soul­cal­ibur VI

We dis­cover the worth of our soul as we slash our way to vic­tory

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - Adam Bryant Pub­lisheR Bandai Namco Developer Project Soul For­mat Xbox One ETA 2018

“Some of the game me­chan­ics have seen mi­nor tweaks; most re­main in­tact”

There was a time when you couldn’t move with­out bump­ing into a fight­ing game. Ev­ery­where you looked there were edgy char­ac­ters punch­ing other edgy char­ac­ters in the face. Then, sud­denly, there were seem­ingly none. Now, though, af­ter re­leases from big names like Tekken, In­jus­tice, and Mor­tal Kom­bat, it’s the per­fect time to see the re­turn of ev­ery­one’s fa­vorite weapons-based fighter. This month we got some alone time with

Soul­cal­ibur VI, and we’re pleased to re­port that the se­ries is feel­ing and look­ing bet­ter than ever.

The team at Bandai Namco were tight-lipped about specifics of the story (de­spite our con­stant ques­tion­ing), but what we do know is that we’ll be go­ing back to the orig­i­nal time­line, to the start of the se­ries dur­ing the 16th cen­tury. This adds cre­dence to the the­ory that this will be a re­boot of sorts. But see­ing as the ti­tle has ‘VI’ at the end, it’s prob­a­bly not go­ing to be as sim­ple as that. Given its set­ting we’re al­most cer­tainly go­ing to see the re­turn of our fa­vorite fear­less fight­ers, but new char­ac­ters will also ap­pear to give the story some­thing of an over­haul.

We’ve al­ready been given a glimpse at the first of these new char­ac­ters. Grøh is part of the mys­te­ri­ous Aval Or­ga­ni­za­tion, and uses a twin­blade weapon called Arondight Replica. This se­cret so­ci­ety orig­i­nally wore heavy ar­mor and car­ried shields, lances, and long swords. As time passed, though, the or­ga­ni­za­tion moved into more clan­des­tine op­er­a­tions and the ar­mor and weaponry be­came lighter to match their more se­cre­tive mis­sions. Grøh em­ploys mul­ti­ple con­sec­u­tive slashes with his blade, which can be split into two and used sep­a­rately.

Along with Grøh, fans will be pleased to hear that Ki­lik, Xianghua, and Night­mare will be re­turn­ing this time around, too. In­ter­est­ingly, we’ve been told that this ver­sion of Night­mare will be the cor­rupted form of Seigfried—the orig­i­nal Night­mare from Soul­cal­ibur II. We’re in­ter­ested to find out more about his role in the story af­ter a long ab­sence…

A dif­fer­ent cal­iber

We’re glad to note dur­ing our playthrough that al­though some of the game me­chan­ics have seen mi­nor tweaks in their ex­e­cu­tion, most of them re­main in­tact. There’s a new ad­di­tion called the Re­ver­sal Edge sys­tem which es­sen­tially has you ini­ti­at­ing a com­bat chal­lenge where time slows down and you must read the ac­tions of your op­po­nent and time your at­tacks ac­cord­ingly. It also di­als up the cin­e­matic flare of your bat­tles. As ex­pressed by the devel­op­ers, this is a new move to level the play­ing field for new­com­ers and veter­ans alike. The Re­ver­sal Edge is in­cred­i­bly sim­ple to per­form but your op­po­nent still has the op­por­tu­nity to counter it, so it’s vi­tal to pay at­ten­tion. As a re­sult the fight­ing feels in­cred­i­bly fluid, but not over­whelm­ing, and the com­bos seem eas­ier to pull off while keep­ing the same level of chal­lenge as you would ex­pect. If we had to com­pare the game­play to one of the pre­vi­ous games in the se­ries we would have to

“So far ev­ery­thing points in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion for Soul­cal­ibur’s fu­ture”

say it plays most sim­i­lar to Soul­cal­ibur

II. Every at­tack seems to carry a sim­i­lar weight, and the move­ment is just as fast and dy­namic.

But enough of the pre­am­ble. We bet you’re won­der­ing how our first match played out. Be­fore the match started we no­ticed that there were 20 slots on the char­ac­ter se­lec­tion screen and 12 for the stages—when we asked we were told that those were only place­holder screens and that we can ex­pect many more char­ac­ters and stages to be avail­able in the full game. For now though, the only char­ac­ters avail­able for us to choose from were Sophi­tia and Mit­su­rugi; we se­lected Mit­su­rugi. Sim­i­larly there were only two stages to se­lect: The Shrine of Eury­dice, which is typ­i­cally Sophi­tia’s stage, and the SnowCapped Moun­tain. It’s the lat­ter for us as it seemed sea­son­ally ap­pro­pri­ate.

