We discover the worth of our soul as we slash our way to victory Adam Bryant
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 and. 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 favourite 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 means 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 favourite 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 Organisation, and uses a twinblade weapon called Arondight Replica. This secret society originally wore heavy armour and carried shields, lances and long swords. As time passed, though, the organisation moved into more clandestine operations and the armour 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 calibre
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
“Some of the game mechanics have seen minor tweaks; most remain intact”
“So far everything points in a positive direction for Soulcalibur’s future”
say it plays most similar to Soulcalibur
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 familiarise 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 start 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 favour 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
Main We’d like to see Soulcalibur VII focus on the Soul Edge getting contact lenses for the first time.
Grøh can also split his sword into two blades for double the pain. below