Saint Seiya Brave Soldiers Review


Player(s): 1-2
Extra Features: Local multiplayer, Online multiplayer, Leaderboards

Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers is a fighter developed by Dimps and published by Namco Bandai. Saint Seiya (or Knights of the Zodiac) is a manga/anime series that involves five warriors that fight with sacred armor called "Cloths" that empowers them with Cosmo energy and allows them to use special powers. Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers is the follow-up to Saint Seiya: Sanctuary Battle. Brave Soldiers is the first time that a Saint Seiya game has been released in North America.

Brave Soldiers' overall fighting engine is very similar to Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. If you're familiar with Naruto, you'll be able to pick up Brave Soldiers rather easily. The game has two buttons used for attacks (light and heavy attack), a jump button and a button for performing each character's special moves. Each character has a burst dash and a few burst attacks. A main character's super move is known as a "Big Bang Attack". Once the Cosmo gauge is filled up, a player can unleash burst attacks, burst dashes and a Big Bang Attack. Each character also has a Seven Senses Awakening that can be activated once the Awakening gauge has filled up from receiving damage. The Seven Senses Awakening makes all attacks, and especially throws, more powerful.

Saint Seiya is overall a very simple casual fighter that is easy to pick up and play. It has a very expansive cast of over 50 characters to choose from. The majority of the characters must be unlocked however. When you first look at the character select screen, it has a TON of locked spaces. The main modes of Brave Soldiers are the Saint Chronicles mode, Battle modes and online battle modes. Saint Chronicles is the story mode that takes a player through the main three arcs of the Saint Seiya manga. The story arcs involved are the Sanctuary arc, the Poseidon arc and the Hades arc. The story is told with still pictures from the manga along with Japanese dialogue and text. The story actually got a bit boring and confusing to me since I don't know much about the Saint Seiya universe and the overall presentation was dull.

Battle mode includes the standard versus battle, a survival mode, training mode and a Galaxy War mode. The Galaxy War mode is like a tournament mode for up to eight characters. Orbs can be purchased and equipped to your characters in order to upgrade their attributes. The orbs can only be equipped by a saint of the corresponding level, such as bronze saints, silver saints and gold saints among other levels. The game offers a customization mode to equip your saint with orbs and each saint has a total of eight slots that can be unlocked for placing orbs on them.

Online battle is your standard online mode with player matches and ranked matches. Each player has a player card with the number of victories, defeats and consecutive wins displayed on it. Lobbies can have up to four players in each lobby. There is a spectator mode for the players that are not currently playing. The online seemed to run smooth with minimal lag when I tried it out.

The main fault with the game that I find is that the overall combat is much slower than in Naruto fighting games. The attacks are flashy, but the majority of battles can really drag. Fights mainly consist of dashing to a safe distance to charge your Cosmo gauge and then dashing in to try to find an opening in your attacker to unleash burst attacks, combos or other attacks on them. This doesn't sound that much different from Naruto, but the charging of your Cosmo gauge is SO very slow. Even the CPU takes this strategy of attack and it's quite easy to catch them off guard with the slow charge time.

If you're looking for a fighting game with flashiness along with speed then choose a Naruto title. It's good to see that a Saint Seiya game finally got released in North America, but when compared to Naruto, it doesn't stand out near as much as a casual fighter. Only hardcore fans of the Saint Seiya series will likely find something to like with this game. Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers isn't a bad fighting game, but it's very mediocre. With Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, I liked it immediately without even knowing much about the manga it was based off of, but with Saint Seiya, I can't get that involved because the gameplay and overall presentation just isn't up to par with Ultimate Ninja Storm.

The Good:
+ Over 50 characters in the roster
+ Same gameplay as a Naruto fighter

The Bad:
- Slow combat and overall slow gameplay
- Story mode uses still pictures with dialogue instead of animation

Final Rating: 65%. Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers is easy to pick up for those who've played Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, but it's a game that only Saint Seiya fans will truly like.