The Star Wars ties go beyond adding Yoda, Darth Vader, and his apprentice into Soulcalibur IV. In one stage you stand inside a Star Destroyer in the midst of rebels attacking the Death Star. Tie Fighters and X-Wings whiz by in the background while you’re trying to grab the other player. In my second Soulcalibur IV session I had a choice between Siegfried, Mitsurugi, and Hilde. Since Hilde is a brand new character I stuck with her even though I saw many players get frustrated and switch to someone familiar.
The reason why is Hilde has a learning curve. Unlike Siegfried or any of the other Soulcalibur IV characters, Hilde doesn’t have the one button for horizontal, one button for vertical attack configuration. One button swings the long range pole, the other swings her short sword. The initial problem is you don’t know which attacks are wide swipes or straightforward pokes. Until I figured this out I got crushed in my first few times using Hilde. However, with a little practice I liked how versatile Hilde was.
Siegfried swings a giant sword. He’s slow, but he has an incredible amount of range. With Hilde you don’t have an arsenal of half screen horizontal slashes. Hilde mainly uses the pole as a poking stick. She can do a three hit rapid thrusting combo and stab another player’s toes. Both are useful attacks, but against Siegfried Hilde’s sword is more effective. Once you close the distance Hilde can execute a series of swift sword slashes. If the Siegfried player is a button masher, you will be able to hit them before they can raise Siegfried can raise his sword and deal bonus damage. If they attempt to block you can go for a throw and finish them off with a spear skewering attack.
The short sword isn’t as useful against Mitsurugi who is more agile than Siegfried. The pole and those deadly toe pokes are a humorous path to victory. Hilde also has a ranged combo where she launches another player in the air with an upwards pole swing and ends with a downwards pole thrust. In one Hilde vs. Mitsurugi fight the other player’s life bar was blinking red, a sign that their armor was about to explode. Mistrugui was only wearing a green coat for “armor”. A few more hits and Mitsurugi’s coat flew off and his body had scars. Hilde’s medieval armor can crumble to reveal her face. In Hilde’s other costume she wears a dress, which can be broken to reveal a corset. Once your armor is gone you take much more damage and it does not magically come back the next round.
After a short session with Hilde I think technical fighters are going to enjoy her since she’s a more complicated character to master. It’s going to be interesting to see how Hilde stands up to Yoda and Vader who have not been playable at this point.
Images courtesy of Namco Bandai. Photo credit Spencer/Siliconera.