It has been over 5 years since we got a Soulcalibur game. Let that sink in. FIVE. YEARS. You know what? Soulcalibur VI was worth the wait.
While the last few Soulcalibur games weren’t received too well, Soulcalibur VI is, at its core, a return to form.
Soulcalibur is a 3D weapons-based fighting game. This doesn’t mean that if you get hit with a sword you lose an arm, but rather each character has a unique fighting style that fits their weapon of choice. This makes for excellent mind games as range, weight, and speed are all factored into each character and their signature weapon. This is what makes the Soulcalibur series so unique in a sea of fighters out there.
I have not been shy about my love for Bandai Namco and how amazing the fighters they put out have been. Tekken 7 and Dragonball FighterZ have been featured at EVO and make regular appearances at my monthly fight nights. Now with Soulcalibur VI, they are easily looking to dominate the fighting game world.
With every new iteration of games in a series there are always some new features. Soulcalibur VI introduces the Reversal Edge. A powerful parry technique that puts the players in a slo-mo cinematic battle where each player can select an attack and observe the outcome. Think of it as a really cool version of Rock-Paper-Scissors. While some have complained that this slows down the pace of a match, I think it looks really amazing and shows off just how beautiful combat could be.
Returning are the Critical Edges (or supermoves), a powerful and devastating combo to help turn the tide of battle, or it can be used as overkill. Also returning are a ton of fan favorites from the series. While the timelines of in-game stories for most major fighting games get eschewed along the way, Soulcalibur VI tries its best to make sure it covers all bases… by taking place between Soulcalibur and Soulcalibur II.
Soulcalibur has had some amazing guest characters in the past: Darth Vader, Yoda, Link, Spawn, and even Ezio. So it’s no surprise that guests were coming to Soulcalibur VI. What surprised many, was just WHO that guest was: Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series of video games. The folks at Bandai Namco have put forth a great effort to ensure that Geralt feels right at home in the Soulcalibur universe, and it shows. His fighting style and use of potions/magic are a perfect fit. Along with newcomer Grøh and DLC fan favorite Tira, Geralt helps fill out a roster make sure both veterans and newcomers will have plenty of options to choose from.
The problems that come with Soulcalibur VI are few, but they are pretty massive. At the time of writing this review, I (along with many, many other Xbox users) have been unable to play any matches online. In fact there is an entire Reddit thread dedicated to this issue. The Xbox problems don’t stop there, unfortunately. Having played Soulcalibur VI on an Xbox One, Xbox One X, and PS4 there noticeable performance issues on the Xbox consoles. Load times almost 2 minutes long are almost non-existent on the PS4. Don’t get me wrong, the Xbox version isn’t unplayable, it just has incredibly long load times and you can’t seem to connect online. Let’s hope the team at Bandai Namco get a patch out there soon because I would like to play this game online. I know, I could play on my PS4… but I don’t have PS+ (90% of my gaming is done on my Xbox One).
Issues aside there is plenty for everyone in Soulcalibur VI. The character creation is one of the best the series has had in a long time. My wife and I are constantly fighting over who gets to play the disc because she wants to spend all her time creating characters. The game also offers not one, but two unique story modes to keep players busy. In Libra of Soul, players can take a custom character through an RPG-esque story. Complete with weapon upgrades, food, and shops. In Soul Chronicles, players can take different members of the roster through different time periods to help unravel the interwoven tale of the Soul Edge.
Both modes allow players to unlock items in the games Museum as well as gain Soul Points to be used to purchase unlockables for your character creations.
The game plays so incredibly smooth (once you get past the loading screens) and controls are quick and responsive. I played on wireless controllers and wired fight sticks and felt no difference in button presses.
Visually the game is stunning. This goes for all consoles. Cutscenes are vibrant, characters look great and lush backgrounds come to life. The sound and music are more epic than ever with an amazing orchestral tone behind every match, and yes, the narrator still begins every match with some crazy saying.
The wait was long for Soulcalibur VI, but it was worth it. The gang at Project Soul and Bandai Namco listened to their fans and managed to not only bring us a new Soulcalibur game, but one that serves as a “Thank You” to those have waited. If you are a fan of the Soulcalibur series, or looking to start getting into it, Soulcalibur VI is the perfect game to welcome you to the stage of history.
Just probably get the PS4 or PC version for now until the kinks get worked out of the Xbox version.
The author was given a copy of the game for review purposes