REVIEW: A prequel, SoulCalibur VI is a welcomed "reboot" of
sorts... aiming to bring back old school players from the glorious arcade days
while attracting a new generation of gamers with enticing visuals, characters, and mechanics that
all levels of players can enjoy. The timeline of SoulCalibur 6 is set somewhere between the
conclusion of Soul Edge and Soul Calibur 2, offering a nostalgic
roster of timeless fan-favorites along with some brand new faces, and guest
characters, of course! With two unique story modes, SoulCalibur VI
will retell the legendary tale of souls and swords for a new generation.
Like TEKKEN 7,
Soul Calibur 6 runs on Unreal Engine 4 to provide the sharpest visuals
possible. But first things first... the quality gap in graphics between the PS4 Pro /
XB1 versions and the PC version is a bridge wider than
that of TEKKEN 7. I was slightly worried about SC6's visuals early on,
mainly due to the lackluster (and somewhat generic) stage designs, along with
some "under-polished" character
models. In my opinion, older installments (namely SC4 & SC5) had
more atmospheric stages, better lighting, and more artistically inspiring
visuals for the time. That said, at
a quick glance, SC6 might not impress those who remember the series'
groundbreaking graphical achievements of years past. However, when you take in the
full presentation, SC6 shines in many areas that other
fighting games don't.
This time around... glowing weapon trails, hit sparks, and special effects take
visual prominence over stage and character details. These colorful elements vibrantly fill the screen during the most intense moments
of battle (and some effects also seem to be cool throwbacks to a few classic
games - are those Strider beams I see?).
Heavy background blur is present when characters are near one another and takes
some getting used to, but also helps focus on the action at hand (and can be
removed in the PC version). Closer details such as character clothing, facial
expressions, and muscle anatomy are in line with previous installments... but perhaps not
"the best" of the series (considering the time of release). These
details, in particular, look much sharper in the PC version, especially
when the game is running at max settings (or close to). At its core,
SC6's graphics engine is beautiful. I only hope Namco will give SC6
shine by updating it with a greater variety of stages, characters and classic costumes,
which alone could vastly improve the overall visual presentation. Ironically enough, we
have the guest characters to thank for some of the best-looking stages in the
game: Replica Kaer Morhen and City Ruins: Eternal Apocalypse.
VI's character selection screen as of January 2019.
7 team let Project Soul copy their homework... AKA their revolutionary in-game "slow motion" camera technology, which Project Soul
utilized within SCVI's unique Reversal Edge system. These
slow-motion effects mixed with Soul Calibur's trademark fire, lightning,
and special move sparks come together to create a very satisfying and "new" visual
experience for the franchise. While some visual elements of SCVI are not
nearly as polished as previous installments, the new visual style and camera
work make up for it. Speaking of camera work, one
thing I think needs improvement is the camera during character intros and replays, which seems like it
hasn't been upgraded in over a decade.
However, the cinematic camera angles during Critical Edge super moves is very
With Motohiro Okubo at the helm, thankfully Namco was able recreate
the fast gameplay responsiveness of the pinnacle of the series, Soul Calibur
2... all while balancing and blending the best current-gen mechanics of
fighting games. Soul
Calibur 6 introduces a major new defensive gameplay system called Reversal Edge. This
players an opportunity to easily block most incoming attacks and land a powerful
counter by simply holding one button. When players
release the Reversal Edge button is crucial to their success or failure. Reversal Edge is easily sidestepped and countered, and
many attacks will even immediately "break" Reversal Edge, so
players must use it wisely. Upon impact, Reversal Edge will initiate
a cinematic "rock/paper/scissors" sequence...
All characters have uniquely
different options during this slow-motion sequence, including movement options,
making it much more complex than a simple "3 choice rock/paper/scissors" guessing
game. After a Reversal Edge connects, players can choose either to perform a Horizontal
attack, Vertical attack, Kick, Block, Sidestep left/right, or move Forward/Back.
The end result can be a guard break, connected attack, a successful sidestep (with a
counter-attack opportunity), or even initiate a character-specific and
potentially powerful combo for the winning
character. Did I mention Reversal Edge looks freakin' awesome?
