring a younger Mitsurugi and a living Sophitia.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Tira is a classic example, being considered the most interesting and competent of the series' villains by a large portion of the fanbase but also hated by people that don't like her voice acting or her role in Sophitia's Face–Heel Turn.
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    • 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 setting note  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 for Kratos, who only afterwards got to be in the less popular Broken Destiny, did not help matters.
    • Algol. Either he's a well-rounded, tragic character with understandable motivations who also happens to be an undeniable badass, an OP warrior who is a complete pain in the ass to fight against and seemingly materializes out of thin air with little depth to his name, or is simply a guy who 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 when he was revealed to indeed be in the game, this caused a schism. Then it was revealed that Algol, like several characters, was a non-entity in the game's story. The base was broken even further.
    • Dampierre. He's either a whimsical, hilarious and awesome addition to the roster or too wacky and annoying for the series and (like the Star Wars characters) completely out of place.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice:
  • Bragging Rights Option:
  • Broken Base:
    • Good news! Soulcalibur II is getting a HD re-release 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? Too bad.
    • The increased T&A with each subsequent sequel, which came to a head with Soulcalibur IV. It's not uncommon to hear debates over whether it's acceptable or past the point of absurdity. One of the few points of praise V received by one portion was for then-director Daishi Odashima scaling back the fanservice from its predecessor. That changed when Masaki Hoshino was put in charge, who then promptly turned the Fanservice back up to eleven in Lost Swords. Motohiro Okubo followed suit with Soulcalibur VI, having fanservice that could rival or even surpass that of IV.
    • Speaking of Lost Swords, that game frustrated the fanbase to no end, especially after the mess with SCV. It had a shoddy story, steep energy costs to keep playing, the player was locked to one character at the beginning, unlocking new characters was either highly difficult or expensive, the game was filled to the brim with microtransactions, and there was no player-versus-player component (as a misunderstood response to the complaints about the lack of single-player features in V). The fact that it was free-to-play just forced comparisons to Tekken Revolution, another F2P game by Namco that was better received.
    • Even to this day (i.e. the SCVI era), people continually ask Bandai Namco for Soulcalibur to "return" to Nintendo consoles, which they have responded with "maybe later" responses to rather honest admissions (which is they don't do it to avoid backlash over having/not having a Nintendo-exclusive character like Link or even a Fire Emblem character in the roster). Where the fandom is divided is the debate if there should be a Nintendo version (be it the Nintendo Switch or its successor) and if that version deserves an exclusive character the other consoles (and PC without mods) will never have, since the idea of an exclusive first party Nintendo Guest Fighter is the one of the biggest reasons many fans want the franchise to return to a Nintendo console.
  • Cargo Ship: In a series with Empathic Weapons, this was inevitable. This is most prominent with Tira, who explicitly fell in love with Soul Edge and wishes to have her soul consumed by it, but a few other characters have shades of it (such as Ivy and her Valentine).
  • Catharsis Factor: The Character Creation feature introduced in III resulted in people making fighters based off of themselves and their enemies, then beat the living crap out of them. Chris Chan notably did this.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • Seong Mi-na is often thought of as just being a female Moveset Clone of Kilik, the latter being the more recognizable character between them. In fact, when people argue cleaning out the roster of clones, they'll cite Mi-na as the biggest example. The thing is, Seong Mi-na predates Kilik by having appeared in the original game, Soul Edge, whereas Kilik didn't appear until Soulcalibur (the name that the rest of the series is based off of due to Sequel Displacement). While this could be considered Older Than They Think, it's so ubiquitous that it deserves mention here.
      • A new one will likely arise in the wake of VI: Mi-na is a clone of Kilik at all. Considering that Divergent Character Evolution has made them play little like each other apart from their weapons, it's not even fair to call her a clone anymore, not that it'll stop people from doing it.
    • A lot of people imagine Nightmare as Siegfried, and imagine him as using a One-Handed Zweihänder. Actually, this combination didn't happen until much later. Siegfried-as-Nightmare lasted all of two games (Soulcalibur and II), where afterwards the two were made separate characters on the roster due to Siegfried breaking free from Soul Edge and then Zasalamel bonding Inferno and Soul Edge's memories as Siegfried into a discarded suit of armor. It wasn't until III where this was introduced, which was done on purpose to make them stand out from each other, and was maintained in future games. Before that, Siegfried-as-Nightmare would hold Soul Edge with both of his hands (normal and monster), just as Siegfried did/does. While having Siegfried wield Soul Edge with one hand would indeed happen, this wasn't introduced until 2018's Soulcalibur VIa little more recently than one might think.
    • Everyone "knows" that Soul Edge is the evil sword and Soul Calibur is the "good sword", and imagine that the two are at war with each other because the former wants to reign chaos and the latter wants to prevent that from happening for the good of mankind. Those who still think that would be very surprised that this can only be true if taken at face value. In reality, both swords are evil, but in different ways, and are similar to each other. Hinted at throughout the series, and first made explicit in IV, it wasn't until V did the fact come to light where Soul Calibur was shown to have its own version of Inferno with Elysium, and similarly would've taken over Patroklos as its host to create its version of Nightmare. The overall theme is Both Order and Chaos are Dangerous, since humanity is screwed no matter who wins. All in all, Soul Edge might as well say to Soul Calibur "Yeah, I'm evil. But at least I admit it."
    • On a meta level, many think Tira was voiced by fan-favorite actress Jennifer Hale — she never was. Same is said for Talim supposedly being voiced by Hynden Walch.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Kilik seems to be a favorite of many casual fans; he's easy-to-use, has good reach, and is decently strong, if not somewhat linear in his attack patterns. In fact, many of the custom characters in IV are based on Kilik, though Siegfried and Nightmare-based CASes are also common.
