Refreshing and Satisfying: Soul Calibur VI is back on form

Written by Pat Kerley

Get ready to step onto the stage of destiny, as the tale of souls and swords is eternally retold. Soul Calibur VI is an enriching 3D weapon-based fighting game that brings the series back into the limelight after being dormant for some time.

Soul Calibur VI is a soft reboot of the franchise, retelling the story of the original Soul Calibur game and taking place after Soul Blade. It was greatly needed in my opinion after the rather poorly implemented story of Soul Calibur V. Revisiting the story of old and updating it was a brilliant idea as it is a great way of introducing newcomers to the story as well as refreshing the minds of the longtime fans of the series.

The way the story is told in the Soul Chronical made is done in a simplistic manner yet ever so effective. You have the main story which follows Kilik, Xianghua and Maxi. However, every character gets their moment to shine, except Inferno, with each having a handful of chapters and the way Soul Chronical is laid out makes it easy to see what going on through the timeline that is shown.

It’s one of the most satisfying fighting game story modes I’ve played through and I hope this is how it will continue going forward with the series. A second story mode exists in the form of “Libra of Souls”, where you create a character that travels the lands with your story slotting into the real story as well, even if at points it doesn’t make sense to do so.

But “Libra of Souls” simply feels like filler as it just seems to drag on for an eternity and I found myself mostly bored making my way through the mode. It does add to building the world as you travel around gather details here and there though.

There is a total of 21 characters to choose from with the base game with new characters being announced as DLC, which, of course, everyone loves. There’s a great variety between all the characters, especially the new faces that make their first appearance in the series. Grøh is a member of the Aval organization and wields a double sabre (two swords connected together that can be split apart); he’s quite easy and fun to play with.

Then we have Azwel, an intelligent if slightly unhinged person who can bring forth forgeries of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur and is just a pleasure as a character to watch as well as to play with his weird but wonderful move set that allows him to really stand out. Of course, it wouldn’t be Soul Calibur without the guest character appearance it is known for, this time Geralt from the Witcher series makes his way into battle and he was integrated exceptionally well within the story as well as a fighter. With this being a soft reboot, a lot of fan favourites made it in though, from Raphael to Talim. Though I’m still waiting for Yun-Seong to be announced!

There is no denying how good this game looks graphically, in my humble opinion it is the best-looking fighting game out there at the moment, from the characters themselves to the effects and auras, it looks stunning and adds a sense of power to the characters.

The gameplay of a fighting game is its biggest component and Soul Calibur VI does not fall short in this regard, in fact, it excels and captures what the series had been lacking for me since the third installment, and that is that it is an exceptionally fun fighter to play. The controls haven’t changed too much, you still have the eight-way run and ring out systems, you have your horizontal and vertical attacks along with kicks corresponding to each of their designated buttons.

You have a button for guarding and can unbalance your opponent with a guard impact. Reversal edge is a new type of attack that allows you to evade strikes and then release an attack of your own which thrusts but players into a game of rock, paper, scissors to see who gained the advantage. A reversal edge can be bested by a break attack though.

You then have your bar which charges up during battle and can be used for one of two things. Critical Edge, a super move that can be unleashed on your foe to deal out a sizeable chunk of damage or Soul Charge, which makes you slightly stronger and allows you to perform extended combos. It is a thoroughly smooth a satisfying experience and puts it up there with the best of the best for fighting games. It simplifies how to do things to a certain extent, using every button it can, giving short cuts to some moves and it makes it a whole lot more accessible than other fighters out there.

The game has a multitude of modes, from the previously mentioned “story modes2 to the “arcade mode” which consists of a total of eight battles and is a great place to test yourself on harder difficulties. You have the training mode which is where you go to master your favourite characters and really experiment with what works. You have “vs mode” where you can sort out any argument with your friends by going one on one for a few rounds, this type of mode is where you will get the most fun out of the game, it’s when you play against others where the game truly shines.

Image via IGDB Press Kit

Then there are the online features, which consist of ranked and casual matches like vs mode these will get your heart racing as you fight to show what you’re made off. The game hasa great balance between characters, never did I feel I lost unjustly, however, there is one character I can’t abide and that is 2B, who is another guest character form Nier: Automata who is such a cheap character and feels seriously unfair to fight against.

Character creation is here, and while I’m not the biggest fan of modes like this in fighting games it is well fleshed out and can be used to be very creative. It’s always fun going online and seeing what people have made. Heck, I even came across someone with Jeremy Corbyn as a character! If you enjoy creating characters, then this game is right for you with how expressive you can get.

Now one thing I must give high praise for is the incredible soundtrack that springs to life and is the definition of epic to me, it encapsulates the fights so well and captures the moments brilliantly. Some tracks are a great listen to outside of the game itself which I don’t find too often with fighting games.

Soul Calibur VI is a return to form the series needed, with a heap of content for you to sink your teeth into, and while Libra of Soul is a bit frivolous, it is much apricated that the developers Project Soul would put it in to extend the single-player options of the game. The gameplay is smooth and responsive and above all else a blast to play, especially when playing against others. If you’re looking for a fighting game that is worth every euro it is then Soul Calibur VI is the game for you. The game is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Soul Calibur VI is a must buy game! Especially if you are a fan of the fighting game genre. If you are looking for games like Soul Calibur VI, games such as Tekken 7, Street Fighter 5, Dragon Ball Fighterz and Injustice 2 should be up your alley!

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