SoulCalibur VI (PC) Review

By Ofisil 17.10.2018

Review for SoulCalibur VI on PC

The SoulCalibur series never really made it to the top of the genre's pedestal, as these spots were usually reserved for the likes of Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter - but only when it comes to sales, that is, as, from its highly innovative beginnings with Soul Blade, to the nearly flawless gem called SoulCalibur II, the franchise had some really fun games to offer; games that were many times better than the ones that most people knew of. Sadly, these started becoming progressively more flawed as time went by, with SoulCalibur V being so disappointing that it made the "just okay" fourth one feel awesome in comparison. Where does SoulCalibur VI fit into all this? According to the developer, either this will be the final entry or, hopefully, a rekindling.

No one in their right mind would ever call a SoulCalibur ugly, yet the series always had to do without a big budget; a tradition that continues here, as well, and, due to the developer's supposed reluctance in making this, it kind of shows… but it doesn't matter. A bit more polish here and there would make this feel more up to par with its contemporaries, and yet, with the exception of the extremely boring character creation screen, half-baked selection of battle arenas, and their ridiculously blurred backgrounds, SoulCalibur VI is a really pretty thing to look at.

Acting as a sort of return to its roots, this ditches the dull colour palette of IV and V, and downturns their heavy, almost anime-ish fantasy elements, while still continuing to be a flamboyant show off - one that doesn't succumb to latest trends and business tactics, and wipe-out its fanservice aspect (cause these are trends, and business tactics), and yes this means Voldo, and not Taki, Sophitia, or Ivy. Plus, this corrects the enormous mistake of swapping big names with their boring siblings/children/clones, with many of them finally seeing a return.

Screenshot for SoulCalibur VI on PC

Gameplay-wise, it's an upgrade from last time, with much more fluid controls, a faster pace, and a better feedback and all around feel when swords, axes, and so on, clash. The cast is also more balanced, and provides a nice selection of weapon-wielding warriors, making it easy to find a favourite… or more. Battle-scarred SoulCalibur players will feel right at home with the usual vertical and horizontal attacks, blocks, parries, counters, eight-way-run evasions, and so on and forth, but the best thing is that newcomers can easily come in and play, too.

Certainly, there are tons of different things to memorise, but the series has never been one where you had to press more than four-to-five buttons to do anything, something that also applies to its more "fancy" moves, which SoulCalibur VI tweaks up a bit. The one-button super move known as Critical Edge, for instance, only requires a full Soul Gauge, and while this means that it can be used more often, one must be careful when to do so, as it's a move that's somewhat easy to evade or block, and the energy that powers it accumulates relatively slowly.

Speaking of the gauge, Soul Charge sees a return, albeit in its new updated form, as players who charge up not only boost their damage, and, especially, chip damage, but they also enable the use of some really impressive abilities, which makes each character even more unique. As for the new tools of the trade, there are Lethal Hits, which can be pulled off in specific occasions, launch the opponent in the air, and, as expected, leave them vulnerable to a follow-up attack… but the biggest addition, and the one that will be the most controversial amongst fans, is Reversal Edge.

Screenshot for SoulCalibur VI on PC

Reversal Edge is a specialised block that ends in a vertical hit, and that seamlessly puts both players in a mini cut-scene of sorts, letting them make a move that follows a paper-rock-scissors kind of logic. Is this more of a risk/reward, luck-based move? Kind of. Knowledge of the game's mechanics is still a must, and this can definitely be useful in certain situations, but it kind of feels that it will mostly act as a tension breaker for lower tier players, as pros won't really find it that good of a technique, and just keep doing their counters, Guard Impacts, and other tricks.

On the whole, a quick description of the title at hand could go something like this: easy to learn, hard to master, with matches mostly favouring fast movement and aggressiveness (heavily punishing towards turtling), and, like Dead or Alive 5, lots and lots of mind games. Long story short: this is a damn fine fighting game, with only a few rough edges, which mostly concern those who view fighters as highly competitive, esports-only material. What about the content, though? What does SoulCalibur VI has in store for you?

For those interested more in online play, there's only the typical casual, as well as ranked mode, and, sadly, during the process of this review, these couldn't be tested as, for some reason, no one to play with could be found. The single-player portion does feel much meatier this time around, but, unfortunately, the bulk of the experience is mainly focused on storytelling, with nothing but a simplistic Arcade mode besides that - one where the guest character, The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia, tends to always appear as its, OP-ish, final opponent. At least, is the Story mode any good?

Screenshot for SoulCalibur VI on PC

Well, firstly, its Story modes, as there are two of them, and, secondly, this further emphasises how this wants to "start over," as it's actually a reboot that deals with the events that led to SoulCalibur. Both, however, provide what is to be expected from plots in fighters, as most dialogue and narration can be safely skipped. More specifically, Soul Chronicle is the "normal" mode, where you choose a character, and follow him or her in a small, six-and-something chapter journey towards the end, but it's the second, Libra of Souls, which is really interesting.

Is it because it plays like an RPG, where you travel along a map, fight against enemies, find and upgrade gear, hire mercenaries, make decisions that affect your path, and then some? Well, these might sound great, but it all becomes a chore way too soon, as the story isn't something special, and the challenge is all over the place, with a super tough foe right after 10 pieces of cake, destroying this mode's value as a good place to train. No. What's great about Libra of Souls is that it introduces the highly versatile character editor.

This lets you create custom fighters, both for this, as well as the rest of the game modes, and although these lads and lasses will always have a light NPC vibe when compared to the real deal, this is certainly a tool that many a player will lose sleep over. As a final note, in regards to the upcoming DLC, two of them will be extra gear for the editor, and three will be additional characters. Sadly, and as is usually the case with these, the first DLC acts as a very bad taste of things to come, as it's not a guest character, but Tira - someone who should definitely be part of the core roster.

Screenshot for SoulCalibur VI on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

SoulCalibur VI certainly has plenty of issues, like a lack of extra modes, a few visuals blemishes, the somewhat unimpressive Reverse Edge move, and the usual greedy attitude towards DLC. Nevertheless, it's also a highly entertaining, high-octane fighter that can be enjoyed by greenhorns and veterans alike, as well as being a more than decent revival of the franchise.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Fighting

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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