Game Review

Souls Still Burn: Soulcalibur VI Review

Souls Still Burn: Soulcalibur VI Review

Fighting Engine

Much of the staple aspects of Soulcalibur’s fighting engine fall in line with how the series has progressed over the years. Characters are aligned on a 3D stage, fighting mostly on a perceived 2D plane. Characters can shift around that plane with 8-directional movement, allowing them to side-step attacks as well as fully explore the 3D stage. Stages vary in appearance and core setup, ranging from stages that are fully surrounded by walls, partial coverage of walls, or no walls at all. Rounds are won by KO, ring-out, or having the most health at the end of round time.

Soulcalibur VI also sticks with their traditional 4-button system of A,B,K, and G. Horizontal Attacks (A) swipe at one height and are intended to catch opponents that are trying to step around you. They can be blocked or dodged by ducking or jumping, depending on the height of the attack. Vertical Attacks (B) swipe from the top-down or vice-versa, intending to catch jumping or crouching opponents. They can be blocked or dodged by side-stepping using the 8-directional movement. Kick attacks (K) are “faster” melee attacks that can have vertical or horizontal aspects, depending on attack styles specific to each character. Then of course you have guard (G), which can be used to block either high or low attacks.

As you would imagine, there is more to this rock-paper-scissors mold here. Characters can use grabs/throws or low attacks to override high blocking opponents. Grabs/Throws can be nullified if reacted upon early enough in the animation. Mid-level attacks override and open up crouched blocking fighters. Guard Impacts are parries that stagger attackers if timed correctly. However, if a Guard Impact gesture misses, it is the attempter of the Guard Impact that is left open. There are also unblockable attacks that glow bright orange, take long to wind up, but deal high damage. Those attacks can either be interrupted by other attacks or simply avoided altogether.

Also returning is the Critical Edge. Critical Edge is Soulcalibur’s very own “super”, where each character performs an exaggerated animation before attempting to land a single it. Should that attack connect with an unblocking opponent, the opponent is automatically punished in a flurry of stylish and brutal attacks, leading to heavy damage. You can also perform Soul Charges, which amps up your character, unlocking new attack possibilities as well as more powerful versions of attacks.

The new element to Soulcalibur VI’s fighting engine comes in the form of the Reversal Edge.

Reversal Edge is a technique used to start a slow motion cinematic event where each fighter has to commit to a move as they try to predict their opponent’s attack. Reversal Edge starts off blocking high attacks, automatically answering with a quick counter. Should the counter connect, a slow motion cinematic event begins where each player can choose to answer with A, B, or K attacks. During the sequence, Vertical (B) beats horizontal (A), Horizontal (A) beats kick (K), and kick (K) beats vertical (B). Think of it as a glorified yet slightly more complicated Rock-Paper-Scissor sequence. Engaged combatants can also opt to cancel out of the sequence by either side-stepping or back-stepping. The initiating Reversal Edge action could also be broken with specific attacks, such as ones that are low or guard breaking, offering more options against fighters that choose to lean on this mechanic.

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