Back in the 128-bit generation, there were only a couple of fighting franchises as popular as SoulCalibur today. After the legendary and unforgettable Soul Blade of PlayStation and recreational ( Soul Edge in its original Japanese version), Namco developed the title in 1998 in the form of fighting game for the arcade saloons so advanced to its time that made some gamers awe in shock as if they were playing something real and not a dream.
At that time there was not a single title of the genre that could make the slightest shadow, neither in the graphic nor in the playable aspect. Then in 1999 Dreamcast released so we could finally enjoy this titles in our homes.
The SoulCalibur legend would only grow in the years to come thanks to the fantastic SoulCalibur II , where the series began to flirt for the first time with the introduction of guest characters (the inclusion of Link in its version of GameCube is probably one of the most remembered ” cameos ” in the history of video games).
When it seemed that the series had reached its peak, Namco surprised us with the release of SoulCalibur III , probably the best of all, including the most extensive template of the series, a highly refined gameplay, a graphics section of infarction, a very complete and very original selection of modes that assured us a multitude of hours of solo fun, and as a great novelty, an amazing character editor with which to create our ideal fighter.
However, the giant leap from 128 bits to the next generation, the series began to lose popularity, cutting options and modes, worsening some mechanics, and offering more limited customizations. This was the case of SoulCalibur IV , a title that after the third installment felt very scarce and lacking in that magic that had led to the franchise to be among the legends of fighting games, not to mention the strangeness that we witnessed such as heroes and villains of Star Wars measure themselves in duels against medieval warriors.
SoulCalibur V tried to renew the series by introducing a new generation of fighters and new mechanics that did not finish to materialize between the players, and again it ended up to be a very short title in terms of content. The lace to the license was completed by SoulCalibur: Lost Swords, a horrible free game for PS3 that did not manage to keep its servers open for a year.
This failure made Bandai Namco bet to give the series a break for a while, which brings us straight to SoulCalibur VI, the title we are analyzing today and the company’s latest attempt to return our favourite fighters to the top gender.
The answer to returning the license lost its brightness has been very easy: return to the origins to recover everything that made it great at the time. Thus, at the level of the plot, we are facing a remake of the first SoulCalibur, which in turn also means the return of most of its classic fighters, leaving behind the new additions that were made in the fifth part.
So we are again before a three-dimensional fighting game whose main peculiarity is that each character is expert in the handling of some type of melee weapon, offering us in this way a multitude of well differentiated and completely unique combat styles, which It helps to give each warrior a great personality, in addition to the great charisma they all have in their own.
The controls are, in broad strokes, the same as always, with a button to perform horizontal attacks, another for verticals, a third for kicks and a last one to defend ourselves. This, in combination with the stick or crosshead, will allow us to put into practice all kinds of techniques and blows to surprise our opponent and finish him off.
Something that has surprised us for good is how agile and fluid it is at all times. The characters respond perfectly to the controller, have a great mobility and are able to link one animation after another at high speed, recovering the great rhythm that had the battles in the first installments of the saga, favoring very intense duels in which the blows they fly without stopping and where we will have to refine our reflexes.
We have great news in the Reversal Edge (Reverse Strikes), the Critical Edge ( Critical Arts) and the Soul Charge(Charges of the soul). The first is a new type of movement that will allow us to adopt a pose capable of stopping any attack (as long as it does not break guards) to later execute a powerful vertical blow.
If we manage to make an impact with him, a minigame will start in the purest style of Rock Papers Scissors in which we will have to try to press the button that has the advantage over which our opponent presses. The successful player will win the sequence and punish the opponent with a powerful technique. As if that were not enough, the winner will fill a large portion of his energy bar, so it is very useful when we need to recharge desperately.
Although its implementation involves certain risks and is easily punishable if we do it to the crazy, there is no type of restriction at the time of doing it , so there will be few times in which we will see the Reversal Edge throughout of a combat, since its benefits tend to outweigh the risks, especially when we are at a disadvantage and we carry those to lose.
