So, just as a reminder, we haven't gotten a new SoulCalibur game in years before part six decided to roll along. I'd like to think that's enough space for the team at Project Soul to figure out why SoulCalibur V didn't take off the way it was intended, rework some things behind the scenes and make SoulCalibur VI shine brighter than ever before. Good news, folks -- I'm happy to report that this is the exact blueprint they followed.
SoulCalibur VI feels like the rebirth the series needed, one that focuses on the grandeur weapons-based gameplay that made it work so well in previous series, while polishing it up so that it looks better than any game before it. Oh, and balancing out the roster with old and new combatants so that it's literally about perfect. Of course, new additions are coming, but this is a most excellent way to come swinging out of the gate.
First off, let's talk about improvements to the gameplay. Your character still has two different slash abilities available, along with kicks and guarding. You can combine these together into combo attacks, unleash devastating grab-and-strike moves, or put together some slick finishes that send them flying out of the ring -- if you're close enough to the edge, mind you.
But SoulCalibur VI goes above and beyond with how smoothly the combat works. It's adaptable enough so that rookies have something to get into and enjoy; while also deep and satisfying enough for veterans to master their craft. It really is the best of both worlds, and that's a nice touch considering the accessibility of most "hardcore" fighting games these days.
New Techniques and a Superb Cast
Along with balancing and sharp, responsive controls, SoulCalibur VI also quaintly benefits from the addition of the Reversal Edge and Lethal Hit techniques. With Reversal Edge, you go into a slo-mo battle where the next strike can make all the difference, depending on where you land it. You can also step aside, in case you feel like your contact isn't the best choice available.
On top of that, Lethal Hit sends your opponent flying into the air, where you can decide upon a number of juggle techniques to land extra hits. It's sort of like Marvel vs. Capcom's aerial combat starter, letting you hit them a few extra times before they land and try to get the jump back on you.
Both of these abilities can take a little time to master. But once you do, you'll find that they're fine additions to this series overall -- and pretty addictive to pull off, especially in succession.
As for the characters, SoulCalibur VI has one of the best fighting casts we've seen in a game. There's a diverse collection of brawlers here, along with returning favorites and a couple of new faces. But, honestly, it's all about Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher here. He's the best guest character we've seen in the series since Link invaded SoulCalibur II back on the GameCube. Yep, Geralt is that good.prevnext
A Lot To Do, Including Customization
The gameplay is fitting enough for fans to get into SoulCalibur, but it's the abundance of modes that they'll really enjoy. Along with Arcade and Online options, SoulCalibur VI also offers a story mode, in which you play as select characters through a number of scenarios. It's a well done mode with solid voice acting, but I would've liked more quality cut-scenes in this one, instead of stoic still images.
The Mission mode is also exceptional, as you can work your way through various tasks, collecting new weapons and other goodies along the way, while getting into skirmishes with familiar foes. This one will keep you busy for some time, especially if you're a "collectathon" sort of player.
The only downside here is that Online isn't as great as it could be. Sure, you can connect to some matches, but it'll take some time. And those of you with the Xbox One version are probably aware that, if you're on an older system, matches can take a loooooong time to load. Multiply that by two with online. Fingers crossed that Bandai Namco gets a fix in, and soon.
Finally, there's something to be said about the game's customization engine. No doubt you've seen a few fine examples of what players can do with this. It's remarkable and will keep you busy for quite some time as you create your favorite -- and not-so-favorite -- characters. It's well worth tinkering with, even if character customization isn't usually your forte. (We even saw a demon Ronald McDonald in created stuff so far...yoinks.)prevnext
A Presentation As Sharp As SoulCalibur's Weapons
As for the presentation...wow. Just wow. I thought Tekken 7 would be the most technically impressive game from Bandai Namco this generation, but SoulCalibur VI is incredibly polished. The backgrounds are simply stunning, along with the stage designs, which vary from desecrated castle grounds to dark, sinister caves to bright hillsides where it almost looks too peaceful to fight. (I said almost.)
That, combined with solid lighting effects, stunning animation and beautiful character designs, make SoulCalibur VI the best looking game in the series -- if not one of the best games for this generation.
That said, the older Xbox One issue needs to be mentioned again, if only because the game's not fully optimized for that format. It still runs well, but, again, it's an issue that I hope Bandai Namco addresses sooner rather than later. If you're on PC, Xbox One X or PS4, however, you should be good.
SoulCalibur VI's music is also excellent, taking the same melody style that worked in previous games and bumping it up a notch with symphonic tributes. They're lovingly put together, and backed by solid voice acting, including Witcher's own Doug Cockle, bringing Geralt to life like only he can. Definitely crank the volume for this one.prevnext
Don't Miss This Tale of Swords and Souls
Technical gaffes in the Xbox One version and lack of animated cutscenes aside, SoulCalibur VI has pretty much everything that a fighting fanatic or die-hard lover of the series would like. The fighting feels razor sharp and exciting, especially when you chain together moves with the new abilities. The game looks and sounds excellent, particularly on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X (or PC, with a higher-end set-up). And the extras are abundant, with far more content than you'd expect from a game such as this.
It may be awhile before we feel this Soul burn again (it really depends on the game's success, the publisher noted), so we highly recommend enjoying SoulCalibur VI. It still burns, and boy, is it a hot time.0comments
WWG's Score: 4.5 out of 5.
(Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.)prev