Since Soul Blade in 1995, Soul Calibur has been one of the major iconic fighting games in the console market.
Distinct thanks to it’s use of elaborate weapons, strange characters like Voldo, but built on the excellent fighting chops of Bandai Namco, many including myself have fond memories of the series, even if some of us fell of the series a while ago. With the first game in 6 years, the question to is whether it is a good time for fans to return with Soul Calibur VI?
I have missed a few entries in the series but kicking into Soul Calibur VI felt like sliding on a comfortable glove I haven’t worn for a while. The game controls and fights flow well thanks to the excellent button designs and combinations. It really does feel like Tekken with weapons, which is perfect for beginners as button mashing will get you plenty of the way, and as you get better mastering the combos becomes immensely more satisfying.
The biggest new feature is the Reversal Edge which basically puts the two fighters into a quick slow-motion animation where you choose an input and using a paper scissors rock system determines a winner. Winning these regularly saved me from an incoming KO, which becomes much better as you take the time to learn these systems.
The two main single player modes that you can get stuck into are Chronicle of Souls and Libra of Soul. Chronicle of Souls is the linear campaign which follows Killik from leaving his training to venturing forward towards the bad guys and the fated Soul Edge. Along the way he meets Xianghua and Maxi and the “Main Story” has you fight as these three characters. Once this portion is complete you can then choose from the full roster of characters to see what they did during and after this time.
The story itself is a reimaging of the series plot so it’s welcoming to new comers, and it’s a fun way to get a taste of each character. Added to this are the newer characters like DLC ones and Geralt from The Witcher so it’s a great way to dabble with the lot. As someone who isn’t the biggest Witcher fan I wasn’t sure if I would appreciate Geralt, but the move list crafted around his magic and sword is excellent and he became one of my favourites very quickly.
The other story mode is called Libra of Soul, where you create a character and go through an RPG like version of the game. You choose destinations on a map, and venture there to purchase items, complete fights and missions, and advance the story. There is a tonne of content here and an interesting morality system to really feel like a nice little RPG story. The problem I had was I found the story relatively uninteresting, so it started to feel like a slog reading dialogue after a while.
One of the series staples, the Ring Out, is still in the series, and it’s still as annoying as it is a clever strategic move. A ring out can be hard to pull off, where you need to do specific attacks near the edge of certain rings to knock the opponent over the edge gaining an immediate win. It’s important to not be cornered in fights because no matter how well you are doing, a ring out can really take the wind out of your sails.
Soul Calibur VI is an excellent fighting game that looks gorgeous and is loaded with content to dig into. Even not really enjoying the Libra of Soul element, there was still more than enough value in that game for myself, so people who enjoy it really will be spoiled for choice.
The deep character creator also adds a lot for people who enjoy that kinda mischief.
Released: November 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4