Developed by:Project Soul Published by:Bandai Namco Genre(s):
  • Fighting
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1-2 (2 Online) Release date:October 19, 2018 Reviewed on:XBox One

    SoulCalibur VI

    Let me start this review by stating that I haven’t seriously played a SoulCalibur game in a long time. I’ve dabbled here and there – I remember trying part IV just to play as Yoda – but none of them held my attention as long as SoulCalibur II did. Though it would make sense to take my praises of that game with a grain of salt (considering my on-again, off-again relationship with the series), I always felt that it was the best in its class. That is, until we got our review code for SoulCalibur VI!

    Positioned as a reboot of sorts, SoulCalibur VI focuses on the events from the first game; it revisits these early happenings via two new story modes. The main mode, Soul Chronicle, showcases the game’s heroes and villains as they battle for the Soul Swords. It plays out like other games of this ilk, with matches against AI controlled characters that lead to different story beats. The proceedings are elevated some thanks to the UI, which mimics an interactive graphic novel – it features what looks like hand-painted panels, centered on the game’s cast – voice acting and so on. As a whole, Soul Chronicle takes a little over an hour to complete. The action can be broken up between characters though; it’s possible to play a small portion of the campaign and experience a character’s part of the story. Each of these small segments last between 20-30 minutes each.

    Soul Chronicle is one of the better story modes I’ve come across in a fighting game. Some of the individual character arcs felt a bit bloated at times. Beyond that though, it proved to be rather entertaining. Interesting enough, it was the SoulCalibur VI’s secondary story mode that sucked up all of my time. Called Libra of Souls, this mode offered a different take on game’s major events while offering new gameplay mechanics and RPG elements. It’s like the Chronicles of the Sword mode from SoulCalibur III. After creating a character – using features found in humans, lizards, skeletons and anything in between – you’ll go about your adventure to stop a certain villain from collecting Soul Edge shards. This includes tackling different missions (with altered rulesets for each bout) that pit you against main and custom created characters alike.

    Libra of Soul is really engrossing. Leveling up your created character, trying out different movesets, defeating tough foes under harsh conditions – it’s easy to get lost in the moment to moment gameplay. And while it doesn’t utilize the same voice work/splendor of the main campaign, it does provide a more personal feel. The graphic novel approach works better here as it reinforces this notion. It also works as a tutorial for new players and returning players (such as myself) by reinforcing the basics of play before moving on to the more advanced stuff. It might feel a little slow for veterans. Still, I’d recommend checking it out for some of the things a mentioned, with the challenging rulesets, the game’s lore, and the custom characters being the main draw.

    Of course, the custom characters aren’t only available in Libra of Soul. These wacky fighters can be used in the usual arcade, local and online modes as well. Playing locally (regardless of who you use) is a blast. The same can be said about fighting online; the netcode is solid, with no discernible stops or stutters during play. If I wasn’t obviously by myself on my couch, I would’ve sworn that my opponents were sitting next to me. This is good news for fans looking to jump into Casual and/or Ranked matches right from the start. As for options, Casual allows you to join or create a lobby where others can come in and stand in queue to play. The Ranked mode pairs you with someone of equal skill. Both are serviceable.

    What would make online mode perfect, in my opinion, would be ladder challenges or something similar for those who aren’t willing to put in the time to become an expert, but still want to progress and rise the ranks in a separate category. SoulCalibur VI is an extremely easy game to just play casually. Once you get the basics down, you can easily best the CPU in most matches. Which is why it would have been nice for Project Soul to offer more online options for those of us who aren’t ready for ranked matches. There didn’t seem to be much of a middle ground outside of playing with friends.

    Though SoulCalibur VI isn’t difficult to play, that doesn’t mean that being good doesn’t require some skill. The normal fighting mechanics – sidestepping, blocking, parring, combos – combined with newer elements often negate button mashing. Some of these new features like Reversal Edge, which is a rock-paper-scissors beautifully choreographed cinematic moment during a battle, ups the ante in unexpected ways. Activated with a push of a button, this moment is not unlike the “clash” ability found in the Injustice games, just a little more complex; the button and corresponding moves have different payoffs depending on the character. You may land a big attack, be countered with a matching strike (causing the weapons to bounce off one another) or be beaten to the punch with a better attack based where each blow would land. Basically, the Reversal Edge adds a bit of surprise and nuance to an already great fighting experience.

    Beyond new fighting mechanics are unlockables to collect in the museum area. There’s also a character to unlock once you’ve reached a certain episode in Chronicle of Souls. For fans of The Witcher series, Geralt is a guest playable character from the get-go, geared towards beginners. There is also a season pass available which will allow you to unlock Tira and three others to be revealed later. It is assumed that as you unlock these characters, their weapon sets will be available to use in Libra of the Soul. While that’s a nice touch, I’m not happy that some long standing characters are being sold back to us; Tira was in SoulCalibur III, IV, and V. I know the game’s story takes place before she’s introduced (her absence makes sense), locking her availability to the pass still doesn’t feel right. All and all though, SoulCalibur VI has a decent roster featuring twenty of the game’s most popular characters (with a few new options sprinkled in).

    Soulcalibur VI has made me fall in love with the franchise again. Project Soul has put their best foot forward with an excellent new experience that offers classic characters, engaging bouts, two story modes, and more all running at a buttery smooth 60fps. Those of you who reminisce about the PS2 days of SoulCalibur II will be pleasantly surprised and possibly even elated with this new entry. From the visuals to the orchestral swells of music, to the smooth and simple-to-grasp gameplay, I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole that I refuse to climb out of!



    Simple and easy to pick up for the casual player, yet with enough nuance and subtlety to appease the pro, anyone who even slightly enjoys fighting games will be right at home.



    Easily one of the best-looking games I've seen on my console in a long time. The manga style aesthetic always worked for this long-standing series, with colors and beautiful backgrounds that pop.



    The music is top notch, sucking you into the fantasy world of SoulCalibur.

    Replay Value:


    Whether you are an online or offline player, there's something for you. The single player modes get long in the tooth, but it is better than not having enough content. Online matchmaking keeps new challenges coming but could use more online modes.

    Final Score:


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