    • High-level online play in IV tended to be dominated by one name and one name only: Sophitia. Quick on her feet and good at stringing together combos, her high offensive potential made her a favorite of more competitive-minded players.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Soul Edge itself is a demonic Eldritch Abomination in the form of a shapeshifting Living Weapon, born from a normal sword that was bathed in the blood and hatred of countless warriors. Feeding on the souls of its victims, Soul Edge either brainwashes or directly controls its wielder into slaughtering every living thing they come across until they are killed, with those exposed to its power mutating into monstrous Malfested who are often compelled to serve the cursed blade. Soul Edge has enslaved countless wielders to its will and used them to claim countless lives over the millennia, including compelling the pirate Cervantes de Leon into raping an innkeeper's daughter to sire Isabella Valentine as a prospective future host; brainwashing the knight Siegfried Schtauffen into willingly becoming its host as Nightmare; taking Sophitia Alexandra's infant children hostage to force her to serve it; using Raphael Sorel as a test subject by altering his memories to turn him into Graf Dumas; instigating an anti-Malfested witch hunt to sow discord and reap even more souls; gaslighting Sophitia's son Patroklos Alexander into killing countless innocent civilians by telling him they were Malfested; and gaslighting Sophitia's Malfested daughter Pyrrha Alexandra into willingly becoming its host.
    • Soul Calibur VI: Azwel, the main villain of the "Libra of Soul" story, was formerly a high-ranking member of the Aval Organisation. While a member, Azwel performed terrible experiments that turned people violent and murderous, and at one point during his tenure, Azwel forced a group of ruffians to fight to the death and questioned the survivor, relishing the man's guilt, anguish and conflicting emotions. Eventually leaving Aval, Azwel stole a fragment of both Soul Calibur and Soul Edge and formed the Qualifiers, naming himself the Leader of Humanity. Azwel continued his experiments while searching for Astral Fissures to absorb and strengthen his fragments and create full duplicates of the two swords. His final goal was to use the swords to sacrifice The Conduit and create an "Ultimate Seed" that would wipe out much of humanity while the survivors would ascend with himself in charge. Driven by his fanatical "love" of humanity, Azwel was a madman who saw people as playthings that exist for his amusement.
  • Confirmation Bias: Despite all the official confirmation that Soulcalibur III had no guest character, you'll still see some fans (mainly those outside of Japan) insist that KOS-MOS is the guest character on account of there being a special set of "Type X" CAS parts that recreates her appearance.
  • Contested Sequel: The fourth game, to an extent. While the graphics vastly improved thanks to the move to PS3/Xbox 360 and the Star Wars characters were welcomed by the fandom (as characters only; as fighters they're more contested), the gameplay and story still lingered behind II's shadow. Depending on who you ask, IV is either seen as a slight improvement from III (the console version, at least) with a refurbished Create-a-Soul feature or a much slower-paced, turtle-friendly game with a stripped-down CAS system. (The latter boils down to whether the player values the extra weapon styles of III over the extra customization items and skills system in IV.) Not to mention there's a surprising amount of skin visible over there...
  • Difficulty Spike: The third Chronicle in Tales of the Sword mode; once you get a to a certain point, the A.I. goes from just gradually increasing to difficulty to flat out jumping to an insane level, and it's like that for the rest of the mode.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Rothion must die for Siegfried/Sophitia, Hilde must die for Siegfried/Cassandra, Yun-seong must die for Link/Talim, Link must die for Yun-seong/Talim, Hwang must die for Yun-seong/Seong Mi-na and among others. Come V, Hilde having to die makes no sense, since she is a married woman with two children (much like Sophitia, in fact), but this has not stopped some.
    • With the exception of Rothion, this all seems to go in reverse, too. Whether or not the shipping wars are somewhat friendly or downright hostile depend upon the individual pairing in question.
    • Rothion's case has taken a more positive and hilarious turn thanks to V and VI. Basically, if Rothion had to die for the ship, the main reason would be to prevent Patroklos from coming to existence; therefore, Rothion dying is now retroactively considered a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Taki was quite possibly the earliest example of this in the series, becoming its first Breakout Character and one of the most iconic female characters in the series (rivaled only by Ivy). Her popularity is attributed to the fact that she's a mature kunoichi (unlike most female ninja in fighting games, who tend to be teenagers, she's a grown woman), her general badassery shown in the story, her fun-to-use playstyle, and... her generous assets as well as her costume. Her likability amongst fans only continued to grow as Taki and her fellow female co-lead Sophitia became (somewhat) less integral to the plot in favor of characters like Siegfried, Xianghua, Kilik, and Hilde. Naturally, quite a stir was caused when she was replaced by Natsu in V, and many welcomed her back when she was announced for Lost Swords, even if the game itself was less-than-stellar. In the popularity poll, she placed second out of all characters behind only Talim with 720 votes. In 2016, she was the first character to get celebrated during the series 20th anniversary, despite the fact that she had been cut from the last game. With her chances of returning in a future game looking pretty good based on this, Project Soul eventually delivered what the fans wanted and properly brought back Taki for the next main installment to great fanfare.
    • In the series' heyday, Sophitia was one of the most popular characters, both for being a stunningly beautiful blonde who got some T&A endings and because critics noted that she was one of the most unambiguously heroic fighters in the story — standing out against a group of anti-heroes. After Sophitia missed out on V (due to dying between games), Lost Swords sold itself near exclusively on the fact that she was once again a playable character. Her return in Soulcalibur VI (due to a Continuity Reboot undoing her death in the previous game) was also well-received.
    • 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... note 
    • After being replaced by the far less likable Yun-seong, Hwang saw a notable upswing in popularity, to the point that fans petitioned him to be included in V. He unfortunately didn't make it, but he and Li Long did briefly return in III, even receiving expanded movesets alongside Amy in the game's Arcade Edition. His appearance as a side character in Seong Mi-na's story in VI (and Yun-seong nowhere to be seen outside of a brief mention) has generated much speculation and anticipation that he'll become playable in future DLC. Speculation which was later proven right, as he was the final character added in Season 2.
    • Seong Mi-na—one of the original three Soul ladies, but the one with the least plot importance by far—was thrust here at some point after V. There was even a short-lived movement, Occupy: Soul Calibur, that tried to get her and fellow darkhorse Talim (see below) into the game as DLC. Like Sophitia and Taki before her, fans were looking forward to her "return" in Lost Swords, but when it was learned that the only means of unlocking her boiled down to buying three sets of x12 Premium Chests (equaling a grand total of $90 USD), they were quick to voice their displeasure. Fortunately, damage control was done with the announcement of Mi-na's inclusion in VI at EVO 2018, which received a roaring applause from the crowd.
    • After her introduction in the original Calibur, Ivy quickly became a fixture of the series and ended up supplanting both Sophitia and Taki as the female face of the series — she was the only female character from any of the first three games to appear in V, was featured on the cover of every game in the series released between Calibur and V note , and was marketed heavily in advertisements for both V and Lost Swords. The fact that she has an interesting weapon, a mechanically complex and visually stunning playstyle, and a tragic backstory on top of being one of the biggest sex symbols in video game history only further endears her to fans.
