SOULCALIBUR VI Review: Cleaned And Revamped

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Bringing another edition to the Soul series, Bandai Namco launched SoulCalibur VI on October 19th for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. With a lot of returning characters, a couple new ones, and even a special appearance from Geralt, this new title entry is looking promising! However, let’s take a look at the game as a whole before jumping to conclusions.

Story

Bringing the entire Soul series story together in an official timeline was beyond a relief to see. Reading bios of all the different characters and trying to piece them into a dialogue was always a bit hard to follow, but they have made the story crystal clear with the main story timeline. It is also accompanied with all the characters timelines available separately so you can always know what your favorite fighters were doing during the 16th centuries Evil Seed outbreak.

There is two ways to go through the story however. There is the obvious and direct Story mode that includes the fighters we all know and love, taking you through the direct journey of SoulCalibur. Then there is the Mission mode which will allow you to create your own character and play through the story in your own version of the campaign where you will meet many of the iconic characters along the way.

Gameplay

With a slight change to the controls as they were known in the previous games, overall the move sets are familiar. Figuring out the inputs for the same moves you used to use are what have changed. Luckily there is a training mode that you can use in order to tone your skills and become a champion fighter yourself.

While the Story and Mission modes offer a little bit of gameplay, they are mostly focused on telling the story. I found myself spending more time in the Arcade and Online modes so that I could keep the battles going. These two modes offer the chance to fight against different opponents back-to-back; Arcade mode offering the gradual increase in difficulty. Unfortunately, that is all it offers as there is no climatic moment at the last fight where there is a boss-like character that would be a bigger difficulty jump than the rest of the climb. The good news is there are difficulty options and while you can go through Hard mode with only a slight bit of knowledge, you will need to have some combinations and general character knowledge before taking on the Very Hard difficulty.

They also added a power meter bar that can max out at two full bars. These bars can be used to either activate a special attack style, such as Kilik’s Evil Seed Demon form, or use it as the initiation of an auto-combo attack that does some hefty damage. Much like landing a grab, when you land the first hit of your super charged attack it goes into a more cutscene like moment where the special move set of your character will be brilliantly shown off by doing a fancy, sometimes brutal attack combination that your opponent can’t do anything but watch helplessly.

Another awesome addition is that when you are selecting a stage it shows you a small diagram of the maps shape and if there are any walls around the map. This is great for players like me who absolutely loath the Ring Out battle option. Yes, it is a valid way to win the match, but it is also a cheap way to stay or take the lead, if not just win the match.

Character creation is still an option and it has way more available options than ever before! Offering over ten different character types and a wide variety of clothing, hair style, facial features, and everything else you could imagine when setting up your own beast – or joke character that we will all inevitably make. You can also still create a custom costume for the fighter you choose to use as you used to before.

Graphics and Sounds

Bringing the graphics to an even better level than it was at before has definitely improved the game. Especially with all the new character styles, creative custom character options, and general look of the backgrounds and fighting styles are all improved to look beautifully dangerous.

I like that they added the nice touch of hearing some of the noises from the background. While not new to the series, always nice to hear the water actually running around the arena. The clashes, voice overs, weapon accurate sound effects, and general matching effects all seemed to line up without issue.

Replayability

There is always room to improve your skill and do better in the Arcade mode! No matter how skilled you are, there is likely somebody out there that is better than you. Keep training, beat Arcade mode on Very Hard with a faster overall time, defeat the fools who challenge you online, or simply have some fun with friends, there are tons of reasons to come back for more action in SoulCalibur VI.

What Could Be Better

While it is great that they added an official canon Story mode for players to follow, I felt it lacked in how it was told. While majority of games have their stories shown through cutscenes, they chose to go with lightly animated reaction conversations for the story mode. What I mean by this is that instead of showing what is going on, they give the sound effects and show the characters reaction as they discuss what is going on in the current part of the story. It’s a color improvement to Metal Gear Solid’s old codec system, except that is the entirety of the story – no actual cutscenes.

I don’t understand the point of changing up the controls of characters in order to make room for new move sets. The attack style of characters we have been using since the beginning should still be the same inputs, but they’re not. This is only a small adjustment that can be fixed with Training and Arcade mode, but it felt a little bit like re-learning a game I already knew.

Conclusion

SoulCalibur VI is a lot of fun and I got the gameplay I was hoping to get! After learning the new move set style of my main character, it started to feel like it did in the other previous titles. Definitely an improvement in the series and it is great to have an official Story told from beginning to end clearly, even if it could have been shown better. The most important element of the game was the gameplay which easily met expectations!