Transcending history, and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold
This legendary quote from the well-loved fighting game series SoulCalibur is the newest series installment in 1 sentence. SoulCalibur VI is a reboot of the 3D weapon-based combat series and in many’s opinions, much needed one at that. SoulCalibur VI takes everything that made the past well loved installments such as everyone’s favorite SoulCalibur II good and adds a few of its own flair to it.
Game Name: Soulcalibur VI
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco
Developer(s): Bandai Namco
Release Date: Oct. 19, 2018
In the graphics and visual department, SoulCalibur VI wholeheartedly delivers 100%. The environments are beautifully put together and represent the game amazingly. The greenery of the stages is lush and pops well during battles. I even find myself from time to time being distracted from matches of my own to take a look at my surroundings and take it all in. The game’s backgrounds have the type of feeling that makes you feel as if you could just walk away and end up in an open world exploration game and that’s one thing I welcome in fighting games. Stages are a huge part of the experience and can sometimes make or break certain aspects. This time around SoulCalibur is sure to impress players in this department.
Moving on from visuals lets go on over to the (arguably) most important part of the fighting game experience, the gameplay. SoulCalibur is what you’d expect in this department and is definitely as solid and fun as ever. The gameplay can be as fast as SoulCalibur two and is easy to play but hard to master. GI (Guard Impact) is back in the way it was in the second installment as well being a meterless parry which wasn’t the case in the past few titles. Just guard is back as well however now it only avoids chip damage, no more frame advantage. Mechanics, Soul Edge and Soul Charge also make a return with Charge being similar to Street Fighter V’s V-Trigger system, granting each character with a powered up state with an added “get off me burst” and Edge being a simple super move. These two systems make for some fun meter management, character diversity, and great matches.
The new mechanic that’s causing a stir is Reversal Edge. This mechanic is similar to the clash system in Injustice two but takes more meter and results in an RPS situation where you and your opponent choose from using an A, B, or K attack to trump each other’s choices. B’s will beat A’s, A’s will beat K’s, and K’s will beat B’s. Seems hard to remember at first but you get the hang of it really fast. While this system seems super strong it is easily baitable and punishable so with enough playtime any player from casual to pro can learn to utilize and combat the new mechanic. In my opinion, it’s a great asset for newcomers of the series to get up to speed with veterans
Along with Reversal Edge, there’s also the new mechanic called Lethal Hit. This system has you do a specific kind of attack vs a certain option your opponent takes and results in a counter hit similar to Street Fighter V’s crush counter system. It’s cool, it’s flashy, it results in some really awesome moments and momentum shifts, and it’s a welcome addition to the series.
Let’s get to one of the biggest parts of new fighting games, the content.
With the content of every new fighting game comes at the forefront is the roster. Soul Calibur included many well-loved old faces and also brings in a few new ones rounding out with two additions; Grøh and Azwel. Grøh, The Agent in Black is the series’s first Nordic character and is looking to be a popular new face as well. He has an edgy look and aura about him and many describe him as “Anime” funny enough. He utilizes teleports and his dual-sided blade that can break apart into two blades making for lots of great moves and mixups. On the other side, we have Azwel the wizard out to “save the world” Azwel is a specialist character meaning you’ll have to work on him a lot to master him but it’ll be worth it. After a few days of being in players like Sonicfox’s hands, he’s looking extremely powerful with lots of zoning, pressure, and mixup tools. With characters like this, you can tell the character area of SCVI is incredibly diverse and well rounded on all fronts.
Soul Chronicle is the game’s main story mode. Without spoiling anything The main quest puts you in the seat of the main character of the series Kilik and has you play through the events of the first Soul Calibur. Along with this main quest, there is a storyline for each character that you can play through each with full-fledged voice acting! In this mode, the cutscenes are painted 2D illustrations and the characters are seen visual novel style. This is somewhat reminiscent of the BlazBlue story modes and carries the same issues I have with that. The fights feel almost tossed in due to the storytelling style. You sit through a cut of the story and are interrupted to fight an AI. Rinse and repeat then you’ve got yourself a story mode. This type of fighting game story I’ve never enjoyed due to how the NRS stories have spoiled me but I think a newcomer may find some enjoyment in it.
Along with Soul Chronicle is Libra of Soul. This story mode is a quest of your created character of choice filled with RPG-like elements. In my opinion, this story mode steals the show. It makes for a fun somewhat imaginative game mode. You’re given control of your created character which as you’ve probably seen you can be extremely creative with or just flat-out goofy. You’re also given the amazingly cool ability of switching between fighting styles on a whim which makes for some fun combat. However, the mode is somewhat bogged down from feeling as it’s been filled with, well filler. The mode hosts unnecessarily boring NPC dialogue and average side quests. Thankfully neither ruin the fun of the mode as I still found myself having a good time.
The other modes are your standard fighting game fare such as an arcade mode, versus mode, training mode, online ranked and casual match, rankings and replay mode, a museum, and everyone’s favorite mode character creation.
Character creation you’ve probably seen tons of already all over social media. It’s filled with tons of great texture options and costume options. While it looks basic at first glance, the minds of players all over the world have taken the options presented to them and have made some generally amazing things. I mean did you ever imagine Magikarp in SoulCalibur?
— 砂肝 (@sunagimo_x) October 19, 2018
This brings me to a few issues with the other modes, however. With training mode, there are issues for pro players using reversal options for the recorded training dummy due to them not acting on frame one but on late frames, as well as certain moves such as lows not working for some characters in some instances. Discovered here have also been tons of exploits such as the one used against Astaroth’s critical edge to immediately appear behind him, “Nothing personal” style.
My other two issues have to do with the online ranked match mode. The first being the losses not being too hurtful. What I mean is you barely lose points for losing in ranked matches which isn’t such a big deal for many but it results in a ranked mode that doesn’t really mean much. The second downside is one that has to do with the character creation mode. While many have dealt with this for years via older Soulcalibur titles these created characters are causing a stir online with many creating troll characters such as… Well, take a look.
Characters such as this are making it hard for many to take ranked seriously and having many disregard the mode as a whole. Hopefully, this is fixed with the addition of some kind of matchmaking filter via a future update.
All in all SoulCalibur VI is an amazing package with more character content on the way sure to keep any player having a good time. With a wide variety of single-player content and enough good to be found to keep any pro player occupied long enough to hear another retold tale. I think SoulCalibur VI is worth grabbing for anyone looking for a good fighting game time.
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