    • 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 (and was the only Filipino character in any other fighting series out there until Josie Rizal came around approximately thirteen years later). The lack of Talim is cited as one of the reasons why fans dislike V, and then she proceeded to top the popularity poll. Yeah, she's THAT loved. And, much like Taki, her long-awaited return to the series in VI was welcomed with open arms by the fanbase.
    • 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.
    • Shura. Possibly the most popular (bonus) character in Soulcalibur IV, likely owed to her eye-pleasing design, flirtatious, fight-loving personality, and use of Cervantes's fighting style — only with katanas. Harada and Odashima received a lot of tweets asking if she would return. Unfortunately, Word Of God stated that she would not be returning in V.
    • Darth Vader evolved from a Base-Breaking Character 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, Darth Vader. Possibly a bigger game-seller than Link.
    • 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.
    • Ezio Auditore, generally considered to be among the upper echelon in regards to guest fighters featured in the series, and the most beloved and least contested newcomer in V by far.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The Assassin enemies in II were believed to be Hwang due to them duplicating his moveset. As a Fandom Nod, Mi-na's Soul Chronicle in VI has Hwang make a surprise appearance and save Mi-na during a Big Damn Heroes moment, all while wearing a disguise that's a dead ringer for Assassin's outfit.
    • There's a somewhat popular theory that Voldo is none other than Vercci himself, simply driven insane by his paranoia and greed. As nothing in the series suggests Voldo and Vercci aren't two separate characters, some fans suscribe to the idea of Dead Person Impersonation to explain away this "discrepancy."
  • Even Better Sequel: The general fandom consensus is that Soulcalibur II, the GameCube version especially, is the best game in the series, though this is still widely debated due to the excellent Dreamcast port of Soulcalibur, which is considered to be far superior to the Arcade versions, and a good contender for the best game ever released on the console. note 
    • However there is also a sizeable camp who instead suggest III is the best game of the series, citing the colossal amount of single player content - you have Story modes for each character with Multiple Endings, Chronicles of the Sword, a fun and varied Mission mode, Arcade, a random Tournament mode, not to mention the now-iconic Create A Soul feature with a vast array of character creation options that future iterations would never quite match.
  • Evil Is Cool: Most of the series' villains count, particularly Big Bad Nightmare (who is even on the Project Soul logo) and undead dual-giant-gun-sword-wielding pirate Cervantes.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Tira wears a skin-tight bodysuit and caters to the "Hot Goth" fandom. She's also The Ophelia, which can endear anyone to fans if they're attractive enough.
    • Ivy counts as well (she's not the current poster girl for the Video Games section of the Ms. Fanservice page here for nothing), but only during Soulcalibur (and even then, Ivy was merely an Anti-Villain misled by Nightmare's scheming); she'd undergo a Heel–Face Turn afterward and become a more heroic, if not morally gray, character.
    • A few others could also fit the criteria at various points in the series (such as Raphael), depending on how far you're willing to stretch the definition of the word "evil."
  • Fan Nickname:
    • There are quiet a lot of these made up by the fandom — "Sieg/Sieggy," "Soph/Sophie," "Cass/Cassie," "Raph," and "Mitsu" are some prominent examples. Xianghua is often just called "X" due to the difficulty in spelling and pronouncing her name.
    • Courtesy of 8WayRun, Cervy Beards for Cervantes. It hasn't quite caught on outside of their forums, however.
    • As a carryover from Tekken, Yoshimitsu is usually called Yoshi for short, but his successor, Yoshimitsu the Second from SCV, is alternatively known as Yoshi II or, for extra punnage, Yoshimitwo. (You can thank 8WayRun for that last one, by the way.)
    • The quartet of Maxi, Natsu, Xiba and Leixia in V has been nicknamed The Scooby Gang.
    • Also in V, fans came up with "Patsuka/Petsuka" for Alpha Patroklos (who uses Setsuka's iaijutsu and was originally trained by her in-canon) and "Oprah" for Pyrrha Omega.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Soulcalibur: Lost Swords was poorly received by fans and critics alike, and many fans take Project Soul labeling it a spin-off as a sign that, like its fellow spin-offs Legends and Broken Destiny, it's non-canon.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The use of Guest Fighters that tends to annoy fans nowadays began with Soulcalibur II, considered by many to be the best entry in the series. While back then it was considered a neat idea made into reality, the fact that, today, virtually every game has at least one has made it a little harder to see the inclusion of guests as an "innovative" concept. Often, fans hold the sentiment that staple veterans, fan-favorites, and other highly requested characters get shafted in favor of a fighter who will only be there in one game, may not have universal appeal, and/or looks jarringly dissimilar to the rest of the game in either aesthetics and/or gameplay, something that came to a head when Soulcalibur IV included Yoda and Darth Vader.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • There's a fair amount of overlap between Soulcalibur fans and Dark Souls fans. Even leaving aside the similar titles, the emphasis on sword fights and ability to create your own character has resulted in a large number of Dark Souls characters showing up as Create-a-Souls online, and fans frequently request that Dark Souls characters be added as guest fighters.
    • Soulcalibur also has this with Samurai Shodown, the other big Historical Fantasy weapons-based fighting game series. With an all-new Soft Reboot of the SamSho series coming not long after the release of Soulcalibur VI, many fans have been clamoring for a crossover game—a wish that was sort of realized when Haohmaru was announced to be a Guest Fighter in VI's second season of DLC.
    • For obvious reasons, Soulcalibur fans also tend to be on good terms with Tekken fans.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • For single-player, there are A.I. Breaker movesets that even high-difficulty computers have hard time blocking. Particularly game-breaking in Soul Calibur III with lots of single-player content. The most egregious examples including:
      • Xianghua's A+K B+K move. The computer almost never blocks it.
      • Special mention goes to the Iron Sword custom character discipline, which is more or less an entire moveset of A.I. Breakers.
      • Siegfried's B 2A move. Has good damage and range (even longer range if Soul Calibur is equipped), and the move knocks enemies flying off, making them prone to ring-outs.
    • Another A.I. killer would definitely have to be Link's A+G throw in the GCN version of Soulcalibur II, which can Ring Out from almost anywhere on the stage.