As if that were not enough, there are some imbalances with some fighters and this mechanics, as is the case of Astaroth, who has practically assured throwing his opponent out of the ring if he wins the sequence with a vertical hit.
Being honest, it is an addition that has not convinced us anything to be so dependent on luck , something that does not fit us into a fighting game, a genre in which the ability of each player should be the only Count The idea here is to give an opportunity to the less skilled users, although for all that we have played, there are many situations in which its use is too tempting and beneficial so that it does not have an impact in the competitive field.
As far as the Critical Edge is concerned, these are the equivalent to the definitive techniques of any other fighting game. They are not really a novelty, since they were present in his predecessor, but have been redesigned in such a way that we will treat them as such. To put them into practice we need an energy bar and press the corresponding button (there is no command of any kind so that its realization has no mystery), at which time our character will make an attack. If this hits, it will start a spectacular automatic sequence in which we will download a good piece of the life bar to our adversary.
Hitting them is quite easy (they all enter by introducing it just after raising the enemy with a blow that sends it into the air), so in combination with the Reversal Edge, they become a decisive tool. This inclusion has not displeased us and gives a certain vibe to the battles by forcing us to play with a little more head, although we will not deny that we would have liked them to be a little more limited since throughout a confrontation we can use them enough times.
Finally, the soul Charges will allow us to temporarily empower ourselves in exchange for an energy bar. When we enter this mode, in addition to doing a lot more damage, we will also gain new moves and techniques that we can only execute while it lasts, allowing us to do real damage if we know how to take advantage of it.
Another thing worth noting is that the return Impact Guards in their traditional form, discarding the changes suffered in SoulCalibur V. In this way, if we want to make a stop with which to counteract the offensive of the opponent, it will simply be enough to press defence and forward just when we are going to receive a blow. Yes, it has been simplified a bit and we will not have to worry about hitting the height of the movement we want to avoid.
In general, fighting is a very fun experience, fast, dynamic, intense and with many layers of depth, so it will be months before we start to get bored of struggling. It is true that some mechanics like the Reversal Edge have not liked us very much, but they are the least and they do not manage to eclipse the fantastic work that has been done in the playable.
As we have said before, this installment recovers the classic template of the series, which means the return of fighters so beloved by fans like Sophitia, Taki, Mitsurugi, Kilik or Xianghua in their younger versions.
In total, the figure rises to 20 and each fighter is very careful and very well differentiated, so learning to master all the movements and combos of any of them is a task that will take us a long time. Yes, veterans maintain their usual techniques but have received enough changes so we have to adapt again to them.
Perhaps one of the main problems we see here is the fact that there are hardly really new characters. Of the 20, there are only three new additions, Azwel, Grøh and Geralt de Rivia of The Witcher saga as a guest star, a number that seems very scarce. In addition, Inferno is so powerful that it can not be used in the Matched Matches online, so this subtracts a competitive fighter.
Actually, the template is not bad if we consider how hard each warrior is, but with precedents like SoulCalibur III we can not help but feel that it should have been something more basic , especially when a fighter as dear as Tira arrives in the form of downloadable character of payment after having been able to play with it in the beta and have fought it in certain missions (demonstrating that it is already more than finished and that could have been included in the disk). In addition, the Season Pass will give us access to three other warriors yet to be announced.
If there is something that stands out this delivery is to have taken great care of the individual player, something increasingly rare to see in games of the genre, having here one of the most complete and recommended titles that we can find in the current market to enjoy in lonely.
Its main modality is Libra of Souls, where we will create a fighter with a complete editor of characters to embark on a story that runs in parallel with the main events that took place during the first SoulCalibur. At a plot level, it is perfectly integrated into the canon and does not contradict anything we are told, expanding the “lore” of the series in a very organic and satisfactory way.
