It’s been five years since the last major entry in Bandai Namco’s fighting series, but now 2018 will bring us a brand new entry in the form of Soulcalibur 6. With a diverse cast of characters and unusual but beautiful setting, it has the potential to be the next must-play brawler.
Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about Soulcalibur 6, including all the latest news, trailers and our first hands-on preview with the game.
Soulcalibur 6 Preview by Jordan King
Bandai Namco’s fantastical fighting series has taken a lengthy hiatus throughout the past few years, leaving hardcore fans waiting in eager anticipation ahead of its 20th anniversary. After a few rocky spin-offs, it seems Soulcalibur 6 is aiming to revisit the series’ roots with a simple yet effective fighting system and vast potential for appealing to casual and seasoned gamers alike.
Having only been announced in recent weeks, the build of Soulcalibur 6 that I had a chance to play was relatively early, with two characters and stages on offer. That being said, everything felt polished, each flourishing attack landing with satisfying impact. Bodies and clothes would tear apart after a hard-fought battle, showcasing a cosmetic attention to detail I love to see in fighters.
The two characters confirmed thus far include Sophitia and Mitsurugi – iconic series veterans whose movesets felt surprisingly familiar outside of the intriguing new mechanics Soulcalibur 6 has introduced. Sophitia was an immediate favourite of mine, proving fast and punishing in her maneuverability and attacks without sacrificing the speed requiring to escape incoming attacks in the knick of time.
Mitsurugi, on the other hand, is a far more brutish and heavy-handed warrior, although he’s still capable of jumping you without warning. The duo are a great example of how diverse the cast of characters might be, and considering the vast select screen, I’m expecting plenty of variety. Sadly, there weren’t any hints regarding potential cameo appearances. In the past we’ve seen the likes of Link, Spawn and Darth Vader, giving 6 a prestigious legacy to live up to.
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Bandai Namco have created a gorgeous visual feast here, with sharp player models and striking environments that bring previously archaic stage design into the modern era. Familiar stages have been remastered with exceptional flair although feel a bit empty at this point. There’s little destructibility despite how vast they both feel. You’re instead left prancing around a large battlefield carefully avoiding edges that might result in a fatal ring-out elimination. I’d love to see them adopt multiple layers like the upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ, or blast them into completely different level altogether.
There’s further possibility for customisation options that are hinted at in this early build with a few colour variations, but I hope they’re expanded as Bandai Namco reveals more about its premiere fighter. Tools like the character creator and similar user-friendly features gained a large following in past titles, and seeing these shared online with other players at the press of a button would be wonderful. Bandai Namco’s Tekken 7 showed how addictive such systems can be, and they seem like a perfect fit for Soulcalibur 6.
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The modes to be expected in Soulcalibur 6 remain a mystery as I was only able to try out a simple versus mode against another player. Despite its limited scope, I found myself quickly learning the ropes and sharpening my competitive edge by learning new combos and how to take advantage of the Edge System, one of this instalment’s defining features.
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This mechanic comes in two forms – Reversal and Critical – with each ability having the power to turn the tide of battle if you’re lucky enough. Reversal is the most innovative, imbuing each skirmish with a sense of chance befitting of all skill types. By pressing the shoulder button you’ll slow the action down and have the option to block, dodge or attack in a horizontal or vertical fashion. Depending on your opponent’s choice, you may deal massive damage or be blown back yourself. It’s essentially rock-paper-scissors with an added dose of violence.
It can’t be spammed infinitely, with each player in possession of a gauge that charges as you deal and take punishment. Once it’s filled a Critical Edge can be unleashed; a brutal finisher that can obliterate the opposition. Sophitia’s and Mitsurugi’s are spectacular, relishing in the game’s fantasy elements as they fire beams of fluorescent fire and lightning. Sadly the animations can occur very often, and having to watch them over and over becomes pretty repetitive. I hope there’s a little more depth in the full experience.
The Edge System appears to make Soulcalibur 6 more approachable than its contemporaries by giving newcomers a chance to comeback from defeat with a mechanic that could fall in anyone’s favour. It’s all a matter of what you pick, which is a possible detriment to those with a love for fighters that prioritise skill above all else. Personally, I prefer the direction Bandai Namco is taking with this entry. It’s maintaining an elegant balance that, hopefully, won’t alienate any fans at all. Best of both worlds, as Hannah Montana would say.
However, it’s far too early to tell how it will develop across a complete cast of characters. Different fighting styles may be subject to special counters that could see the system adopt additional layers of complexity. At the moment, it’s trivial to grasp yet hard to master. Once all of the available modes emerge for Soulcalibur 6 we’ll have a much better idea of how reversals and finishers will work in the wider paradigm.
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Soulcalibur 6 has laid the foundations for a series revival I’m excited to see come to fruition. While I’ve only had a taster of its roster, mechanics and stages, there’s the same solidified confidence here that made the likes of Tekken 7 such a joy to play.
The Edge System is a welcome introduction that changes how the entire experience works for veterans and players in their fighting infancy. It certainly needs some refinements, but Soulcalibur 6 is one to watch out for in 2018.
Soulcalibur 6 release date – when is it coming out?
Soulcalibur 6 is set to launch worldwide in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. A specific release date is yet to be announced.
Soul Calibur 6 trailer – how does it look?
Recent events such as The Game Awards and PlayStation Experience have seen plenty of footage emerge for Soulcalibur 6. We’ve compiled the essential bits below:
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