Powered by the same engine that drives the multiplatform SoulCalibur V, Lost Swords pared down its weapons-based gameplay for a single-player experience supported by microtransactions.
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Gameplay in SoulCalibur: Lost Swords revolves around a single-player Quest Mode in which players battle AI opponents and gather materials to craft new weapons. Though the game is free to download and play, character costumes, abilities, and other perks can be purchased via an in-game store using real money.
Since it launched in 2014, SoulCalibur: Lost Swords has been downloaded more than two million times. The game met with a largely negative critical reception upon release, with many criticizing its “pay to win” mechanics that reward players who spend the most money to upgrade their characters.
SoulCalibur: Lost Swords is one of a handful of free-to-play games available on the PlayStation 3 from publisher Bandai Namco. The company previously produced Tekken Revolution, a free spinoff in its one-on-one fighting game series that offered players a limited number of online matches within a set time period. Users could temporarily lift these play limits with in-game purchases.
Bandai Namco also published Ace Combat Infinity, a free-to-download aerial combat game featuring unlockable planes, skins, weapons, and equipment. Many publishers have tested the free-to-play waters on the PlayStation 3 in recent years, producing games like Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate Core Fighters, Dust 514, and Spartacus Legends.
SoulCalibur: Lost Swords will remove many of its featured microtransaction perks on September 30, and all paid content will be delisted from the PlayStation Network on October 27. A final “commemoration event” will take place in-game between September 16 and September 30. All SoulCalibur: Lost Swords gameplay modes will shut down permanently on November 30.