      • His regular throw is so abuse-worthy to the point that he's used for some of the harder Weapon Master Mode missions. To top off that, he's one of the few characters with an easy-to-perform air combo, and one of the WMM missions involves you only being able to damage the enemy with air combos. Despite his bottom-tier standing, Link's utilities make him a very popular pick for clearing missions.
    • 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 startup restriction, since another attack leads into it.
    • 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 in III 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 on the 8WayRun forums is bound to be met with a boatload of hate.
    • Guard Break attacks, which coat your weapon in electricity, do boosted damage, and stagger foes if they were guarding. They are barely slower than regular attacks, and plenty are horizontal strikes (which means you can't walk out of the way).
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Save files for Soulcalibur III can corrupt the entire memory card if the card is messed with too often, including moving/deleting completely unrelated games' files. The best course of action is just giving the game its own dedicated card to use.
  • 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.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Maxi is very popular among Chilean fighting game fans, specially those who played in arcades around The '90s or the Turn of the Millennium. This is for Maxi's uncanny physical similarity to a So Bad, It's Good local singer from these years, which brought many memes to Chile's gaming community. Which led to quite the case of Hilarious in Hindsight in 2016...
    • Taki's biggest fanbase by far is in the west, where she's constantly ranked among the most popular fighters in the series, being voted the second-most popular character after Talim. She has a large fanbase back in Japan as well, but gamers there tend to favor Ivy, another widely popular female fighter, over her.
    • Overall, the series as a whole is more popular in the west than back home. In North America and Europe (especially France), the series is one of the most popular fighters on the market. In Japan, it tends to get stuck behind the shadow of fellow Namco franchise Tekken.
  • 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.
    • A character voiced by Roger Craig Smith who is aided by Leonardo da Vinci? Who are we talking about, Siegfried in Legends or Ezio?
    • In Legends, Yuri Lowenthal voices Michael, an incredibly conceited warrior with blonde hair. In V, Lowenthal voices Patroklos... an incredibly conceited warrior with blonde hair. This has not gone unnoticed.
    • The large and notable reaction to the Star Wars guest fighters in IV can be seen as this in light of the following game, where Patroklos's character traits and story are frequently compared to that of Anakin in the prequel trilogy.
    • Cassandra's 2P outfit in II (featuring a green top and thigh-high boots) is similar to Linkle from Hyrule Warriors, making her look like a female Link years before Linkle appeared in canon. It's particularly appropriate since Link himself appears in that installment.
    • Link and Heihachi are both in Soulcalibur II, but were unable to fight each other due to being exclusive to opposing consoles. In Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, Heihachi's likeness is available as a DLC costume for the Mii Fighters, giving players the ability to finally see Link vs. Heihachi fights. Not only that, but Cloud Strife was the original guest for the PS2 version of Soulcalibur II, only to be replaced by Heihachi at the last minute. Now, he can fight both Link and Heihachi in Smash.
    • As said above, Maxi is rather popular in the Chilean fighting game community because he looked almost exactly like a Chilean kitsch singer that was very popular in The '90s and the Turn of the Millennium. In 2016, said singer, René de la Vega, ran for mayor in a Santiago commune... and won.
    • Many Star Wars fans called foul on Mitsurugi's metal sword being able to trade blows with a lightsaber, as it's shown to do in a cutscene where he duels Darth Vader. Then The Mandalorian used beskar metal as a major plot point, which is shown to be capable of just that. Complaints quickly turned into jokes about how Mitsurugi's katana was clearly made of beskar.
  • 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 "Ugh, you're definitely not my type!" is only used against males.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • The games that featured guests (Link, Heihachi, Spawn, Vader, Yoda, The Apprentice, Kratos, Ezio, Geralt, 2B, Haohmaru) included them for the soul purpose of introducing people who wanted to use them in a fighting game to the series.
    • Additionally, the Create-A-Soul feature from III has become a staple of the series, and the reason why many otherwise non-fans buy the game. Taken to a new level in V, where the new-and-improved creation system was more or less the main selling point.
    • After V unceremoniously killed off Sophitia, Lost Swords adopted bringing her back as one of its major selling points (though this still wasn't enough to save the game for many fans).
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Siegfried is this among the het ships, though his main five "partners" appear to be (ordered roughly in terms of pairing popularity) Sophitia, Hilde, Ivy, Tira, and Cassandra. Not bad for someone who vowed in IV that "no one would touch his heart." note 
    • Sophitia is this among the yuri fandom; people have hooked her up with Taki, Ivy, Tira, and even her younger sister Cassandra. Project Soul has not helped her case either, particularly with this render of the Grecian holy warrior at Ivy's mercy and Tira canonically stalking Sophitia's family while on the prowl for a new host for Soul Edge.
  • Memetic Badass: In some circles of the internet, Mitsurugi is this. Both in-story and in-gameplay, the samurai is noted for his ability to defeat anyone.
  • Memetic Loser: Rock. He's so forgettable that fans were actually glad to see him removed from V, and it's been joked that an actual rock would be more interesting than him. His Tier-Induced Scrappy status has also given him the reputation that he's a weak fighter in-series as well despite the lore implying nothing of the sort. note  He's also been eclipsed by his More Popular Replacement Astaroth, who ironically was created using him as a template in-universe.
  • 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 on her opponent. Her non-input ending in SCIII also contributes due to how easily taken out of context it can be, as does the fact that she gets another Forceful Kiss in VI as a possible Reversal Edge follow-up attack. Note that both of Tira's kisses work regardless of her opponent's gender.
    • Raphael is often the butt of jokes in this vein too, owing to Amy, to whom he is madly devoted, being the only significant person in his life. His foster daughter's outfits getting more and more revealing doesn't help, nor does his destined battle in 3 being against the other young teenage girl on the roster.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moe:
    • Talim, with her innocent demeanor and positively adorable appearance.
    • If you can find the love between a Yandere and an Evil Weapon touching, then Tira counts as well.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Hearing "The Deed Is Done" upon completing Taki's Edge Master Mode playthrough in the first game. It contains That One Level where you have to beat Sophitia with Taki's Critical Edge, a nightmare if you don't know how the timing works and tough even if you do given her tendency to just block it, and you get 3 shots tops. Some of the other levels are tough too, and the whole path could be considered the most difficult thing in the entire game. So if you do manage to get this song, you can definitely say you've earned it.
