- Game: Soulcalibur VI
- Consoles: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Project Soul
A Soulcalibur VI review code was provided by the publisher.
Soulcalibur has returned in the best way possible. That single statement may be all you need to know if you’re still on the fence about whether to play or skip Soulcalibur VI. But for those who need more clarification, this review has plenty of factual information to back up that statement. Ever since the third official entry’s release, fans have slowly fallen out of love with the series as a whole. Lame characters that were meant to replace series regulars, lackluster attempts at implementing supers and finishing moves, and unwelcome changes made to the game’s mechanics have chipped away at Soulcalibur’s past standing as a top-tier fighter. With Soulcalibur VI comes a return to everything that made the first two games so memorable and a host of new features that give it a flavor of its own.
Soulcalibur VI is somewhat of a soft reboot – the main story campaign (“Chronicle of Souls”) focuses on the events of the first game while still detailing some untold tales about the game’s longtime roster members. Playing through the many battles of each character during their existence within the first Soulcalibur is a fun, full-fledged experience. Besides the main story thread, there’s additional adventures to play through that focus on every available character on the roster. The English voice work is still as hammy as ever, but that attribute lends the game its lovable charm. Stories play out thanks to nicely illustrated dialogue sections and special climactic cutscenes full of action. Besides the main story mode is a simple Arcade Mode, which is a nice bonus. From a single-player standpoint, there’s enough content here for those who prefer staying offline with their fighting games.
Another piece of this game’s single-player suite that must be mentioned is the debut of “Libra of Souls.” This mode is another valuable portion of an already feature-rich fighter – you’ll have the honor of once again creating your very own warrior and navigating the world as you look to quell the evil that inhabits it. Like “Edge Master Mode,” Libra of Souls features some light RPG elements (XP gaining, weapon accruement, village upgrading, traversal, party setups etc.) that make it a lengthy and rewarding endeavor worth taking.
The custom hero or villain you choose to craft in this mode isn’t the only character you get to create, however. Outside of this mode lies the option to make a huge amount of original weapons wielders that you can take into offline/online battles. The create a character feature has been one of the best aspects of past Soulcalibur games, so it just feels right to have it featured here in such a premier capacity.
When the time comes to clash on the many battlefields of Soulcalibur VI, you’ll come to find out that everything feels as fast and fluid as the best series installments. Gone is the slower, more weighty feel of Soulcalibur IV, plus the unnecessary meter usage mechanics and unspectacular super moves from Soulcalibur V are nonexistent. Soulcalibur VI feels like the perfect marriage between the best parts of each game, but it also includes a brand new option to keeps things fresh.
The “Reversal Edge” is mechanically similar to the “Clash” system featured in the Injustice games – once a character activates this ability and lands an attack shortly thereafter, the fight then enters a slow-motion state. Both players must then work out a quick game of rock-paper-scissors in order to gain the advantage. This new maneuver results in a new level of hype for the Soulcalibur series as a whole – it not only gives players a new defensive ploy to work with, it also provides the game with a cool new gimmick that makes it even more fun to watch and play.
Another cool element that helps this fighter’s deep mechanics stand out is the “Soul Charge” transformation. Each character has access to a super-powered state that, once activated, gives them access to new attacks and even more powerful “Critical Edge’s” (super moves). Couple the additions of Reversal Edge’s and Critical Edge’s with the game’s traditional features (8-Way Run Movement, Ring-Outs, Guard Impact etc.) and you have yourself a fine fighter worth the many hours of training you’ll sink into it.
A wealth of series regulars have been brought back to rekindle their long-standing feuds. Soulcalibur veterans will be more than pleased with the debut of Mitsurugi, Kilik, Talim, and more on current-gen consoles. The wonderful orchestral score and incredible art direction adopted for each stage do enough to make the climactic meetings between each character incredible. A few new combatants enter the fray as well, like the cool assassin Grøh, the self-proclaimed God Azwel, and The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia.
While all three characters are worthy in their own right, the lack of even more brand new fighters within this sequel is a letdown. And the fact that Tira has been set off to the side as a DLC character is equally disheartening. Fans of the character creation feature may be let down by the lack of the unique weapons styles featured in past entries (they may also be puzzled by the omission of past guest characters’ combat stylings as a selectable custom character moveset).
Soulcalibur VI Takeways
Project Soul has finally returned to fine form with the introduction of Soulcalibur VI. The full slate of single-player content is enjoyable, the combat looks and feels superior to past entries, the music is as grand as ever, and the character creation feature is a fun time sink that’s highly addictive.
There’s definitely a list of issues that knock it down a few pegs, though. Keeping a series favorite locked behind a paywall is bothersome, plus there’s not enough new characters in place for this sequel. Plus the character creation feature is lacking in a few areas. Hopefully, these issues see some kind of improvement in the future. Even with all these problems present, Soulcalibur VI still maintains its position as an incredible 3D fighter that does right by its hardcore fanbase. The soul burns once more…
Our Soulcalibur VI Review Score: 9.5 out of 10