Soul Calibur VI Review

Developed By: Project Soul, Dimps, Bandai Namco

Published By: Bandai Namco

Release Date: October 19th, 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Soul Calibur has returned to the fighting scene and it’s never been better. Having been a long time fan of the series however, I vaguely remember disliking Soul Calibur V. As bad a taste as it may have left, after six years without my favorite weapon based fighting series, I was more than eager to dive right back into the fray and I couldn’t be happier with the end result.

Soul Calibur VI includes a handful of single player content but I chose to jump straight into the Libra of Soul mode where players create a character(known as “The Conduit”) and journey through Europe and Asia beating on bad guys and generally saving the day. Libra of Soul is part RPG and all Fighter. Players will make their way around the map tackling nodes to gain experience, gold and other various items to aid in progressing their characters and advance through the main story line. As you complete specific missions new side activities will pop up and it’s up to you to go ahead and tackle them or not. Missions may or may not have restrictions or special stipulations in place to modify the match. For instance, one match had a “windy” setting that us ridiculously fast but also made it easier to slip off the edge of the ring while another made damage go down each time a combatant fell over.

Groh is one of the new combatants in Soul Calibur VI.

The story in Libra of Soul doesn’t include any voice acting is told entirely through text. There’s a small dialogue system where you can choose what your character will say and do presenting a minor good and evil feature. For instance you may come across a man malfested with evil energy and have the option to kill or save the man. Any option you choose will tip the scales one way or the other but in the end they don’t seem to have a huge consequence on shaping your character since you choose everything they do. There are weapons specifically tailored for both sides however and equipping them will earn you bonus stats. Overall, it’s an incredibly fun mode to play through but the lack of voice acting is a bit of a bummer and you can’t use any created characters in the mode. Instead you have to recreate a character or create a new one all together to be used in Libra of Soul.

The good part is, creating a character is fun and there are a few more options open to players when creating a character. Any character created in the “Creation” mode can be used online as well. There are some really cool characters being created by other players and some equally disturbing characters as well. Prepare to see a lot of penises floating around Soul Calibur VI. Outside of that though I’ve seen characters like Optimus Prime, 2B and someone even made a Carly Rae Jepsen. The possibilities are endless here guys.

Soul Calibur VI is incredibly fun to play and easy for newcomers of the series to get into. While veterans of the series may have doubts about the new “Reversal Edge” mechanic, there certainly isn’t anything to worry about. It requires a quick moment to build up, making the user immune to all attacks but break attacks while it’s charging. Once it’s unleashed and the ability connects with it’s opponent, the two are thrust into a risky game of rock, paper scissors. Instead of feeling cheap, winning them feels rewarding you manage to string together a successful barrage of attacks after winning a reversal edge. It can completely change the tide of battle for a player on the losing end of a fight or if you’re quick enough, you can cancel a reversal edge all together by getting a quick tap in before it connects.

Other changes include the ability to use your accumulated Soul Gauge for a “Critical Edge” which use one bar for a devastating and flashy powerful attack. Soul Charging has been simplified and drains your gauge for a stronger attacks. Guard Impacts no longer require players to use their soul gauge but a perfectly timed impact can deflect oncoming attacks and knock your opponent back, opening them up for attacks. Mastering these mechanics is obviously going to take a bit of work but the learning curve never feels too steep. Once you can manage to get them down, you’ll notice a huge difference in your skill.

Edge Reversals add a bit of cinematic flair to the fight.

Graphically, Souls Calibur feels a bit dated compared to other games this generation but due it’s six year hiatus, VI feels like a massive improvement. Many familiar faces return in Soul Calibur VI like Ivy and Mitsurugi, some are strangely absent, like Taki’s daughter Natsu and there are some new faces guest starring Geralt who feels great. Soul Charging will actually change the way some character’s look and you can break off pieces of your opponents clothing during a fight. Yoshimitsu is by far one the coolest looking characters in the game in my opinion and most of the stages look good but there are one or two boring stages like the that takes place in the middle of the woods at night.

All in all, Soul Calibur VI is one of the best fighting games I’ve played this generation. With as rusty as I was coming back, everything felt familiar and picking up the more simpler controls and mechanics was easy. I’ve had a blast so far. The online is smooth and so far, the community seems to be full if players who are good sports. The game also archives your replays so you can go back and watch your ranked matches and see where you can improve. There’s plenty of single player options as well, with Soul Chronicle being your more formulaic arcade story mode and a training mode for players to learn their characters.