Of course, do not expect a great script, because you will not find it, but it is enough and knows how to justify in a coherent way the numerous combats that we will fight, as well as our comings and goings throughout half the world.
The most interesting is that this mode is like having an RPG in a fighting game , so we will have to level up our character, expand and improve our arsenal, and even make all kinds of decisions that will alter our morality and the course of history, which in turn will determine the affinity we will have with what weapons.
At the same time, there are plenty of secondary missions, optional plots, stores where you can buy objects to strengthen us during the confrontations, and so on. Add that all the battles have unique characteristics and conditions that will force us to adapt to them, and you will get an incredibly fun, complete, varied missions.
Complete your main plot will take between 7 to 10 hours, but if we want to do everything the figure goes above 20 without any problems. And that without counting that you will have to play at least a second time if you want to see everything.
If we want even more hours of solo play, we have Chronicle of souls , where they will tell us the story of the first SoulCaliburfrom the point of view of Kilik, Maxi and Xianghua, although we can also play the chapters of each one of the fighters to know their Backgrounds and their role in this adventure.
Everything is perfectly ordered and from the chapter selection menu we can see where each event is located in the chronology, including the events that intersect with those of our character Balance of Souls, so it is very welcome to have put so much effort to give coherence to the narrative so that it does not fall into the usual contradictions of the genre.The development of this mode is quite simple: watch video sequences made with high-quality static illustrations (except a few that do use the graphics engine of the game to show us spectacular action scenes) while fighting one battle after another under special conditions. In general, it is a very entertaining and well-resolved aspect, that becomes the ideal complement for the Balance of Souls, also contributing a good number of additional hours to complete all its chapters.
Interestingly, where the title is weakest is at the time of proposing more traditional modes, since Arcade is the only thing we will find, challenging us to try to overcome eight consecutive battles in the shortest possible time to obtain the gold medal. Eye, this is not easy, since depending on the difficulty we will have some marks to beat or others, although it would not have been better if some final scene had been included for each fighter.
Of course, there is no lack of Versus mode to play with friends or against AI (being able to choose some variants such as the floor slip) or the essential Training Mode. To all this, we have to add a Creation Mode to create characters with an editor with many more options than the Balance of Souls, and from here we will have the possibility to share our creations with the rest of the community and even download the warriors of other users…
As it could not be otherwise, we will also have the possibility to play online games, both informal with personalized rules and scored to try to move up in the bookmarks and make us a gap among the best players in the world. Unfortunately, the system of pairings we have not been able to prove too much since the title has not been released for sale yet, but the fights we have fought have worked impeccably and without any lag, matching the experience to that of playing at home.
At the graphics level, we are looking at a very striking product that has really good models and animations. The effects are also very successful and the stages show a good artistic direction, although not all are at the same level. The performance, as was mandatory, is exemplary and works at 60 images per second at all times, favouring the fluidity of the duels.
The sound is something that has never failed in this series and in this case, returns to give us melodies and compositions of epic and adventurous cut that marry perfectly with the tone of the battles we will fight. Of course, in this case, we thought that the soundtrack is a little more scarce and less varied than that of its predecessors.
The effects, again maintain the same and high level always, especially when the clashes between different weapons come into play, while the dubbing allows us to select between Japanese and English voices.
SoulCalibur VI is the return through the big door of one of the most iconic and representative sagas of the 3D fight. The combats are hilarious, dynamic, agile and can become as deep as we want, while still being accessible for it. Best of all, do not forget to take care of the individual player, offering two great ways in which to invest many hours fighting the AI.
However, some new features, such as the Reversal Edge, have not finished convincing us, and the base template abuses too many veteran characters without providing almost any new face, not to mention the controversial management that has been made of its downloadable content.
Of course, none of this prevents us from having tremendous fun and makes Soul Calibur VI highly recommended title for anyone wanting to enjoy a good fighting game, either alone or online. Do not hesitate to give it a try.
We prepared this review with a PS4 copy of the game that was provided by Bandai Namco.