I’m not very good at fighting games, hell I tend to lose practically every fighting game to everyone. In saying that, I still tend to enjoy the games as a measure of just having fun and being stupid. If you’ve been following our content for a while you would be aware that Tekken is my preferred fighting game, though this is mainly due to the fact that I have very fond memories of playing Tekken 3 with my brother growing up. SoulCalibur is a fighting series that I’ve never really played much. I gave the fifth entry a go on the Xbox 360 and enjoyed it, but that was also mainly due to me being stupid in the character creator (an easy way to get me to play a game for an extended amount of time). In saying that, I’m willing to give most things a go and I was given the opportunity to try out SoulCalibur VI ahead of its release on the October 19th, so I decided to strap on my button mashing pants and have at it!
To kick things off, I was allowed to create my own character before starting the mission mode. So naturally, I made a character with bizarre proportions and the voice of a demon, because in a world where every character has a serious design and voice, there needs to be one to take off the edge. After spending a decent chunk of my time creating my character, I set out on my adventure. Without spoiling too much, the story revolves around your character being a person who wields power at an above-average level and you are tasked with interacting with some phenomena known as astral fissures. These are basically pools of immense energy and the very presence of these causes monsters to spawn and prowl the surrounding areas. If a being like yourself (one who possesses incredible power) approaches an astral fissure, a fighter to defend the fissure will emerge and if the powerful being defeats this newly discovered fighter, then they may interact with the astral fissure (if you know what I mean).
It’s unknown how many astral fissures there are in the world but it very quickly becomes apparent that you are not the only one who seeks to claim the power that these astral fissures hold. After a few missions, the game opens up with a choice system. You can make either good or bad choices and there will be some missions that become available as a result of your character’s moral alignment. I didn’t make it far enough for the second part of this mechanic to come into play, but the introduction gave me some idea of how it will work. It’s actually pretty cool that they’d add an extra layer to the mission mode because it’s so easy for developers to just tack on a half-baked mode and then bat the dust off of their clothes as if they’d come up with something entirely new and never-before-seen.
Whilst there is this mission mode, it did seem like there was some other form of story mode, though I didn’t manage to give that a go, regrettably.
What a hottie
In terms of gameplay and visuals, there isn’t a huge amount of difference from the last SoulCalibur title, however, a new addition is the Reversal Edge system. This mechanic is (more or less) a guard stance which you can enter for a brief period of time and if an opponent hits you during this stance you begin to make a counterattack. Once the counterattack has begun the players enter slow-motion and the outcome is very dependent on what moves both players decide to use. It is entirely possible to avoid or defend against an opponent’s counterattack and I’d imagine that more skilled players would be able to do this consistently. If you aren’t hit during your Reversal Edge, you’ll still do the slow-mo attack however it won’t be a counter (it’s really good for trying to bait an opponent, forcing them to be vulnerable). It took a little while for me to get the hang of this, especially seeing as different weapons/movesets have different timings, but as someone who loves the whole parrying/counterattack system in most games, this is a welcome addition.
Not every character was available for play. I’m not sure whether this is because the build that I played had some characters locked or I needed to complete more missions to unlock more, however, the most important character (Yoshimitsu) was already unlocked so I wasn’t too upset by this. I did manage to face off against the big-ticket character for this SoulCalibur game, though, through the game’s arcade mode. Geralt of Rivia (the bloke from The Witcher series) was a pretty cool character to fight. Unfortunately, I was only able to fight him just the once but his moveset did seem pretty interesting. I’d be very keen to use him once the game releases, though I doubt he’d become my new main.
In terms of visuals and performance, developer Project Soul has really utilised the strengths of Unreal Engine 4. While it’s not the prettiest game on the market, it still boasts some really nice visuals aided by solid art direction and a rock solid framerate. I’m not exactly sure what the framerate/frame target is but from what I played it appeared to be a solid 60 frames per second which would make sense as a lot of fighting games try to adopt a stable 60 fps to allow for a decent level of responsiveness and player awareness due to the competitive nature of these games.
While I can’t give any final thoughts on SoulCalibur VI, what I’ve played really has me interested in getting my hands on the final product come October 19th. I’m not sure what the rest of the game has to offer, but if it stays in line with what I did play, I can imagine it being a great entry into Bandai Namco’s illustrious fighting series (outside of Tekken).