By Josh Speer / June 15th, 2018
It’s been a while since my last Soulcalibur game. In fact, the last one I have clear memories of playing extensively was Soulcalibur II, driving my friends into the wall with Voldo, though I also played a bit of III. So it’s been a long time since I’ve delved into the series. Not because I don’t enjoy the lore and over the top combat and characters, but because I haven’t had a main Sony console since the PS2, and I never had an XBox. So it came as little surprise to me that Soulcalibur VI was only releasing for PC, PlayStation 4 and XBox One. This is a visually stunning series, so as much as I’d love it on my Switch, I’m not holding my breath.
While a lot has changed in Soulcalibur, such as certain attacks completely transforming your characters and unlocking a new moveset, far more has remained the same. It still controls fluidly, has tons of counters and reversals, and has a stunning and varied cast of characters. Ivy is still a wonderfully malicious beauty, Taki is still as bouncy as she is deadly, Nightmare is a hulking giant of terror and much more. Also like in previous games, Soulcalibur VI has some guest appearances. The one that was showed off in the demo was none other than the Witcher himself, Geralt. Despite not being overly familiar with the series, I decided to take him for a test spin.
I played a couple rounds against my colleague Benny, who picked the voluptuous and deadly Ivy. For a while I was dominating the battle with Geralt’s short sword and fiery magical spells (which took a bit of time to cast). Then Ivy got her groove back, and it became a very close match that I was barely able to win with Geralt. If you were worried he would be utterly overpowered with his arcane tricks, don’t be. Which is another thing I remember about the series, it’s pretty well balanced, once you get the mechanics down pat.
Speaking of mechanics, there is a new one called Reversal Edge. You have a brief flicker of armor as you do this move, and assuming it connects, combat moves into a strange rock / paper / scissors sort of contest. Depending on which button you and your opponent press, you may take the upper hand, fail or get countered. If it connects, you’ll do a lot of damage though. Supposedly this system was implemented to make the game more approachable to those not accustomed to high level fighting games, but I still doubt it will make much difference. It’s not easy to guess the right input in the short period of time. Soulcalibur VI is fast, furious and seamless. That’s not meant as a complaint, just an assertion that this isn’t the Smash Bros. of Soulcalibur.
Other than the tweaks to combat, Soulcalibur VI looks to be the same sort of game, with a dramatic, sweeping tale intersecting various parts of history. I’m not familiar enough with the lore of the game to really analyze it, but if you’re a fan I think you’ll be happy with this beautiful and frantic game. Bandai Namco had a lot of stuff at E3, so stay tuned as we put out more articles about the games we played there.
Bandai NamcoE3 2018fightingImpressionsSoulcalibur VI