Playing Soulcalibur VI made me feel right at home


I just hope story mode delivers

I always like the idea of getting deep into fighting games, but my interest tends to wax and wane.

Sometimes, I’ll have delusions of grandeur, and get all fired up thinking I can stick with a single game for long enough to become competitive (and more importantly stay competitive) in online bouts. Other times, I’m perfectly content to sit on the sidelines and just watch the pros do their thing at Evo.

Soulcalibur II is one of my all-time favorites. It’s an absolute banger. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent working my through the Weapon Master adventure mode. And when my memory card fizzled out, I happily did it all again. The unlocks were nice, sure, but the journey was fun in and of itself.

I’ve slipped off the Soulcalibur series in recent years, but it’s been long enough that I’m itching to get back in with a vengeance. So far, Soulcalibur VI has seemed like a good point of reentry for folks like me. After playing several matches at E3, I can confirm that yes, yes it is. (And Nightmare is an SOB.)

I’ll echo what Moyse said during our first hands-on opportunity with Soulcalibur VI last year: accessibility is at the game’s forefront, something I appreciated at a rapid-fire expo like E3.

After a few rounds, I felt comfortable with the new Reversal Edge system, a slow-mo clash that, once activated, has players trying to predict their opponent’s move (whether it be offensive, defensive, or even a sidestep) and react accordingly. It’s been summed up as a Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic, but that’s just shorthand; it’s not quite so simple. That said, Reversal Edge can be a useful tool for less mechanically-skilled players. The inputs are easy, but you still have to read the situation.

On that note, Critical Edge moves were similarly intuitive to pull off. During my short time with Soulcalibur VI, I fumbled with the controls for maybe a round or two, and then it all started coming back to me. My fights against the AI quickly became a matter of making sure I was in the right place at the right time with the right counter rather than botched inputs holding me back. The game felt natural, which made for a good first impression. I even managed a cheeky ring out with newcomer Geralt.

The main question marks for me are going to be the final roster (I need my boy Voldo) and the story mode. If Bandai Namco can deliver on both fronts, I think lapsed fans will have reason enough to return.