All of this is building upon the character customization that was present in SCIII, but you’ll likely find more options here between the weapons, abilities, stats, and from-scratch ability to mimic any of the main characters.
You can do all of that here, and to really get your money’s worth out of Soul Calibur IV, you’re likely going to want to. The problem is that the game doesn’t really explain of these systems to you, instead letting you figure out on your own how the huge amount of equipment plays into your character’s ability points and skills, then how you use those skill points by assigning various abilities to your weapon. The game’s also got several new systems involving breaking your enemies’ armor, using your Soul Gauge for various things, and doing Impact moves and such – none of these terms or moves are explained, and while fighting game aficionados can quickly pick up on this stuff and are probably already deep into the game’s more nuanced fighting system, laymen are going to feel like they’re in the dark.
It turns out, though, that the game’s a hell of a lot of fun even if you ignore all of that. Sure, you’ll eventually pick up the whole thing, but in the meantime you’ll have a blast just busting out the game’s massive range of moves, few of which require any real memorization of long combos or button sequences. Just like the rest of the series, most of your bread-and-butter moves come with a single direction on the stick or d-pad along with one or more attack buttons. Different combinations of buttons with different directions often gets you an entirely unique move, and then there are new ones based on when you’re coming up from a crouch, moving side-to-side, running, jumping, and more. The only downside to this is that for those whose last Soul Calibur experience was the first game, the kind of sweet spot of simplicity versus complexity that it balanced is not here. SCIV is almost as complicated as Virtua Fighter now.