All about Soul Calibur 2  (Cube Import)

Cammy's the best!
Seung Mina's back!!  ^_^  That was the biggest thing for me.  A game with out my favorite character from the series just wouldn't be the same.  She was left out of the arcade version, but thank goodness she made it home!
Anyhow, I played the arcade version of SC2, and I was extremely disappointed.  It just didn't seem very special.  But I know Namco always goes above and beyond when they port their game to the home system, so I kept some hope alive that the home version of SC2 would be everything I wanted it to be.  A few months ago the news broke about Necrid being in all games, and then Link for Cube, Heihachi for PS2, and Spawn for Xb.  But that gimmick did almost nothing to excite me.  HOWEVER, I'm extremely happy to say that the legend of Namco lives, and they delivered pretty much everything I could have hoped for... and then some more!  ^_^
Very good, but to be honest, there's really not much of an upgrade from the Dreamcast version of Soul Calibur that came out in the summer of 1999.  But you know, good is good, and I really can't complain about the graphics.  The only thing that I noticed was that Nighmare's hair looked bad... otherwise, it's great.
Soul Edge/Blade's intro movie is still one of the best ever.  Soul Calibur had an interesting customizable intro movie, but it wasn't very special.  Soul Calibur 2 has an intro that's somewhere in-between that... very good, but not great.  The one thing I noticed most about the intro was that the fight between Ivy and Taki is amazing!   Those two are really going at it, and they're using crazy powers that they don't have in the game.  I wonder what that's was all about?
The new characters are almost all worthless.  I don't don't hate 'em, but I don't care one way or another either.  The only interesting one to me is Talim.  That, and the exclusion of most of the game's classic characters in the arcade version made the game a disappointment.  But the home version brings back Mina, Sophitia, and most all the guys and gals we learned to love in the previous games.  To me, bringing them back was the by far what I wanted most... and I got it!  ^_^
There are 2 special new characters.  Necrid is new to all home versions.  He was created by Todd McFarlane (the guy behind Spawn), and to me he's not the least bit interesting.  And for the Gamecube version, Link from the Legend of Zelda series is included!  Most people I know are jumping for joy (especially with the new Zelda out now), but to be honest, it didn't do all that much for me.  I've always loved the Zelda series, and it's an interesting gimmick that's done very well, but I guess I've been just too obsessed with Seung Mina... first that she wasn't gonna be in the game, and then that she was in the game!
There's a lot of storyline info in the game, but I really haven't had the time to read through any of it.  I just played through the game as quick as I could with what little time I could spare.  I'll probably just wait for the US version in August, and that'll give me a reason to play it all over again.
The thing that made this game a 9.9 and not a perfect 10 was the outfits.  I didn't like most of the outfit designs in the game.  In fact, most are extremely disappointing.  Mina has 3... the classic, a bulky one with short hair (ack! short hair?!), and an absolutely horrible tent-like mumu.  But the worst outfit has to go to Ivy's player 2.  It's pretty much the same as the one in the first SC, but it's even more manly.  Her first outfit is so cool and sexy, but then her 2nd outfit is just so... lesbian.  Yuck!  Actually, I should have taken away more than .1 for the bad outfits, but it just wouldn't feel right giving this game anything less than a 9.9 grade.  And besides, it's just my opinion that the outfits are bad... maybe you'll like 'em?
It's the same old SC gameplay for the most part, but that's a good thing.  There was nothing that needed to be fixed, so I'm happy that they didn't mess with it.  They added a few minor techniques that make things interesting again, but it doesn't change the gameplay too much.  I was a little disappointed that they didn't bring back the weapon-loss feature from Soul Edge/Blade, but it's no big deal.
Gameplay Extras
Of course there's an arcade mode, a survival mode, a practice mode, etc., but most of the action and almost all of the goodies are in the Weapon Master mode.  It's just like the other ones... you travel the world fighting in all sorts of strange matches with special winning conditions.  For instance, you fight on slippery ice, in a cage, during an earthquake, or in quicksand.  There are also matches where you'll only win by using ring-outs or counters.  It's challenging, and it's a great way to train people how to use all the gameplay techniques available (instead of just pounding buttons).  This mode will probably keep you busy for about 10 hours.  And the one thing I noticed about it was that it wasn't nearly as difficult and frustrating as the Weapon Master mode in the first SC.
Extra Stuff
Of course you get to buy a ton of alternate weapons for your characters!  That's always fun.  There are also some art galleries you can open, but it's not as good as the one from the first SC.  There are special versions of all the gameplay modes (arcade, survival, team, etc.) that allow you to use your special weapons.  The character demos (the 'weapon dance') are also back.  And character profiles are also included where you can read the storyline, hear the voices, learn about the stage, look at the character (with a controllable camera), etc.  Overall, there's nothing especially exciting, but it's all good stuff that'll make you happy nonetheless.
Awesome!  This game is pretty much everything I could have hoped for.  The only thing I could legitimately complain about were the outfits.  Any other complaints would have have been ridiculous (no Cammy!) or just nit-picking (no fancy CG endings).   Again, Namco has gone way above and beyond what was expected of them!  Thank you Namco!!  ^_^
By the way, the current North American release date for all versions of Soul Calibur 2 is August.  I don't know why they need to wait so long, but that's how it is.  Sorry... try hang in there until then!
PS - I haven't totally played through the game yet.   I've play most of it, but there still may be a few secrets left to discover!