SoulCalibur is one of the most popular fighting games in the market, spanning over 6 iterations from the Soul Edge on PlayStation 1, to the SoulCalibur 5 six years ago. After a long wait, this legendary franchise returned with a triumph, bringing back all the good things that defined gameplay experience, and spicing it up with some new elements. The mixture of traditional and innovative makes this game distinct from the prequels, but also brings it up in terms of quality among the competition.
Concerning the story, SoulCalibur 6 it’s coming back to its roots, retelling the first SoulCalibur story, through the two very different but equally entertaining Story modes, which retell the familiar story in innovative ways. But let’s put the story aside and say a word or two of how entertaining the gameplay is. SoulCalibur 6 is a massively fun game, no matter if you are playing it, watching it or learning the ropes. Even the slight presentation issues don’t manage to spoil the appeal of this game.
Everything that was a defining factor of SoulCalibur games is back in this iteration. There are the 8-Way-Run, vertical and horizontal attacks, and a distinctive powerful style for every character. The series introduces a new mechanic, called Reversal Edge, which is basically your character set in the stance that lets them absorb several strikes before delivering a heavy blow. Similar mechanics can be found in the Tekken 7. This heavy attack launches a mini-game, similar to the rock-paper-scissors, and the winner deals the next hit and recovers the momentum. Initially, this might look as the guessing game based on luck in the middle of a skill-based duel, but once you get the hang of it it will enable you to indulge in some intricate mind games.
Now, a word or two about Soul Charge. This time, every character has it, and you can build the meter by successfully delivering the attacks, then give themselves and unique enhancement, which provides them with new powerful moves and combinations. This more than welcome addition enhances the diversity between players and adds another tactical level into the gameplay. There are many ways you can use your Soul Charge. Some players will choose to spend the entire bar in one huge strike, while the other ones would rather disperse it into dealing slightly more damage over a longer period of time.
The rest of the fighting mechanics is just an improvement of an already well-developed system. There are few welcome changes, for example, Guard Impact don’t cost a meter now. Also, deadly strikes are now made to function like crush counters in Street Fighter V. But despite all these, SoulCalibur 6 is still one of the easiest games to get the hang of.
The story is told in two story modes, Libra of Souls and Soul Chronicle. Instead of telling two stories, these modes cover the same storyline, but in completely different ways. Libra of Souls looks like an RPG, in which you create your own character, known only as The Conduit, and making travel and fight a way to earn experience, buy new gear and items and travel across Europe and Asia. Your character will complete missions, some of them with a certain handicap, like fighting on ice. It takes a while until this mode becomes really interesting, but it’s worthy of the wait. The variety of the missions keeps the combat from being repetitive by exploring the move set in ways you probably wouldn’t think of. You will also feel the sounds of the progression thanks to the role-playing elements and the weapon upgrade system.
Soul Chronicle is a much more traditional story mode which follows the main trio, Kilik, Maxi, and Xianghua in their pursuit of Nightmare. There is also an option to select an individual mini story mode, which shows where the certain characters were at a certain point of the timeline. Those are basically individual stores from arcade mode, conveniently laid out over the main timeframe. The rest of the modes are usual; Arcade, Training and online play for both casual and competitive purposes.
The list of the fighter is a bit of a downside since there are only 20 characters, but those who made it into the roster are the franchise favorites. SoulCalibur is the game that loves the guest characters from totally different universes, and in this sequel, there is Geralt of Rivia, the protagonist of the Witcher series. His style, which is a combination of sword playing magic complements really well, also making him unique.
There are some smaller downsides in this game but they don’t tarnish the flare and attraction of SoulCalibur 6. It’s rare to find the game that will be fun to play no matter the skill level, and Soul Calibur 6 is the prime example of that. So get ready to come back to the stage of history and cross the swords with beloved characters once more.