It does. Each fighter also shows off their own unique blocking animations while
Reversal Edge is active - which is very appreciated attention to detail,
especially for a martial arts-based fighting game. While Reversal Edge might not
be everyone's cup of tea... the good news is, the game doesn't force you to use
but better. . . The Soul Calibur veterans have returned in all their
Worry not, old school players... Guard Impacts are back and
do NOT cost meter like in SCV
(perhaps the prequel's most notable gameplay flaw). The streamlined GI now
connects against Highs, Mids, and Lows... as the high/low system of SC2 has been
simplified (both a good thing and a bad thing, I'd say). The timing window for
GI has also been toned down, but not to the point where it could be called
"easy" (yes, GI still requires skill). On the other hand, Reversal Edge
doesn't require the strict timing of a Guard Impact, and can prove useful
for both beginner and higher-level players. At its core, Reversal Edge aims to
give beginner/intermediate players a "chance" against the fearsome
offense of the practiced high-level warriors, "resetting" their momentum. Reversal Edge can
be a smart play during a match when being overwhelmed... as it literally
"slows down" the fundamentals of a 3D fighting game, allowing each
player to try to guess their opponent's next move. Depending on your opponent's
position on the stage, their aggression level, and their motive... one can
definitely predict (not guess) their opponent's decision in Reversal Edge.
MINDGAMES ARE REAL.
Charge also makes its return, but is a completely revamped system for SoulCalibur
6. Costing 1 meter of the Soul Gauge, Soul Charge is a temporary power-up
(not unlike V-Trigger from Street Fighter V, but lest we forget SoulCalibur introduced this concept first).
Upon initiation, Soul Charge pushes the opponent back with a
shockwave and unlocks a variety of unique & powered-up attacks / abilities for each fighter.
Comparatively to what Soul Charge offered back in the SC2 days, the new
Soul Charge gives characters waaaay more offensive options than ever before. Characters such as Kilik, Grøh, and Azwel are
also given a dramatic visual overhaul
during their Soul Charge activation.
Also costing 1 meter, each fighter has a
Edge super move. Against an attacking opponent, Critical
Edge attacks are very easy to connect, but can be blocked, sidestepped, Guard
Impacted, and defended with Reversal Edge and immediately punished! When a character wins
with Critical Edge, they will finish the round
with a special cinematic animation. Lethal
Hit is a special counter-attack which initiates when fulfilling specific
conditions of the move (depending on what the opponent is doing). Lethal Hit
will also destroy the corresponding part of the opponent's armor. Certain high damage combos also become
possible after a Lethal Hit connects - the most damaging combos in the
game, in fact. SC6
also features a successor to SCV's Just Guard defense system called Perfect Guard
(tapping block at the perfect time an attack lands) which negates chip damage and
builds meter for the Soul Gauge. Armor Breaks from SC4/SC5 also
occur in various situations and visually alter characters' attire during
Cervantes looks kinda like Rugal Bernstein. That's because Hiroaki drew
Soul Calibur VI's Soul
Chronicle story mode, based on the ongoing struggle for the two swords,
features a variety of "paths" for each character, retelling
their original motive and storyline with new plot elements. Players will run
into generic opponents in succession until
eventually confronting their character's main rival (or rivals). This mode features an over-the-shoulder camera
angle option and fully-voiced cutscenes (in English, too)! Story mode is complimented with beautiful hand-drawn 2D illustrations
from legendary fighting game
artist, Hiroaki. While Soul Chronicle surely isn't the epic Soul
Calibur "Hollywood-style" interactive movie that certain hardcore
fans might want (and play once), it does offer a sort of "preview" of each character's personality
and motivation in the storyline. However, Soul
Chronicle is the perfect way for beginner players to try out each
fighter's playstyle and moveset, as any fighting game story mode should be.
Overall, some characters got sleepier story segments than others (and most
aren't particularly great), but overall it's a cool "bonus" for a
fighting game and worth a playthrough.
