Transcending history, and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold: Those iconic words instantly transport me back to when I first fired up the Soul Calibur game on my original PlayStation console all the way back in 1998. What made this series stand out from the Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken fighting games that I loved was the focus on using weapons which was refreshing and new. It has been several years since I last played a Soul Calibur game but 2018 has certainly been a year for Fighting Games coming back and so I was more then happy to jump back into the fight!
The moment Soul Calibur 6 was announced in late 2017 I was excited to see it making a return following the return of Street Fighter, Tekken and Mortal Kombat in recent years meant that all my favourite fighting series were returning to the spotlight which as a gamer who grew up with these iconic fighting games is something amazing. Soul Calibur was always a different game to play for me so was more than a little intrigued to see how this attempt at rebooting the series would play out. I have to say, I am rather happy with how this entry turned out.
The first instance of improvement easily comes with the visuals which are just gorgeous in Soul Calibur 6 which have clearly benefited from 2018 console power. This is especially true when you look at the amazing roster of characters who all look amazing like the original series characters in Sophitia, Zoldo and Yoshimitsu to the new to the series additions like Azwel. The roster was always one of my highlights to play this series with the unique looks the characters have even before you get to their fighting style and weapon. It also has some of the best concept art as well which you can find with a quick internet search as well which just emphasises the attention to detail that goes into the visuals here.
But it is not just cosmetically where this game is rather lovely to look at as the stages you fight on just look amazing even when you are busy focusing on the fighting. The fighting is again very pretty to watch as the animation flows so well for each fighter and even when the battle is fierce with so much going on, the animation remains smooth and fluid with no slow down which is something I had noticed can happen with Tekken 7 before updates cured that that. The audio and musical score help enhance everything visual as well and despite it being a good few years since playing the series, it all transported me right back to the days where I did so effortlessly which is exactly what I hope for when jumping into a rebooted series.
I was a little worried that I would be rusty at the gameplay having played so many different fighting games this year in Street Fighter V, Injustice 2 and Mortal Kombat X and Dragon Ball FighterZ but it only took a few rounds with new character Azwel to take to its four-button system once again. Fighting games do feel more natural with control simplicity, which I know may annoy those fed up with the button mashing style systems but this is a simple system that allows for real depth for expert players but easy enough to allow newcomers to pick up and play which also makes experimenting with different characters on the roster the focus instead of working out which button does what. With X and Y buttons handling the weapon attacks with vertical and horizonal, B to kick your opponent and A acting as the block button you have a system that you can build your experience on and refine your gameplay the more you play because the foundation is so pick up and play.
Now when it comes to fighting games I do expect more to them then just an online mode, having a classic arcade mode is a big deal for me because its how I became hooked to fighting games back in the past and have really enjoyed when that arcade mode evolved into a full on story mode for this recent generation of gaming and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the modes offered in Soul Calibur 6. Starting with a new story style mode in ‘Libra of Souls’. This mode requires the player to create their own character, fully customisation their appearance and selecting a fighting style from any character on the roster. This mode feels like its own Soul Calibur based mini-RPG game as you travel across the game world in order to level up your character and weapons to become stronger. You can even make dialogue choices and encounter other characters from the main game roster during this mode. It can be quite fun to spend some time in and makes a very different way of having a story in a fighting game as usually it is just revolving around cut-scenes and the player handling the fighting in order to progress further but to have this evolving the story mode even further and the fact it also has the traditional arcade mode to tell the story of the individual roster characters as well and you can really see that this was not just a cash in attempt on bringing the series back but a focused effort to reclaim its rightful position in the top portion of fighting games.
Bringing back old fighting games can be hit and miss and sometimes they have to be totally overhauled in order to compete in todays competitive market for fighting genre. Soul Calibur 6 managed to stay faithful to everything that made the series such a hit with fans but also refreshes so much such as the new Libra Souls game mode and being able to create your own customisable fighter to play in there and online against other players. It feels both familiar and new at the same time and even after a good number of years since I played this series, I was right back into it with character I know and a story I still find fun to be a part of.
Though some I had some issues with the online, updates have improved things and continue to do so making this a must have fighting game for any fan and especially now in the Christmas season with sales which will only make this even more attractive. The fighting game genre has really found momentum again and against the newest titles battling to make a name for themselves, Soul Calibur 6 does more than enough to make its own mark once again with classic gameplay and new modes. I honestly had not expected to be this excited to see how fighting games continue to evolve again but it is a delight to see the old classics are indeed timeless.