      • To the pleasant delight of some older fans, Soulcalibur IV featured a rearrangement of the track as the theme that plays during a custom character's ending.
    • The various victory fanfares, first introduced in SCII, are bound to bring a smile to any player's face, especially after a hard-fought battle. Special note goes to the original, which was a mainstay in the next three main installments in some form or another before finally being "retired" in VI (to the sadness of some).
    • Likewise, the staff rolls are majestic, sweeping compositions that hammer home the end of an epic journey. "Path of Destiny," featured from SCII to SCIV, is particularly notable in this regard.
    • The composers working for Project Soul had a knack for creating sentimental pieces for even the most mundane aspects of the game. "Going to Where the Wind Blows" and its reprise from Calibur (the basis of the aforementioned "Path of Destiny") is used for in-game galleries, as is "Healing Winds" from II/III , and IV's "Winds and Memories" and "Entwined Destiny" are perhaps wasted on the Event Theater and Chains of Souls features.
  • Narm:
    • Voldo's Soul Edge ending, emphasized by bad PS1-era voice acting.
      Vercci's Spirit: "Voldo... you fulfilled my wish... Good for you!"
    • Sophitia in II has this... bizarre victory quote:
    Sophitia: You're in pain. It's painful, isn't it?
    • 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 is fighting a half-naked, bespectacled mute old lady that beats things to death with a giant piece of meat.
  • Narm Charm: "The Edge of Soul," the Khan Super Session opening theme for Soul Edge, is fondly regarded despite its arguable (inarguable?) cheesiness. It helps that the strings invoke a feeling of whimsy and grand adventure fitting for the time period. "Our Way Home," conversely, is a genuinely moving song, much like the other ending themes found in the series.
  • Newer Than They Think: The series has been around since the mid-90s and hit its peak from '99-'03, and yet some traditions and series staples are a little more recent (and weren't introduced at the series' high point) as one might imagine.
    • Create-A-Soul is often held as a tradition and is a major selling point; suggesting that it ever be removed is akin to Fandom Heresy. Yet it wasn't introduced until Soulcalibur III in 2005, and (if you can believe it) was often held as a point of criticism because the created characters were seen as "knockoffs" of the main cast. Now, it would be unthinkable to have a Soulcalibur game without customization, and over rival games it's held as one of the biggest draws.
    • Some members of the cast considered to be Iconic Sequel Characters also fit. Zasalamel and Tira in particular are quite popular despite also not having been introduced until III.
    • When one thinks of Nightmare, players are usually quick to think of his first host, Siegfried. Moreover, they're likely to envision him as he appeared in Soulcalibur II, reinforced by this design being used as Project Soul's logo for most entries thereafter as well as Nightmare's design in V being a stylistic throwback to his appearance in II (despite Soul Edge using a different vessel in that game). There's a good chance many may also imagine Siegfried-Nightmare wielding Soul Edge with one hand, but that combination didn't happen until all the way in 2018 with Soulcalibur VI. Siegfried was Nightmare in Soulcalibur and II, and then split from him thereafter, Siegfried becoming his own man again while Nightmare was inhabiting a suit of non-living armor in III (2005), and it was only then did the idea of Nightmare holding his BFS with one hand became real, meant to differentiate the two from each other. Obviously, Siegfried wasn't the originator of this convention, yet it became so emblematic of Nightmare no matter his incarnation that it's hard not to imagine Siegfried-Nightmare wielding his sword like that from the start.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The series dates back to 1995 with its first installment Soul Edge (released on the PlayStation as Soul Blade in 1997). The game is often overlooked by new fans despite being revolutionary at the time of release. This is partially because the home version was a PlayStation exclusive at a time when the console had a large amount of fighting games (not least Namco's own Tekken series, of which 1998's release of Tekken 3 had market dominance) and the game being Nintendo Hard (which turned some players off), but the third and most significant reason is that those who were introduced to the series through its sequel would naturally assume Soulcalibur was the first game in the series (when, as originally intended, each game would have been named after a different sword).
    • Arthur was designed for Soul Edge as the Korean exclusive replacement for Mitsurugi, but his design was rejected in favor of Hwang. Hwang became a part of the worldwide roster from the Arcade Version II onward, so when Soulcalibur came around, Arthur was added as Mitsurugi's replacement instead.
    • Some fans introduced to the series in later games are under the impression that Seong Mi-na and Rock are Moveset Clones of Kilik and Astaroth, respectively. The former two actually predate the latter two by one game, having been in the roster of the original Soul Edge while the latter didn't appear until Soulcalibur. Project Soul didn't exactly help their cases by usually making both Mi-na and Rock unlockable characters whenever Kilik and Astaroth were present.
      • Rock has it worse than Mi-na in this regard; he's always been an unlockable character in every appearance starting with Soulcalibur and was even removed from the roster of II in favor of a different clone fighter known as Berserker. In fact, in VI he still didn't make the cut even though the whole theme is about the series returning to the Soulcalibur era, while Astaroth was made into a Composite Character that inherited Rock's moves and some of his style, with Rock himself only receiving an offhand mention in the Museum files.
      • Seong Mi-na herself could be seen as an example, as many would legitimately be surprised to learn she was in the original Soul Edge, and is thus as classic as the far more popular and instantly recognizable Sophitia and Taki, and predates Ivy. It wasn't until VI that she was truly able stand out on her own due to finally getting Divergent Character Evolution from Kilik to ensure she had very little in common with him besides using a rod-based weapon.
    • Cassandra was mentioned as far back as Sophitia's bio in Soul Edge's Edge Master Mode (albeit misspelled as "Kathandra"), two games prior to her first playable appearance.
  • Polished Port: At the time of its release, the Dreamcast port of Soulcalibur was highly praised for being not arcade-perfect, but drastically arcade-superior! In fact, Soulcalibur is often considered to be the best game ever released for the console.
  • 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.
    • The XBLA port of the original Calibur, while otherwise very competent, was a victim of Microsoft's at-the-time 200 MB size limit on XBLA games note . As a result, every character was unlocked from the start, the game lacked the Dreamcast original's Story Mode, and there was no online play.
  • 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 Hwang fans (and fans of the Hwang/Mi-na pairing) were not so fortunate when he was replaced for II by Yun-seong, who they saw as a Hot-Blooded teen yahoo with a grating English voice, far less likeable than Hwang the badass Officer and a Gentleman. Apart from a brief reintroduction in as a Yun-seong Moveset Clone in III and his glorious return in VI, Hwang fans would have to be saddled with Yun-seong for a long time.
