I was shocked when Bandai Namco Entertainment announced SoulCalibur VI last year at The Game Awards, and the fighting game is quickly becoming one of most anticipated games of 2018. SoulCalibur V was a bit rocky, but everything I saw about SoulCalibur VI seemed to suggest that it will be the return to form the long-running 3D fighter series desperately needed if it was going to make a resurgence.
After months of anticipation, I was finally able to go hands-on with SoulCalibur VI at Bandai Namco’s booth during E3. I played several matches, both against the AI and fellow Staff Writer Logan Moore, and I loved every minute of it. 3D fighters aren’t typically my fighting game of choice, but SoulCalibur VI feels fantastic to play, and I can’t wait to jump back in once it releases this October.
During my time with the game, a tried out a variety of different character, including classics like Mitsurugi and Ivy, to the big guest newcomer Geralt. While SoulCalibur VI does introduce some critical new mechanics, the game should still feel very familiar and comfortable with those that have stuck with the series. Things like Critical Edges, Guard Impacts, Soul Charges, and armor breaking return, but have been tweaked slightly to keep SoulCalibur VI feeling fresh.
Critical Edge can be easily activated so newer players can feel more rewarded for being able to pull it off, but the game does reward proper timing and skill, as they can be dodged reasonably easily. Meanwhile, Guard Impact is also easier to grasp now but still didn’t seem like it could be exploited heavily. The most significant changes come via the Soul Charge, which has been heavily reworked. Players transform after using it, gaining access to a ton of new moves and increasing the power of the character overall.
While those returning mechanics are sure to spice things up, SoulCalibur VI also introduces a couple of standout features of its own, namely the Reversal Edge and Lethal Hit. Reversal Edge has been added to give less experienced players to get out of a tricky situation, though it can still be dodged. Activating and hitting the opponent with this move with the press of a button makes the game enter slow-motion, giving the players the option to choose whether they want to attack, dodge, or block.
These function in a rock-paper-scissors way, and choosing wisely will knock the opponent down, damage them, and give the winner a slight edge in the battle. These Reversal Edge encounters are also cinematic and flashy, making them enjoyable to watch. Lethal Hit, on the other hand, is for more advanced players, and meeting the right conditions allows the gain a small window where they can break their opponent’s armor and begin a devastating combo.
All of these old and new mechanics work in tandem to make SoulCalibur VI feel awesome to play, no matter one’s skill level. All of the characters I tried were unique and fun to use in their own ways; I was explicitly surprised by how well Geralt from The Witcher series made the transition, as he was the character most at risk of feeling out of place. The game looks great too, the jump to Unreal Engine 4 lets the game run smoothly and look beautiful, both in the environments and character models.
Even if you have been burnt by previous entries in the SoulCalibur series, or you just aren’t typically a fan of 3D fighters, SoulCalibur VI still looks like it will be appealing to you. The game features exciting mechanics for old and new players alike and manages to be equal parts flashy and intuitive. With the stiff competition this year, SoulCalibur VI has the potential to come out on top to both newcomers and the more hardcore fighting game community and looks like it will serve as an excellent return to form for the franchise.
SoulCalibur VI releases on October 19, 2018 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One; the Collector’s Edition comes loaded with an in-depth art book, Sophitia statue, and steelbook case — and is still available on Amazon.
This post contains affiliate links where DualShockers gets a small commission on sales. Any and all support helps keep DualShockers as a standalone, independent platform for less-mainstream opinions and news coverage.