A second story mode... Libra of Soul takes inspiration from
fan-favorite 1-player modes of past titles, such as Weapon Master and Chronicle of
the Sword. Libra of Soul has players create and fully customize their own
unique warrior who will appear in a cinematic
storyline alongside Soul Calibur veterans (and Geralt of Rivia from The
Witcher series). In
this mode, players take their character through a quest to stop an evil mastermind at
work (Azwel) to gather Soul Edge shards. Along the way, players square off against
both characters from the main storyline, as well as warriors created by the
community. Battles offer a variety of rule-specific situations and hazards which shape their path.
I haven't had time to fully play through this mode (since I'm enjoying playing
the actual game so much), but I will definitely update this part of the review
once I do.
Fans of Character Creation mode will be happy to know that Soul
Calibur 6's version of the mode is easily the deepest and most
customizable to date. Players
have an entire 100 slots to create and edit a seemingly endless
unique characters (or the main
roster) using 1000's of clothing combinations, layers, stickers, and a full
Color Edit feature. 16 races
are available for custom characters, including human, lizard, living skeleton,
orc, and several other strange oddities.
Height, anatomy, facial features, hairstyle,
clothes, armor and, of course, weapons & fighting style are also fully
customizable. Creation also features a screen where you can view community
creations and even save them for your own use! Obviously, for some... this mode might
be worth the price of admission, alone.
You've probably seen the insanely imaginative community creations all over the
internet by now, as Creation Mode "wizards" have already recreated
countless recognizable characters from other series, and then some... indescribable
Bandai Namco also plans
to add 100's of new (and classic) customization items to the game in the future
updates (included in the Season Pass). To state the obvious, fighting game fans who might not have the attention span to actually learn how to play
SoulCalibur VI will likely get lost having fun in Creation, which is fine... I guess.
I only hope these casual fans realize that however imaginative and creative they can
possibly be in Creation Mode, actual players are being just as creative (if
not more) by utilizing the incredibly vast and dynamic character movesets in very creative
ways... in actual gameplay.
Play. The. Game.
Geralt of Rivia from
Witcher series joins Soul Calibur... and it's canon!
While Soul Calibur VI offers
an impressive amount of single-player content at launch, the title was first and
foremost designed to be
a balanced and competitive fighting game. Project Soul stated on numerous
occasions that they want to make a game that competitive players will love to
play for years. Thankfully, Bandai Namco has already updated SC6 with
timely bug fixes
and balance updates, aiming to provide the best experience possible. The
all-important Online mode
doesn't have many bells or whistles, besides letting players conveniently wait for an online opponent in the full
Training Mode, with their choice of any stage (which is actually a great thing). Most importantly, the netcode
is just as solid as TEKKEN 7's, offering silky smooth fights at 4 and 5
bars. It would be nice if Training mode had a few more/better training options (closer to T7's) but
it mostly gets the job done. (And I'm proud to say I've spent much more time in
Training than Creation mode.)
Alongside the return of iconic tried-and-true mechanics like 8-Way-Run,
Ring Outs, and Wall Combos... experienced Soul Calibur players will be
happy to know that returning characters, amazingly, have a plethora of their classic moves,
stance transitions, and cancels from prior installments. In my experience, most
veteran characters play closest to their SC2 counterparts, which is the
best possible decision, if you ask me. Over
the years, a major quirk of the series is that characters were heavily changed,
losing many of their previous attacks and special moves. SC6
retools nearly all of your favorite moves for each character, which is an
amazing achievement by Bandai Namco. Of course, characters received some
great-looking brand new attacks as well; and as you'd expect from Soul
Calibur, the animation is silky smooth. Also worth mentioning, damage
animations are more off-the-wall than ever, with specific attacks launching
characters high into the air or flung across the stage during a K.O. (Fighting
Character Creation Mode is ambitious and fun... but playing the game is
A 3D GAME STILL IN TOUCH WITH 2D ARTWORK.