    • Certain Li Long fans see Maxi as this due to Li Long's "tougher" mechanics in Soul Edge. Fans of the series who entered from Soulcalibur onward tend not to realise this due to Sequel Displacement, and the situation was briefly alleviated when Li Long was brought back as a playable character in III and its Arcade Edition with enough playstyle differences to make him and Maxi better stand out from one another.
    • A good portion of the new characters from V were seen as inferior to the characters they replaced. See Soul Calibur V for more info.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Cassandra was originally Sophitia's official replacement, and took her spot in the arcade version of II with the lore reason being that Sophitia retired to raise her family. A backlash ensued, as Sophitia was one of the most beloved icons of the series and replacing her with someone of a different personality was seen as a bad idea. To that end, Cassandra received a rather cold reception to match. Project Soul took notice, and brought Sophitia back in the home version alongside Cassandra. Because of this, those who initially didn't like Cassandra warmed up to her now that she was no longer a replacement, and Cassandra became a major hit with fans as the "less serious" Alexandra sister. To this day, Cassandra is a fan-favorite character that is very well-liked, and is almost Sophitia's equal in terms of fandom popularity. In fact, most who like Sophitia also like Cassandra, and vice versa as opposed to there being a inter-Fandom Rivalry, and fans often point to how II handled the Alexandra sisters as the template Project Soul should have followed in V with several of its newcomers.
    • As noted below, a few characters who were widely despised prior to V, such as Rothion and Yun-seong, garnered more favorable reception due to a combination of their complete absence in the game and several even more controversial additions to the series (most notably Patroklos) making them look much better by comparison/in hindsight.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Yukari Tamura is widely known as the voice of Nanoha since 2004, but before that, in 2002, she voiced Talim.
  • The Scrappy:
  • 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 was 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.
    • V offers the incredibly frustrating mechanic of equipment destruction. To elaborate, if a character is defeated with a particularly hard-hitting attack, bits and pieces of their outfit come off. Standard characters may lose their shirt or a gauntlet, but custom characters are only left with their pants intact. It begs the question as to why Namco would implement such a complete character creator, only to have your painstakingly crafted outfit smashed to bits. This would continue on to VI, with the Lethal Hit mechanic note  causing even more instances of Clothing Damage.
    • In Lost Swords, the Equipment Box at the Character menu. Players only had a finite amount of space to hold spoils from missions, and whenever it hit or exceeded maximum capacity, they had to sell or craft items to lighten their load before they could go questing again. While this number would slowly increase through inventory expansions given out as daily login bonuses, once the player hit 180 slots, they originally had to buy any additional expansions. (The maximum amount was previously 200, and only increased to 250 with the 1.5 Million Download Campaign, with a few expansions continuing to serve as login bonuses.) On top of this, while equipment and accessories were counted separately, soul stones, which served no purpose beyond crafting materials for weapons and armor, were included in the equipment total. Then there was the matter of items being awarded through login bonuses, by clearing missions, or by ranking high enough in Soul Edge Scramble events; while anything sent via item mail could be stored (almost) indefinitely as long as the mail remained unopened, the same couldn't be said for the others, many of which were unique, one-time only acquisitions. A common solution like a storage system for depositing and withdrawing items using the in-game gold never existed. It all served to make item regulation in an already sluggishly paced and meandering game extremely tedious.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • Soul Edge was the first 3D fighting game where all characters were able to sidestep around opponents (or to use their terminology, 8-way run), which became a standard in Namco's 3D fighters thereafter.
    • While the concept of a Guest Fighter had existed before Soulcalibur II, it wasn't nearly as widespread until II brought it to the public's attention. Back in 2003, it was a novel concept and was a major selling point by having a platform-specific guest character, specifically Heihachi for PlayStation 2, Spawn for Xbox, and Link for Nintendo GameCube. This was the point where many requested guests to appear in other games, which is precisely what happened. Now that having at least one guest (and oftentimes more) is so pervasive and common in the Fighting Game genre that it's more or less expected these days, many gamers are more annoyed by it than wowed, particularly in titles that aren't meant to be Massive Multiplayer Crossovers. All the while, this also makes II seem less unique in hindsight, as its use of guests are now so commonplace that some have wondered what was so special about it. Though II is still held in high regard, the guests are often not one of the reasons for it (apart from maybe Link).
  • Sequel Displacement: To fans not around in the late 90s, Soul Edge has fallen into this, especially as it has a different name overseas and hasn't seen any anniversary reissues. It's not helped by inconsistent naming, brought about by a trademark kerfuffle with Tim Langdell.
  • Sequelitis: Though the subject is a matter of debate, the most common consensus tends to be that the Dreamcast port of Soulcalibur is the best entry in the series (and a strong contender for the best game ever released for the console); II is, depending on who you ask, either an Even Better Sequel for Calibur or "merely" an excellent follow-up that just falls short of its predecessor's incredible story and mechanics. While praised for its colossal trove of fun game modes and singleplayer content, the odd Game-Breaking Bug you see in III puts a damper on the quality we have come to expect from the series. IV was fairly well-received but this is where the series began its decline for many fans. Soul Calibur V's short, clunky and only partially-realized story told from the POV of a firmly despised suck-sessor for fan-favourite heroine Sophitia, a large portion of the series' other familiar faces also being replaced by younger and less likeable replacements, and a poorly-utilized setting change and other disagreeable lore alterations, all consigned the fifth entry to be banished into Contested Sequel territory. Soul Calibur VI, a Soft Reboot designed from the ground-up to undo V and go back to the series' roots with Calibur, was received with warm reviews, possibly saving the series from a Franchise Killer.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: You're surely going to spend a lot of time creating characters and hardly actually fighting.
  • That One Boss:
    • Setsuka is a stone-cold bitch to fight when she's a computer in Soulcalibur III. She has been known to be singlehandedly responsible for ending many a player's attempts to reach their character's true route in Tales of Souls, even more so than the likes of Colossus (see directly below), Keres, and Olcadan.
    • 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, is hard to block, and even springs a Kaizo Trap on you if you manage to beat him. For once, it's a reasonable point that he'd be hard.
