Soul Calibur VI Review – Back to its Glory Days
+ Plenty of returning characters including some from more recent entries.
+ Long hours of gameplay for single player content.
+ Simple yet robust combat system.
+ Creating your own characters is surprisingly entertaining.
+ RPG-esque elements in Libra of Soul add more fun.
- Character roster is underwhelming in terms of numbers.
- Reversal Edge is fun but feels somewhat unnecessary.
- Certain stipulations in Libra of Soul can be frustrating.
Soul Calibur VI Review
Looking for a new fighting game to sink your teeth in? Check out our Soul Calibur VI review to see if the Tales of Souls and Swords is the one for you.
What is Soul Calibur VI About?
Soul Calibur VI is a reboot of the series which takes place in the 16th century, during the events of the first Soul Calibur game. At this point in time, the evil blade known as Soul Edge has gained massive influence in various parts of the world. Sophitia was heavily injured in a battle against Cervantes, the latter wielding Soul Edge. She was saved by a ninja named Taki, who went on to defeat Cervantes and destroy the evil blade.
Due to Cervantes’ fighting style, Soul Edge was split into two and the remains of Soul Edge still exists in the world. This led to the knight Siegfried finding the remnants and end up being corrupted by the blade, thus giving birth to the embodiment of the blade known as Nightmare. With this, the blade of pure evil continues to plague the world.
This leads to a number of adventurers seeking the blade for various reasons; from using it to bring an age of prosperity to bringing more chaos to the world. This is the beginning of the events of the original Soul Calibur game, with Soul Calibur VI letting players uncover some hidden truths during the events of the game.
Relive the Story and Carve Your Own Journey
The bulk of the content in Soul Calibur VI lies in the single player story modes; Soul Chronicle and Libra of Soul. In Soul Chronicle, players will get to enjoy the main story of the game as well as character-specific episodes. The main story is essentially a re-telling of the main narrative piece of the original Soul Calibur game, which revolves around Kilik and Xianghua’s journey to find Soul Edge.
During their journey, they will meet a number of other characters including the likes of Maxi, Astaroth, and more. The individual character episodes will also explain what happens to these characters before and after key plot points in the main story which led to their direct and indirect involvement.
As for the Libra of Soul mode, players will create their own custom character which serves as the protagonist of the story. The character was discovered by Zasalamel as a being whose existence is strongly tied to Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. You will travel the world via a world map with RPG-esque mechanics and meeting various characters from the series.
Your ultimate goal is to grow stronger by finding Astral Fissures and discovering your true destiny with regards to the spirit swords. Players will have to make various choices which will ultimately decide if you ultimately belong on the side of good or evil. The events in this mode will take place during and after the main story in Soul Chronicle, so it’s best to finish the main story first.
The main story mode in the game doesn’t really provide anything new from what we know in the first game. In fact, it is relatively short and can be easily finished in a single seating which initially disappointed me. However, when you actually play every single character episode, it makes up for a whole lot of gameplay and it gives you a new perspective to the events in the game.
Not only that, Libra of Soul is surprisingly entertaining as well. That mode alone should provide you with roughly 10-15 hours of content if you were to solely focus on the main story, and easily double that if you go through the optional quests on the map. Not only that, plenty of quests will have you do battle with specific stipulations, which adds more variety and challenge. Furthermore, the ability to pick up weapons with varying strengths and abilities make combat much more enjoyable.
Building on the Series’ Signature Combat System
The Soul Calibur series is Bandai Namco’s weapons-based fighting game series. This is what sets it apart from the other fighting game series, Tekken. Aside from directions, there are only four buttons that players need to take note of; horizontal attack, vertical attack, kick, and guard. Yes, unlike most fighting games, you actually have to use a guard button to block.
Vertical attacks work by attacking the space right in front of your character, which hits the opponent from head to feet. Its weakness is that the attack can be easily sidestepped. Horizontal attacks on the other hand aim the opponent high and mid regions, which can also hit if the opponent were to sidestep. It can be avoided simply by ducking. Kicks on the other hand are faster, but weaker attacks designed to catch an enemy off-guard.
As for the more advanced techniques, you have Guard Impact, which needs to be timed accordingly to enemy attacks to parry them. This will leave them open to attacks but if you missed the timing, you will be vulnerable instead. Players can also initiate Throw Attacks using a mix of attack and kick buttons to cause damage when an opponent is currently guarding.
The newest addition to the combat system is Reversal Edge. With this, players will enter into a slow-motion state in a rock, paper, scissors-type mini-game in which vertical attack beats horizontal, horizontal beats kicks, and kicks beat verticals. Then we also have Critical Edge, which is essentially a character’s super move, requiring the use of a full bar of meter, and dishes out a ton of damage.
This may all seem complicated at first but in truth, they’re all linked together to form a combat system with a good amount of depth and balance. Constantly guarding isn’t an option when players have access to guard break-type moves as well as players only being allowed to guard for a limited time. Exceeding it will leave players in a defenceless state. The best way to familiarize yourself with the game is to continue playing it. It will all be ingrained in your soul one way or another.
At the moment, there are a total of 24 playable characters, one of which is only available in offline versus modes as it is a boss character. While there isn’t a huge character roster, it does include all the familiar faces as well as some new ones, including guest character Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher series. Bandai Namco has said that they plan on adding more characters in the future as DLC, with 2B from NieR: Automata confirmed to be coming soon.
Soul Calibur VI Verdict
Soul Calibur VI feels much closer to early entries in the series but with better fluidity and some new elements to enhance the experience. While the main storyline is rather short, the individual character episodes as well as Libra of Soul add up into a huge narrative piece with plenty of content for players to enjoy.
Players who are more familiar with other fighting games like Tekken or Street Fighter may find Soul Calibur VI a little awkward to play. With enough time, anyone can grow to love the game and have plenty of fun with it, be it alone, with friends, or with other players online. With that, I award Soul Calibur VI with our Silver Pokdeward.