The “Soul” burns brightly
It’s been six years since Soul Calibur V an entry that lacked content, had a woeful story and its gameplay whilst improved over the previous entry, still felt slow. Now at long last, Soul Calibur VI is here and I am pleased to say that the “soul” of Soul Calibur is finally back!
Soul Calibur VI is a return to form gameplay wise, the eight-way run is still here but the increased speed over previous entries makes the movement system feel better than it has done in over a decade. The sixth entry also brings in some new gameplay features both of which are welcome additions.
First up is Reversal Edge which allows the player to engage in a rock, paper, scissors like mini-game to win the clash and deal damage. Reversal Edges can be blocked and side-stepped. The mechanic is stylish but it can be overused and as such can get annoying in online play. It will be interesting to see if Namco make any alterations to Reversal Edge in future updates.
The next mechanic is called Critical Edge and these are essentially super/ special moves similar to the Rage Arts found in Tekken 7. Critical Edges are performed by pressing R2/RT but you need at least one meter to use it. Tying Critical Edges to a meter is a good call as it stops them from being spammed.
All the arenas in Soul Calibur VI are fantastic but the problem is that there isn’t enough of them. The game features 11 stages, which is a considerably lower amount than previous games. I don’t understand the lack of stages, because each of the base game characters could have their own arenas.
Unlike the previous entry, Soul Calibur VI has a substantial amount of single-player content. There’s the Soul Chronicle mode which contains the game’s main story and each character’s individual stories. The main story follows Kilik as he travels the world to find Soul Edge. The main plot lasts between 2-3 hours and for Soul Calibur fans it’s quite fun but newcomers may not like the amount of reading involved. As mentioned before, each character has their own story and these will give more insight on each character and you will take part in several fights. There are 20 characters and each one has a Soul Chronicle. Completing them all will take anywhere between 5-10 hours.
The best single-player mode here is Libra of Soul which is sort of like Soul Calibur with RPG elements. In this mode, you create a character (that is exclusive to this mode) and go on a grand story that will take you across the world. The story is pretty much all told through text which may not be for everyone but I quite like reading so I didn’t mind. There are towns that you can visit that will sell weapons, food, upgrades and bodyguards but don’t expect to actually roam around a town yourself, it’s all done via text.
Libra of Soul will take anywhere between 10-20 hours depending on how much side content you do. This was a mode I thoroughly enjoyed and it’s an idea that could be expanded upon in the next game and be made into an almighty behemoth of a mode.
Graphically, the Soul Calibur series has always been impeccable and it is arguably the best looking 3D fighting game out there. Soul Calibur VI keeps up the track record as it is one beautiful looking game. Character models are very well detailed and all look lovely on PS4, armour and clothing in Soul Calibur has never looked better.
Arenas (stages) are a sight to behold, every single one of them looks phenomenal and the outside stages are picturesque. I would argue that Soul Calibur VI isn’t just one of the best looking 3D fighting games currently on market but also one of the best looking fighting games to have released in this current generation.
Sound and music have always been one of Soul Calibur’s strongest points and that continues in Soul Calibur VI. Each stage has their own music which fits them perfectly and it helps make the fights feel grander. The music is quite simply, epic. The big orchestral score is a delight to listen to and I’d argue it has one of the best soundtracks in the series.
Soul Calibur VI’s online offerings are pretty good and connections generally quite strong. I have had several matches online both ranked and casual and only in two of them did I experience lag (well, one of them rage quit the match so I count that here.
Soul Calibur VI had some connection issues during the beta and the cure for them was to put your preferences to “Any and All”. If you allow players from any region with any connection to play, that fixed the problem. Unfortunately, that problem still exists in Soul Calibur but it is nowhere near as bad but thankfully, the fix still works.
Ranked matches work pretty much the same as any other fighting game, you fight people online to increase your rank. Soul Calibur VI allows you to use any character from its varied roster and also any of your create a soul characters. I like playing ranked matches in Soul Calibur VI but one aspect I don’t like is that people can use their create a soul characters.
Ranked matches are where things get serious, where players use all of their knowledge and skill in the hope to be victorious. Create a soul characters in ranked matches take away from the seriousness and “professionalism” of it. I think created characters should only be allowed in casual matches and not ranked matches. I have seen some pro players echo this idea and some have better reasons as to why created characters shouldn’t be allowed in ranked matches.
Casual matches again like ranked matches, work like pretty much every other fighting game. You can enter rooms created by other players or you can create one yourself. If you want to make a room for just you and your friends, you can do that. All you need for a night of Soul Calibur VI with friends is provided here.
Soul Calibur VI is one of the best fighting games on the market right now. It has some great single-player content like the brilliant Libra of Souls and a fantastic Create a Soul mode. The gameplay is fast, fun and it feels oh so good to play and I love Critical Edges. Online play is the best it has ever been in the series and I know I’ll be spending a lot of time battling against fellow warriors whose souls are burning. Yes, the game does have a couple of problems but those can be easily overlooked in what is an overall fantastic game.
It’s been a long time coming and it has been a long time since I have said this with confidence, Soul Calibur is back!