If you’ve seen any of the trailers or screenshots for Soul Calibur VI, then you know it’s a smooth looking fighter. Thanks to the Unreal Engine 4 this take on the Soul Caliber franchise is easily the best looking and performing to-date, and with its 60fps, it’s hard not to just stand and stare at it in action. Luckily I didn’t have to just stare for too long, because while at E3 I was able to go hands on with it to check out some of the new gameplay mechanics, which are mixed in with a few old mechanics making their return, such as the Critical Edge.
I do believe that both hardcore and new fans of the franchise will appreciate the mix of new and old special moves thanks to the aforementioned return of the Critical Edge, which is accompanied by the new Reversal Edge and Lethal Hit specials, as well as the Soul Charge. For those unfamiliar with those Soul Caliber terms, the new Reversal Edge allows a defending player to enter into a paper, rock, scissors sorta of roll to allow them to reverse a brutal flurry of attacks. The other new maneuver, the Lethal Hit, will be unique for each fighter, but it’s meant to help a badly beaten fighter turn the tide with a devastating set of quick attacks that can even the score to potentially claim victory from the jaws of defeat.
In terms of the gameplay, Soul Calibur VI feels just as tight, if not more rewarding than all of its predecessors. While I was pressed for time and couldn’t perfect anyone character, I still found that I could compete with the AI in the demo by just relying on my aging fighting game skills that I’ve picked up over the years. I played as Geralt, because why the hell wouldn’t I? I love the Witcher franchise, so it was a no brainer to choose Geralt as my fighter of choice. Again, I’m not a Soul Caliber pro, so I wouldn’t say that I instantly picked up on his deep move set and combos, but I didn’t need to to have fun.
I could still compete with just my basic knowledge set, but luckily I had someone guiding my demo, so he pointed out how I could pull off some of the new moves like the Reversal Edge and the Lethal Hit. When you pull one of these off mid-match, the resulting animations and carnage are a sight to see. I really think they’re great mechanics, because they can allow even the most basic of Soul Caliber player to potentially get a win against its more seasoned players. You will probably still lose more matches than you’ll win against better players, but these new moves and the return of the Critical Edge can give you a slim chance of winning, which adds an interesting dynamic to each and every match.
While I didn’t get to experience it in my demo, which was purely just to see the new mechanics in action, Soul Caliber VI will offer up an expansive story mode that will feature both 2D and 3D cinematics. It will also be chronicled through each fighter to create one cohesive narrative if you play through with each available fighter. I’m a fan of fighting games with stories, so I’m eager to find out more about this game’s seemingly overarching narrative that will tie all of the fighter’s reasons for fighting together when everything is all said and done.
Soul Calibur VI looks amazing, plays well, and features a solid mix of old and new gameplay mechanics that should make longtime and newcomers to the series excited. It offers a deep roster of characters, who all have their own story to follow, as well as deep sets of moves and combos that hardcore and casual fighting game fans can pick up and play without too much of a learning curve. The additions of the Reversal Edge and the Lethal Hit can keep even a lopsided match interesting, so while fighting games may intimidate you, I do believe that Soul Calibur VI tries to give all player skill levels a fighting chance, and that’s all you can ask for in a popular fighter.
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