    • NIGHT TERROR. There is a perfectly good reason it serves as the True Final Boss of Tales of Souls in III; you need to be flawless if you want to even reach it, let alone win. One would expect what is effectively Nightmare/Inferno's One-Winged Angel form fueled by the power of both soul swords to be more than a little overpowered, but Night Terror exceeds these expectations by leaps and bounds. Night Terror is the largest "human-sized" character in the game, hits like it, moves far faster than its size would indicate, has what is likely the longest reach of the cast, and possesses a command list where nearly every other move—be it basic melee combos, Sword Beams, airborne laser barrages, or a much larger and much quicker-acting version of Nightmare's Soul Wave—is That One Attack. Perhaps worst of all, he's completely immune to Ring Outs in a cruel aversion of Wings Do Nothing. You knock it off the stage and it will merely fly right back up to continue the fight. All in all, these traits combine to give you what is undoubtedly the most gloriously unbalanced character in Soul series history.
    • The Apprentice, despite not being a broken character, tends to be a pain in the neck to fight against. If you haven't mastered defensive strategy going into a fight with him, you certainly will by the time you win it.
  • That One Level:
    • In the first game, Taki's Edge Master Mode battle against Sophitia. You can only damage her by using a Critical Edge — something you only have three chances to do in a fight.
    • The Mission Mode challenges on Hard difficulty in III, particularly Dancing Statue. In this case, you have to fight Cassandra, Sophitia, and the Colossus in that order, except they're on Perfect Play A.I., take reduced damage, and have slowly-but-surely regenerating health. You can ring out the first two — you can't ring out the Colossus, who hits like a truck and has the aforementioned Kaizo Trap above. And just for extra difficulty, you only restore a portion of your health on beating the first two, and losing to the Colossus at the end means starting from Cassandra all over.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: 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, (nearly) all the shards and permutations of Soul Edge, Charade included, had returned to Nightmare to reform the sword.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Lizardman's Rage Against the Heavens plotline starting in III was largely forgotten, and Lizardman eventually became no more than a vehicle of Plucky Comic Relief by the time of IV. However, Lizardman's bio (or should we say Aeon's) in V shows that this is slowly beginning to reverse itself. Or, at least, it would have had not most of the game's intended plot ended up being jettisioned in the process.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • 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.
    • Rock has been considered a rock-bottom-tier character for pretty much the entirety of his existence. His moves tend to be either slow, predictable, or both, leaving him with only a handful of ground throws to rely on and rendering him a serious one-trick pony. It doesn't help that the series has Astaroth as an alternate Mighty Glacier character who's better than Rock at the few things Rock can do.
  • 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, SCIII, and—most recently—SCVI as acceptable answers (regardless of the reasons) for one's favorite entry in the series alongside SCII.
  • The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: A major thing most people use the character creation feature in III and IV for.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The special guests in each game starting from II make it clear each game was a product of their time:
  • Woolseyism: Yoshimitsu's famous theatrical melodramatic Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe voice in the English dub of the games is more or less the equivalent to the Japanese version having Yoshimitsu speaking with an archaic Japanese accent, and a similar level of hamminess.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?:
    • Certain characters' outfits became more and more ridiculous with each new entry, sometimes deliberately (like Yoshimitsu and, arguably, Voldo) and sometimes not. While the answer to the question of who has fared "worse" varies from fan to fan, Soulcalibur IV is almost unanimously seen as the lowest the series ever got, though much of the criticism was levied at the blatant fanservice (most notably, the increasingly Stripperiffic and/or top-heavy female characters and the Clothing Damage feature) than the actual character designs themselves as a whole.
    • Soulcalibur VI attracted criticism from vocal outlets (namely Kotaku and Fandom) for having "immature" and "objectified" character designs, which in the fanbase has been a very heated issue (see above and the corresponding YMMV page for VI). VI may be the most sexualized fighter in the series to date, even surpassing that of IV, and those who enjoyed V going in a Tamer and Chaster direction were disappointed to learn that it was temporary thing and the series would be fully embracing its fanservice once again. And while IV at least had Hilde as a counterbalance and gave most of the (female) characters considerably more conservative 2P outfits, VI lacked Hilde until Season 2 and has no additional costumes by default—players have to make edits in Creation if they want to cover up any of the characters. On an unrelated note, newcomer Grøh was derided by some for being an "edgy" anime-influenced character who seems out of place given VI losing much of its anime influence from V, and feels more representative of Japanese tropes rather than him being Scandinavian.


The alternate universe single player modes, Weapon Master and Chronicles of the Sword, have examples not found in the main games:

  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Chester in Chronicle 10. He finally reveals himself as the king of Maletta and the person responsible for a good portion of the conflict, and he gets a climactic setting and speech to lead off the fight, but the fight itself is mostly just an afterthought compared to the ruthless gauntlet of enemies that the game put you through just to get to him (namely Hyle and Kierkess with their cheaty Perfect Play A.I. and a metric crapton of tough mooks).
    • Aurelia, despite being the Arc Villain for a good part of the first half of the campaign, is an absolute joke when you finally fight her. She goes down a lot more quickly than even the regular enemies that attacked you at the beginning of her Chronicle, and her AI isn't too impressive either.
  • Ass Pull: Oh boy, where to begin with some of the writing for Chronicles of the Sword?
    • The entire introduction to the Maletta Kingdom. They just literally come out of nowhere and kill the last remaining Halteese heir, Halphas. No hinting of their existence in the intro movie; they just pop out of nowhere and are lead by Demuth for some time, only for him to be usurped by Chester. The only way that anyone could have seen this coming is if they read the Japanese website that explained all the backgrounds of the CotS characters, and even then, it doesn't alleviate much.
    • The transition from the Mantis War storyline was never properly done. Not only was the Mantis war plot completely discarded by the time you've killed Aurelia and ended the Kingdom of Dalkia, literally all that's said next chapter is that a year has passed since then, and you're immediately dumped with the fact that Girardot started a rebellion against Strife. No explanation about why Chester is now working for Strife or his involvement, just that Strife is suddenly now the new antagonist despite that the intro movie pushed Chester as the main villain.
  • 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.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • In Chronicles of the Sword, most players will more likely resort to two types of unit: Bandit and Cavalry. Bandits are the second best units in both speed and destroying strongholds, while Cavalries are the fastest units. In contrast, Knights have highest defense and best at destroying strongholds, but are the slowest that it's hard to utilize their strengths, while Infantry has highest damage on enemy units, but then......