While certain other fighting developers are "playing down" the role of 2D
artwork in fighting games of this era... Namco's 2D illustrators have clearly been busy. Bandai Namco still
cares about 2D artwork in your fighting games, as they already demonstrated in TEKKEN
7, and we should still appreciate them for it here in 2019. Fighting game artwork legends: Hiroaki
Hashimoto and Takuji Kawano deserve
our admiration and respect for these amazing Soul Calibur VI character illustrations, and
you should show your appreciation by supporting and buying this game (and
actually learning a character or two, or three).
||January 25th, 2020
Namco (Project Soul)
Kawano Character Art
4, Xbox One, PC
November 25th, 2019 Season
Xianghua, Zasalamel, Siegfried,
Seong Mi-Na, Tira,
of Rivia, Azwel, Inferno,
Edge, Soul Calibur, Soul
Calibur 2, Soul Calibur 2: HD Online,
Soul Calibur 3, Soul
Calibur 3: Arcade Edition, Soul Calibur 4, Soul
Calibur 5, Soul Calibur:
Broken Destiny, Soul Calibur
Calibur: Lost Swords, Tekken 7, Blade
Strangers, BlazBlue Cross Tag
Battle, Samurai Shodown (2019),
Granblue Fantasy Versus
9.5 / 10
Story / Theme
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects
9.0 / 10
9.0 / 10
9.0 / 10
9.5 / 10
Options / Extras
9.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation
6.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun
10 / 10
9.0 / 10
9.5 / 10
based on Steam / PS4 Pro version
love SoulCalbur 6. I've already spent 100+ hours with the game, loving every
second. I should also mention that in those 100+ hours, I still haven't finished either of the story modes. That should tell you
something. It was clear to me in the first few hours of playing the beta that Namco made a
great fighting game. As someone who played SC2 competitively for 15+ years
(and preferred it over all other sequels), I can tell you that SC6 is just as good (dare I say
better, in some ways)
as my beloved SC2. This is where SC6 is a true love letter to
dedicated players of the game. If you
can understand the frustration of being "disappointed" by gameplay
aspects of SC3, SC4,
and SC5, then you can take comfort in the fact that the remedy has
arrived... and it's
called SoulCalibur 6. Buy it.
The game is already fun and packed with content at launch, and it should only get
better with time. SC6 has no reason
not to become a fighting game success story. Knowing Namco will only be building upon what's already great in SC6
is a positive outlook on the future (us old school kids didn't always have such a convenient thing
the Arcade/PS1/PS2 days). This is what makes things like DLC and "Season Passes" a
very very good thing for a fighting game in 2019 that's worth putting time into.
Tell your whiny friends.
For "casuals" and fans of single-player content, SoulCalibur VI already
offers far more than the typical fighting game. Two story modes, a robust
Creation mode, Color Edit, Gallery, etc. Once you stop wasting time
enjoying the hell out of Creation mode and making ugly (or pretty)
characters, get your ass into Practice Mode and learn how good Soul
I try to be a simple man, when I can. I don't need too many
things in life. But one thing I need are great fighting games that take years
to master. Games that are fun
and rewarding to play for years (not just to look at). I don't like
wasting time with games that aren't built to last. Thanks to the amazing combat mechanics, deep movesets, and balance of
SCVI... I already know that I'll most likely be adding SCVI to my list of "all time" favorite fighting games.
Yep, it's actually that good. How do I know? Because I'm not good enough at the
game, even after my 150+ hours of playing,
and it will take years to master. A game like Soul Calibur 6 is
why I still play fighting games.
In an era where balance patches and free content can arrive at any time, which
extended TEKKEN 7's lifespan by several years already, one would think SoulCalibur
6 will follow a similar path, if Bandai Namco plays their cards
promise not to forget about you, TEKKEN 7.) I guess it's a good thing
when my current "biggest problem" in life is time management between playing
TEKKEN 7 and Soul Calibur 6. Don't I have a website to run, too?
Good thing I'm not single.
I must be one with time.
And thank you for reading, btw.
Obviously, I'm beyond ecstatic to finally have one of my all-time favorite fighting game franchises back in the
spotlight. Us Soul Calibur players had to wait a good 6 years for a
proper new installment (much longer if you count from SC2), but the wait was worth it. One of my most enjoyable EVO '18 moments was
watching the SC6 exhibition... and the full game wasn't even out
yet. Shoutout to the epic commentary by Aris and Markman, too. (Love those
guys.) I truly hope SC6 catches on with the current climate of the FGC and remains a major competitive title
for years into the future, because quite honestly, this game deserves it.
