It’s been nearly two decades since my days of playing the Soul series on PS1 and at the arcade, but SoulCalibur VI swiftly brought those fond memories back to mind. It feels apt, as this is pretty much a remake of the original in everything but name.
Returning characters retain most of their original moves (though a couple have been remapped to diﬀerent button inputs), and animations look just like they did in the original. It’s awesome.
I would have been happy with just that, but it’s the two new gameplay moves that help make this release feel a whole lot more modern: Reversal Edge and Critical Edge.
A Reversal Edge is a two-in-one move that combines a Guard Impact counter with a vertical attack. If it hits, the camera zooms in and you’ll get to pick a button to press. Each attack has a scissors-paper- stone attribute, in that they all have something they’re strong or weak against. It may sound overpowered but these attacks can be easily dodged, disrupted with special Break Attacks, or simply blocked. The Reversal Edge is meant to be a strategic move to gain breathing room, not a hammer-to-win button.
Critical Edge makes use of the new meter. They’re highly damaging but since meter buildup is pretty slow, you’re unlikely to be using them a lot in a fight. I personally thought that they’d change the gameplay flow significantly, but I’m pleased to see that in actual matches they are pretty rare to come by.
This new meter is also used for Soul Charge, which drains at a fixed rate when activated. Doing so unlocks new moves, some of which are imbued with diﬀerent properties. Depending on your playstyle and character, you might want to save the meter for a Soul Charge instead of a Critical Edge.
As somebody who loves lore in his fighting games, SoulCalibur VI perfectly scratches this itch. Not only do you get galleries filled with backstory, you also get two Story modes: Libra of Souls and Soul Chronicle.
Soul Chronicle is a retelling of series, beginning with Kilik at the Ling Sheng Su temple as the Evil Seed is unleashed upon the world. The story now weaves in lore that wasn’t explicitly in the original game. Most of the exposition is done through a mix of gorgeous 2D art and text, and full 3D cinematics.
At the end, you will unlock individual stories for every fighter, along with a nifty timeline so you can see what happens when. There’s even one for guest character Geralt from the The Witcher series.
Libra of Soul is just as meaty, though this one focuses on your own custom character. It presents an alternate view to the events of SoulCalibur and plays a lot like the Edge Master mode from Soul Edge, or the Weapons Master mode from SoulCalibur II. While there’s a decent amount of gear to choose from it’s nowhere near enough thougn.
There’s also Arcade mode, which functions more like a Time Attack since you’re timed on how fast you complete eight fights. There’s no character ending for finishing this, so there’s really not much of an incentive to play it other than grinding Soul Points for gallery redemptions.
Disappointingly, some of the extra modes from past SoulCalibur games are missing. There are no Survival or Team Survival modes, and there is currently no way to import your Libra of Souls character into other modes. Weird, since those created through the Character Creation tool can be used.
While the fighting is smooth and exceptional, the biggest issue is the slow loading times. It’s the one big drawback to the all the fights you’re constantly thrust into, and they’re the same no matter what mode you’re playing. It makes getting into and out of fights an annoyance but luckily the netcode is stable with minimal to no lag. I had a great experience online with minimal input delay throughout.
SoulCalibur VI not only builds upon what’s been established in both lore and gameplay, but its two massive single-player modes will eat up a ton of your time. The relatively lag-free online matches means finding and fighting challengers isn’t an issue, and the bevy of unlockables in the gallery will ensure you keep playing for a long time to come. It’s definitely one of the best fighters in recent years; but somebody needs to sort out all of that slow loading.
Guest fighters in the game include Geralt from The Witcher, and B2 from Nier Automata.
Create a custom character with his/her own story in the Libra of Soul game mode.
It’s great to see SoulCalibur return to form after some seriously questionable installments.
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