    • ......players will more likely resort to traditional battles rather than real time skirmishes, especially 1v1. Real time skirmishes, aside from time-consuming, will also guarantee to inflict damage on both units. By engaging the traditional battles, not only that it pauses the whole map, but players can also score perfect wins by abusing the A.I. Breaker. Not to mention that some bonuses requires several perfect victories. This is also the reason why Knight and Infantry units are negligible.
  • Epileptic Trees: 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 them immortal, and as such, they'll spend the rest of their 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 (as it's heavily implied Edge Master and Olcadan fought to a draw in the past). This is despite the fact that Weapon Master appears to take place in its own continuity much like Chronicles of the Sword (if the world map is anything to go by) and, more importantly, it is easy to miss that Tristy is actually a woman (which is only revealed by a single pronoun in the Chapter 9 Scenario text).
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Did they just set the character editor to random for creating the characters in Chronicles of the Sword? Even Strife fails to be threatening, mostly due to his hair.
  • Player Punch: It's safe to say that Girardot's death and the fall of the rebel faction at the hands of the player was meant to make them feel like shit and help them realize that they were fighting for the primary antagonist the entire time the minute they entered the Grandall army.
  • Game-Breaker: Swordmaster job in Chronicles of the Sword is possibly an intentional one: Highest stats bar speed, and being able to use all custom style weapons. While it has downside of not being able to use main characters' styles, considering that some of the available styles are Game Breakers on their own (especially Iron Sword disciple), it doesn't need to. It's also the hardest job to get, but the payoff is worth it.
  • That One Boss:
    • GUARDIAN FUCKING FORCE!! It's a stronghold ability that grants Super Armor on any opponent in it, but since Soul Series still hasn't used the mechanic by this point, they basically turn into this. There are very few, but those few are certainly qualified. They are:
      • Aege in Chronicle 11. She's even harder than Luna, the stage's boss, and achieving Perfect in a straight fight is nigh impossible. She's also the reason why the bonus only requires 4 perfect matches from total 5.
      • Girardot in Chronicle 15. On top of the Guardian Force, he's also a Knight, which means he has insane health and durability. Fortunately, if you raid his stronghold with more than one unit, The Cadet will be the last one to face him. Even then, it'll be a heavy task to whittle down his health with all your units, especially if they're underleveled.
      • Abelia in Chronicle 18. Unlike Girardot, only The Cadet can face her if you Zerg Rush her stronghold. Worse, one of the loss condition is "Death of The Cadet", so you only have one try once you raid the main stronghold with your character. The only saving grace is that her level is quite low on that point, and she's a Gladiator with low defense.
    • Chronicle 19 has two Swordmasters boss:
      • Ende, a level 99 Swordmaster, and the highest level enemy in the entire Chronicles of the Sword mode. Not only that his stats are sky-high, but his stronghold ability allows him to knock you up in the air for some time, leaving you vulnerable to jugglings. Thankfully, he's optional, unlike.....
      • Chester as the chronicle's last boss. In contrast to his Anti-Climax Boss encounter in Chronicle 10, he has been upgraded from Thief to Swordmaster job, buffing him up significantly. And enjoy his "All Guard Break" stronghold ability!
    • Strife in Chronicle 20. Oh boy, where do we start? First, despite being a level 63 Swordmaster, his stats are impossibly high, even exceeding Ende's, and not even players can catch up with his stats, not even with level 99 Swordmasters. Then, he wields powerful Soul Edge that guarantees to hurt a lot. Even when the cursed weapon drains his health slowly, he has insanely high health that the health drain is negligible, so your usual defensive tactics against Soul Edge wielders won't work.
  • That One Level:
    • Chronicle 9 causes a fair bit of hair-pulling. While it starts out normally, taking a single enemy stronghold causes the enemy's Quirky Miniboss Squad to bum-rush your main base. You'll have to then pull your characters back to defend it as losing the main base is an instant Game Over, except you might end up getting steamrolled by sheer weight of numbers, and losing your entire party is also a Game Over. Take your pick.
    • Chronicle 10 is also no slouch. You have to fight against an extremely aggressive Damage-Sponge Boss that can easily outlast half your squad, and once you beat him, you get attacked by ten Elite Mooks without so much as a breather. This is likely the only spot in the campaign, up until the final level, where suffering a Total Party Kill is a legitimate danger.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Those who slogged through Chronicles of the Sword usually feel that so much more could've been done in both the story and gameplay departments. Especially with the Halteese arc and the plot regarding Chester and the Mantis War overall (see Ass Pull above).
    • Besides the Cliché Storm mentioned above, the use of custom characters arguably removes any attachment to the fixed story characters, making one of the highlights of the story, wherein the player's previous allies are possessed by Soul Edge shards forced onto them, much less effective.
    • The gameplay is an attempt to merge RTS and the 1v1 battles of a typical Fighting Game, making encounters a choice between full fighting game matches or RTS-style battles. With different characters and conditions, it looked promising, and the first few levels are actually really fun. However, after that, the RPG elements come in, along with SCIII's already infamously cruel A.I., and COTS goes from fun and challenging to unfair and grueling. Basically, you're either breaking the A.I. horribly spamming the same moves over and over every battle, with the RTS elements amounting to how you get to the next slog, or stuck in a ruthlessly difficult battle that will have the A.I. blocking about 85% of your attacks no matter how well you play. And finally, if you used a memory card that has COTS data on it for any other save, the data will likely be corrupted thanks to a Game-Breaking Bug, meaning you can't beat it ever again unless you start over the entire game itself.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Thief is statistically the second worst job in Chronicles of the Sword, but becomes the worst job thanks to its choice of weapons. While Dancer is the worst job stats wise, it is offset by excellent weapons choices, especially Soul of Xianghua. Thief, however, has none of those. The default weapon style, Dagger, has very weak A.I. Breaker moves and is awkward to use. Thief has two souls, Yun Seong and Tira, but Yun Seong has no discernable A.I. Breaker moves, and Tira is also available on Assassin, an advanced and better job.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Despite the flaws mentioned above, Chronicles of the Sword is largely one of the reasons why single-player contents of Soul Calibur III are well regarded in the series. Fans are upset that IV and V don't even bother to add anything similar despite the improvements of character creation, and even VI's Libra of Souls is often compared unfavorably towards COTS.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: For a miniature world, the maps in Chronicles of the Sword are well detailed, complete with effects that complements the map's atmosphere.


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