- Release Date: October 19
- Developer: Project Soul
- Genre: Fighting
- Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
We’re now only a month away from the release of Soulcalibur 6, the return of one of fighting games’ most beloved series’ – and we’ve had the chance to go hands-on with a pretty much finished version of the game, try most of the new modes and really get a feel for combat.
It’s clearly a damn fine fighting game, ditching some of the system changes that made the previous game feel very different. It shares much with Soulcalibur 2, the series’ previous high watermark. It’s fast, frantic and instantly fun, but since there are numerous ways to approach the fight, prepare to be embroiled in a lot of mind-games.
The core of Soulcalibur has always been the Guard Impact, essentially a parry that will deflect almost any opponent attack. This includes some throws and Critical Edges (basically Street Fighter-style Super Moves), or baiting your opponent into doing a Guard Impact and punishing them.
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Soulcalibur 6 adds to this with the Reversal Edge, a big animated parry that starts a rock/paper/scissors-style game, with each player committing to an attack as it plays out in a cinematic sequence. Initially, it comes across as a ‘easy mode’ Guard Impact, since it doesn’t require precise timing, but there’s actually plenty of depth here. The button you press will offer different situational advantages and disadvantages after the cinematic, so there’s much here for serious players to explore.
This preview represents the first time we’ve been able to check out the single-player content. Thankfully, it appears to keep up Soulcalibur’s reputation for having some strong, unique content for the solo player.
There are two full story modes, each with a unique spin. Soul Chronicle is the more ‘traditional’, and has you playing through a timeline of events. Each character fits into a certain part of the story, eventually telling the entire tale of swords and souls as you complete each section. However, you can tackle them in whatever order you please, piecing together the full series of events.
The real meat is the other story, called ‘Mission’ mode, or ‘the Libra of Soul’. Here, you develop a custom character from a fairly robust suite, allowing you to create anything from a typical knight in shining armour to some really daft stuff, such as a skeleton, lizard-man or even a living statue, before dressing them up and making them neon pink, for example.
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You pick a fighting style that’s basically one of the pre-existing characters, and then take on a world map full of missions that have you battling against other custom-style characters, as well as the roster. Matches feature specific objectives, such as beating three in a row with one health bar, for instance.
There’s a bit of an RPG-lite feel to all of this. You get food and weapons for winning fights and can consume/equip them to give you buffs and specific bonuses, and there are a few parts where you have dialogue options and are able to choose whether you’re a good guy or a bit of an evil arse.
It feels like a nice, logical improvement from the Edge Master mode in Soulcalibur 2, which is one of fighting games’ all-time top single-player modes – and we can’t wait to check out more of it.
We didn’t get a chance to try all of the new characters in this latest build, but the few we did – primarily axe-wielding brute, Astaroth, and codpiece-wearing perv, Voldo – were extremely fun to use. And with the starting roster full of what is a real ‘best of’ Soulcalibur character line-up, it’s a truly varied bunch with plenty to satisfy all types of players.
We also can’t wait to check out the new Soul Charge mechanic, which burns a bar of meter but grants characters new moves and properties, when this game sees the light of day.
We’re in a real golden age of fighting games right now, and you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fantastic titles. Soulcalibur 6 is shaping up to be one of the best – but we’ll find out for sure when it drops next month.
Soulcalibur 6 trailer
Soulcalibur 6 release date
Soulcalibur 6 network test
A playable network test for Soul Calibur 6 has been announced for PS4 and Xbox One. Taking place from September 28 until September 30, players can download the client right now so it’s ready to launch once things begin.
During the Network Test, you can choose between fighters such as The Witcher’s Geralt and returning characters including Nightmare and Mitsurugi. In terms of modes, Ranked Match will be available for all participating players.