Review: 'Soul Calibur VI'
Kyle Winfield | Staff Writer
“Soul Calibur VI” is the most recent entry in the “Soul Calibur” franchise of fighting games, released by Japanese developer Bandai-Namco. The conceit of the series, when compared to other fighting games, is that the characters in the roster use weapons, such as swords, axes and other weapons as opposed to just fists, the normal weapon of choice in most fighting games such as “Mortal Kombat” or “Street Fighter.”
Now, there will always be the debate as to which is more important in a video game, the story or gameplay. While the gameplay is quite fun in “Soul Calibur VI,” the story and its presentation is quite lackluster.
The main and side stories are all told through changing portraits of the character you are playing as. Allies and enemies sit opposite of the character, normally with a static background, showing the setting where the player and opponent are. The occasional, fully animated cutscene appears, but just be prepared to spend most of your time, when not fighting, staring at subtly changing faces.
This is where the main problems with the story lie. The dialogue is quite clumsy and riddled with cliches. The presentation of the story is not at all engaging. Within the main storyline, the player can experience whole chapters without engaging an opponent or even picking up the controller, except maybe to skip the dialogue in the hopes of getting to the next fight.
While that type of storytelling can be quite compelling in a different genre, like a JRPG. For a fighting game, it’s quite poor. Especially when looking at other fighting games like “Injustice 2” or Mortal Kombat X,” who both deliver engaging stories with frequent, fully animated cutscenes to boot.
That aside, the gameplay itself is quite fun. Unlike other fighting games, the characters move about on a three dimensional plane, though the camera will always stick to facing the characters’ sides, as per usual in this genre of game.
A new mechanic was also introduced in this game, called “Reversal Edge.” This mechanic is activated by tapping the “R1” button for Playstation four or the right shoulder button on Xbox One. Upon landing a hit with this attack, the game slows down and allows the player who initiated it to block incoming attacks from their opponent, or strike while their opponent is open to attack.
Moving on, the graphics are your standard “Soul Calibur” affair, with the game having a slight, anime aesthetic, while maintaining a certain photo-realistic element. Such is tradition with fighting games in general.
The roster features a wide variety of characters, each with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Take for instance the returning character, Astaroth, who is able to work in mid-to-close range, and deals a decent amount of damage, but is slow and cumbersome. Or the new character Azwel, who is able to work in a medium-to-longer range capacity by summoning weapons out of thin air.
As it always does, character creation returns, now called “Create-a-Soul.” The player has either the option to customize a pre-existing character, or create a wholly new character using a whole swath of creation options, such as race, which includes humans, lizard-people, mummies and more.
Coupled with an extensive variety of fighting styles drawn from pre-existing characters, as well as a hefty amount of clothing, armor and accessory options, player are able to create almost any character they want, be it original creations to characters from other gaming and media franchises, though some will be harder to make than others.
Another returning feature from previous games are guest characters, who have their own unique move-set. This game features the characters Geralt of Rivia, the professional monster hunter and protagonist from the “Witcher” series of video games, and 2B, the Chapter 1 protagonist from the video game “Nier: Automata.”
Overall, while the game suffers from a lackluster and unengaging story, it more than makes up for it in terms of sheer content, from the character creation, to the online fighting element and the multitude of other characters and their respective story modes. If you are a fan of fighting games, pick this one up.