We started the first round pretty shak­ily, try­ing to fa­mil­iar­ize our­selves with the con­trols af­ter be­ing away from them for such a long time. Im­me­di­ately we no­ticed that the eight-way di­rec­tion sys­tem is work­ing just as we re­mem­ber and started to dance around Sophi­tia as she slashed her sword in our di­rec­tion.

We man­aged to land the first blow, chip­ping away at her health slightly, but Sophi­tia re­turned the fa­vor with an ag­gres­sive combo which caught us off guard and sent us tum­bling to the floor. Rolling away and pick­ing our­selves up, we com­posed our­selves and counter-at­tacked, pulling off a cou­ple of com­bos that went un­chal­lenged. The re­main­ing health of our op­po­nent now matched ours. We could feel our­selves get­ting back into the swing of things—the game felt nicely fa­mil­iar. Con­fi­dently, we hit with a Crit­i­cal Edge at­tack—now mapped to a sin­gle but­ton press, which feels in­tu­itive and less dis­rup­tive of the on­go­ing bat­tle—but Sophi­tia lashed out with her own and fol­lowed up with a bru­tal Re­ver­sal Edge, which we wit­ness in per­son for the first time—and in full force. Even though we were on the re­ceiv­ing end we were thor­oughly im­pressed. A few slashes later we lost the round.

Now that we had warmed up we were ready to take this Greek war­rior down. We didn’t wait for her to make the first move this time; we thrust our sword in her di­rec­tion and pum­meled her with a bar­rage of at­tacks. She tried to back up, but we caught her with a Crit­i­cal Edge at­tack of our own and sent her fly­ing. Barely wait­ing for her to get up, we used the new Re­ver­sal Edge our­selves but… well, we messed it up, okay? Sophi­tia just cut through our at­tack, and we were left em­bar­rassed. She went for us again and we ex­changed blows. We were con­fi­dent, but that turned out to be our un­do­ing—we re­al­ized too late that we were dan­ger­ously close to the edge of the stage. We tried to roll out of the way, but she laid into us and won the sec­ond round with a clas­sic

Soul­cal­ibur ring out.

Dam­aged soul

Dis­heart­ened but de­ter­mined, we tried again. For some rea­son Sophi­tia didn’t put up as much of a fight this time, and we whipped her with a flurry of slices and dices. Be­fore we knew it we’d taken her down with a KO. The same tac­tic worked in the next round, too. With two wins each, it was all down to the last round.

Beads of sweat formed on our brow. Ev­ery­thing seemed still… and then Sophi­tia lunged to­wards us; we tried to dodge but she landed an­other blow, and then an­other, and an­other, back­ing us to­wards the edge of the stage. We al­most fell out of the ring af­ter an­other swift at­tack, but we quickly dashed around her, switch­ing places, and with a short sharp thrust we pushed her over the edge. Ring out! For our first match, it wasn’t bad—it was close to­ward the end, but we fin­ish with our heads held high.

So far ev­ery­thing points in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion for Soul­cal­ibur’s fu­ture, but six years is a long gap be­tween games, and a lot has changed in that time. The suc­cess of fight­ing games in re­cent years has been down to their abil­ity to in­no­vate and push the genre for­ward with the times. The in­tro­duc­tion of the Re­ver­sal Edge sys­tem is a hint that Project Soul is aware of this, and we’re sure they’ll have more that’ll con­vince ev­ery­one that the soul still burns.

Main We’d like to see Soul­cal­ibur VII fo­cus on the Soul Edge get­ting con­tact lenses for the first time.

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