Review: SoulCalibur 6

It took a while, but finally Soul Project has developed a brand new SoulCalibur game. More than six years after the appearance of SoulCalibur 5, we can say that it feels good to get back to work with old familiar, but also new characters.

When it comes to fighting games I usually look the other way, but SoulCalibur has always had a special place in my game closet. Once I was introduced to the weapon-based fighter by my friends as a small child. Since then it has been a tradition to add every issue to my library.
SoulCalibur is a very different kind of fighting game than Tekken, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. That's probably one of the most obvious reasons why I like SoulCalibur more than Tekken, for example. In SoulCalibur you are not completely dependent on your combos. The different characters are quite identical in terms of controls. You can attack in different ways and these are almost the same for every character. The difference is in the amount of damage and speed that make the characters unique. Besides the fact that the characters use different weapons.

Noob, but good

I'm a complete noob at fighting games and that's why SoulCalibur suits me so well. You don't have to be good at this game to be able to play at a reasonable level. Your attacks are spread over several buttons, except for the 'X' (on Playstation). You use this button to block attacks. You have to be careful. There are high, normal, and low attacks. You must have the right attitude to successfully block an attack in question.
High attacks generally do the most damage, but are the slowest. These leave your character vulnerable to a quick attack to block your high attack. Low attacks are very smooth, but do little damage. Normal attacks are somewhere between high and low attacks. The game hasn't changed much in controls compared to its predecessor, but it does feel a lot smoother. Nice and responsive, which is very important in a game where your timing and placement are of great importance.
A new technique in SoulCalibur 6 is a moment where time slows down and you and your opponent can perform a certain attack that works a bit like rock-paper-scissors. It is also possible to completely avoid your opponent if you prefer not to take any risk at all. This sequence will only occur when characters perform a certain attack.
Although the addition is not entirely disturbing, I am not yet sure whether I like it or not. It adds a new bit of tactics to the already quite tactical gameplay. It also takes a bit of the flow out of the fight. The damage you take during this sequence is also not very exciting for the loser and is therefore not exactly a game changer.

Soul Calibur RPG

Attention RPG lovers! SoulCalibur 6 introduces a kind of RPG campaign where you can create your own character. To then use in a story about the Soul Edge in Libra of Soul. You may have already seen them pop up on the internet, but the possibilities with the character creator in SoulCalibur 6 are almost endless. Many RPGs can learn from this creator, although on the other hand this is the one thing SoulCalibur 6 shines in when it comes to an RPG.
You can play a whole story and go through a map with different encounters and missions. This is a nice addition to the game, but plays very slow at times. The 'RPG' uses moments of choice and you soon make a choice between 'good' and 'evil'. The story is further divided from your chosen perspective with more choices and RPG elements. This way you can equip your character with weapons of your choice and if you have a lot of time on your hands this is a very nice way to experience SoulCalibur. The mode offers voice acting and a lot of reading so at least expect a very slow pace, which is a bit on the lesser side. Especially since the voice acting is limited to certain moments and not throughout the entire campaign. The pop-up texts are very tempting to skip,although on the other hand you would still like to follow the campaign and get it down to the smallest details.

Maybe a step back

If it all gets a bit too much, the game also offers a slightly more traditional campaign of a few hours where you will encounter different characters. Some will have good intentions and will be playable during this campaign, others will have less good intentions and will be an obstacle for you. The campaign is quite simple and quick to play through, but is a perfect way to get into the game and get a little more background on the franchise and the characters. In this campaign everything is provided with voice acting that is sometimes very good, but sometimes also leaves something to be desired. It won't contain any memorable moments for you, but is a pleasant mode to play through.
Once through this you have the opportunity to play a storyline per character to complete the whole picture. I personally find this whole set up concept a bit more interesting than the experimental RPG that, in my opinion, drops too many stitches to be interesting enough.

Verdict

Of course we don't play SoulCalibur because the story is always so beautifully formed. Fighting, that's what it's all about in the end. We have already discussed the combat extensively in previous headings, but in short the combat in this SoulCalibur is better than ever before. It feels like a heavily polished version of SoulCalibur 5 with fewer characters. Graphically the game looks nice and it is very cool that a lot of attention is paid to the characters and the story in this game. Learning about the characters and story through play is a great way to build lore. It seems so obvious, but how many games miss this these days? The RPG mode in SoulCalibur is a case of 'nice try'. It's not bad, but Project Soul seems to have held back in this fashion,and that is reflected in the gameplay and player experience. RPG mode in SoulCalibur 7, or 'SoulCalibur The RPG'. Make it happen, because the idea is very cool, but the execution deserves much more attention than it has received.
SoulCalibur 6 is a beautiful fighting game, the core is perfect, surprises the player on several fronts with some surprises perhaps feeling more like a 'we had set up a small proof of concept' than a full-fledged feature.


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