Soulcalibur VI Review PC

good
key review info
  • Game: Soulcalibur VI
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
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Soulcalibur VI on PC

The return of Soulcalibur was viewed by many with skepticism after the previous iteration proved to be less than stellar. It turns out that Namco Bandai learned from that experience and the latest Soulcalibur VI is as good as it should be.

One of the problems with Soulcalibur V was that the developers chose to strip some of the story aspects and focus on the rest, but it turns out that people enjoyed those. Although, I have to be fair and say that I don’t understand why that would be the case, but I’ll come back to this later.

The fighting-game scene was dominated by other titles, such as Street Fighter and Tekken, for many years, with Soulcalibur existing only in the shadows of the other ones. In the past few years, we’ve seen a resurgence of fighting games that feel similar to what we had until now, but are vastly different in terms of story, characters, and pedigree.

When you get to play Batman versus Superman in a fighting game, where Superman’s powers were nerfed to make it viable, you know that things have evolved considerably. Long gone are the days of arcade machines, although things haven’t changed all that much in Japan.

Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
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It’s important to mention Japan because they operate on a very different level from the rest of the world when it comes to fighting games, and we have to keep in mind that they’ve given us some of the greatest titles of all times.

It’s also the country that still has arcade machines capable of running games such as Tekken 7, and that only means that they managed to hang on to this part of the culture that we’re sorely missing now. We’re still trying to get back to it with hardware like the Razer Atrox, but we’re not getting even close.

I’m only mentioning Tekken 7 because it comes from the same studio, Bandai Namco. But, to be fair, the two games are vastly different and have distinct teams, so it’s not really a surprise that they are not comparable.

Story and gameplay

The one thing I can honestly say about Soulcalibur VI, is that I don’t understand any of the story and the lore behind it. I know that I probably should, but it’s impossible for me to follow it, or give it any kind of consideration.

There are two scenarios at play here. One is that the storyline used in Soulcalibur VI comes from a culture so different from my own, making it impossible for me to get it. The other one is that it’s so badly put together and uninteresting that I find it impossible even to take it seriously.

I think it’s a little bit of both. Putting aside the weird constructs and ideas, even if I look at the story objectively, it doesn’t hold together. It proposes some weird premise that fall apart to simple questions, and in the end, it’s a mess, with new characters and situations being put forth with no introduction. I’m not even going to bother with it. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
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There are probably two types of Soulcalibur VI players, and I suspect that the ones playing the single player campaign are not as numerous as the rest, who are just looking to have some fun and maybe humiliate some friends in the process.

What’s nice is the fact that the single-player campaign can be considered interesting, if we ignore the story part. I know that it sounds weird but bear with me. The two main single-player campaigns are called Libra of Soul and Soul Chronicle.

One deals with the legend of the Soulcalibur sword and the other one with more recent events. Soul Chronicle is much more like a regular story, with narration and few interactions, and it’s supposed to provide the background story.

The Libra of Soul is a much more complex story, with numerous interactions, twists, and turns. Players can get new weapons and upgrades, and they can choose the path they want to take. Exploring is also possible, which gives people the impression that they have much more freedom.

Also, one of the main attractions are customization options for your character, and the community has already created lots and lots of variations, some of which are really crazy. It just goes to show just how much difference something so simple can make.

Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
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Of course, the hardcore Soulcalibur fans will want to know if something terrible has happened to the fighting gameplay itself. The answer is no. When developers promise to improve some aspect of a franchise that’s been around for a long time, the community usually sighs. The studio is bound to do something profoundly wrong.

Fortunately, for Soulcalibur, the changes are all in the right direction. The most relevant difference is called the Reversal Edge, which is basically a new move used to parry and counterattack in the same motion. It can be initiated without a hit from the enemy, which makes it more than useful.

Once the animation for the Reversal Edge has started, players have to choose one of the three default actions, light or strong attack, and kick. It works like a rock, paper, scissors game, but players can also choose to stop, dodge, or parry the incoming hit. It adds a new dimension to the fighting mechanic and complicates matters in a good way.

Of course, players can also opt for basic versus or survival modes, and the multiplayer section will help them find a worthy opponent. You might think that you can destroy any of your friends with your fancy moves, but there is a ten-year-old in South Korea that will annihilate you.

Graphics and sound

Soulcalibur VI is built in Unreal Engine 4, just like the latest Tekken, and that means that it works great on the most current and older configurations. It also means that it looks pretty good, with high-resolution textures and fluid animations.

But, the only issue I have with how the game looks is the fact that some of the characters are too closely visually related, and it’s probably due to the color palette or the design. What I’m saying is that the game would have benefited from more variation, but on the other hand, the customization options should compensate.

Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
Soulcalibur VI on PC
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As for the sound, the narration is a killer, and not in a good way. The deep, booming voice of the narrator feels forced, and it’s basically the only thing that you’ll hear. The rest is just there, but at least it’s not annoying in any particular way.


The Good

  • Balanced gameplay mechanic
  • The new parry system in interesting
  • Character creation system is fun

The Bad

  • The story is badly put together

Conclusion

Soulcalibur VI is a game built for the existing fans, and that’s a good thing for the company. Getting new players into the mix is going to be difficult with the complicated story mode and the weird narration, and I don’t see it happening or at least they're not going to arrive in large numbers.

But, the good news is that the fighting mechanics are fluid and extremely well balanced, which only means that the multiplayer or the simple versus matches are going to be really fun. It’s not the kind of game where bashing a single button is going to help, so balancing is all the more important.

All in all, Soulcalibur VI is fun, despite all of its problems, and I think it’s all that matters in a fighting game. If we also take into account the developer’s propensity to bring in characters from other games, such as The Witcher or Sonic, it moves the game to another meta-level. And that’s definitely something that players will want.

story 5
gameplay 8
concept 8
graphics 8
audio 7
multiplayer 9
final rating 7.5
Editor's review
good
 

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Soulcalibur VI on PC
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