Unfortunately, most "gamers" of this generation are too lazy to learn
a 3D fighting game as complex as SoulCalibur 6, but Bandai Namco has done everything
conceivably in their power to make this game attractive to all types of fighting
Even though "1-button" super moves are now a thing in Soul Calibur,
the game still has a steep learning curve. By far, SC6 is the most accessible
installment in years, while locking down a pretty high skill ceiling for players
striving to master the mechanics & match-ups. Once you learn the ropes and
fully understand how the "beginner-friendly" mechanics work, you'll
discover a mountain of new possibilities and depth... if you're a "creative"
type of player. If for some reason you don't
see or feel the amazing depth... either you're lacking fundamentals,
you're using the wrong character, you're stuck in the "2D fighting
game-based flowchart" mentality, or you're relying too much on beginner's mechanics (which are good, by the
When all is said and done... high-level SoulCalibur players still get to play
high-level SoulCalibur in SC6.
What that means is you'll see smart Guard Impacting, more Soul Gauge activations
than super moves, badass combo setups, fast-paced movement & spacing, and a
healthy balance of offense and defense (not just running up and attacking).
FUN FACT: "Yolo
wake-up supermoves" only works in noob play (most of the time).
Don't fall for simple stuff and blame the game (it's actually your fault... so
as they say... "git gud"). Reversal Edge and Critical Edge can still
prove to be very useful at a high level, but SC6 offers deeper mind-games and
far more dynamic gameplay than most fighting games of this era come close
to. All the reasons I love
SoulCalibur are back.
I only hope today's generation of FG players are capable and
creative enough to discover how special and complex of a game Soul Calibur 6
SC6 being a prequel / reboot is an intriguing and smart direction for the
has opened the door for one of the best character rosters to date. More importantly than
the "names" of characters you see above, each fighter's most iconic
moves have been reimagined and repurposed in SC6. Overall, SC6 character
movesets are a healthy mix of new
and old. It almost seems like Namco made each character's moveset as a "GREATEST
love letter for dedicated players and fans of the series. I can't think of
another fighting game that has done this so seamlessly, besides TEKKEN 7
of course. Naturally, of course many players (including myself) still have some gripes
about how certain moves have changed or are missing, but if you do your homework,
adapt, and experiment, you'll find that
each fighter now has "better" options than the ones
you might've been looking for.
MY WISH LIST:
#1: More Stages. This game needs more
stages. Badly. Classic stages: Pirate Ship, Clock Tower, Raft stage,
any Japan stage, more Asia-themed stages, etc. More stages with unique wall breaks
would be welcomed as well.
More Guest Characters. Geralt & 2B were
With Geese Howard now a TEKKEN character, this old school fighting gamer
is hoping for some more SNK
love with the addition of Samurai Shodown and/or Last Blade characters.
SC6's mechanics and visuals are more than perfect for the addition of such
vibrant characters. If we get more characters and stages, SC6's rating could easily move up a few notches. [UPDATE]
THANK YOU SNK. Dreams come true. Please add more Samurai Shodown characters and/or make a full-fledged crossover now.
Also throw in Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, a Bloodborne
Hunter, and to bring up a totally obvious one: Game of
Thrones characters. Then we can call it the best weapon-based fighting game
roster of all time and call it a day.
I never thought I'd say something positive about "Negan" as a guest
character in TEKKEN 7, but maybe this AMC collaboration is a stepping
stone towards getting HBO on board with a Game of
Thrones character in SC6. Something this big would only be possible if the game
sells well enough. This is why you buy DLC and Season Passes, so we
can have nice things.
If you appreciate dynamic and complex fighting mechanics over the simpler "dumbed-down" ideas that
certain fighting games of this era are becoming known for, buy Soul Calibur VI. If
appreciate fighting games that advertise themselves with beautiful 2D hand-drawn
artwork of brilliantly designed characters who deserve more attention and
Soul Calibur VI. And don't just buy it, PLAY IT!