Review – Soul Calibur VI

I can safely say the Soul Calibur series has always been my favorite fighting game franchise. Between the fantastic production values, great gameplay, and awesome guest fighters, the series has always been staple of the genre. I was thrilled when Soul Calibur VI was first announced in lasy year. I got to play the game at E3 2018, and despite noticing the visuals weren’t as improved as I expected them to be, I got excited with the prospects of playing as Geralt of Rivia in a brand new iteration of the franchise. Fast forward to October, and Soul Calibur VI is finally out. It’s as great as expected, but I there’s no hiding some of technical issues and design choices.


Igni baby, Igni.

The first thing I noticed when I started playing Soul Calibur VI is that its presentation was quite subpar when compared to older titles in the franchise. Remember Soul Calibur II‘s jaw-dropping FMV intro, followed by an epic echoed narrator shouting, “SOOOOUL CALIBUUUUR!” like the Mandarin says, “You’ll never see me coming.” in Iron Man 3? Well, you don’t get it again. The narrator is much less enthusiastic than in other versions. The soundtrack is good but far from epic as it used to be and the voice acting is hit-or-miss, although Geralt’s voice actor does a phenomenal job as always. The visuals are good, but not great. Soul Calibur has always been a hardware-defying series, but the sixth game in the series isn’t a looker like other polygonal fighting games from this generation, namely Mortal Kombat X.

I’ve noticed that the base Xbox One version is the least polished of them all. Aside from the not-so-impressive visuals, I’ve detected some occasional but annoying framerate hiccups, as well as unbelievably long loading times, sometimes almost reaching an entire minute. Those issues aren’t present in the PC and PS4 versions however, and I can only assume the Xbox One X version doesn’t suffer from those technical hindrances.


Geralt, Maxi and a bunch of ugly-looking dirt.

One thing I liked about Soul Calibur VI is the amount of content dedicated to solo gameplay. There are two story modes, one is fully voiced and the other one (Libra of Souls) is best described as a reboot of the classic Weapon Master mode. This time around it focuses around a brand new custom character you have to create. While I completely ignored Libra of Souls’ filler-heavy story, I appreciated its length and the rewards from progressing through it, namely a ton of cash to spend on the Museum mode.

The other modes feel underwhelming in comparison. Remember all of the modes included in other Soul Calibur games? Extra Arcade, Time Attack, Survival? None of those were included. There’s a versus mode and a very light arcade mode. Fight against a handful of characters, then fight against Nightmare, and that’s about it. No ending cinematics, no fight against Inferno. Beat some foes, get some in-game cash, and get passed back to the main menu.


The Libra of Souls mode is basically Weapon Master with 500% more filler.

Thankfully, while those are some annoying flaws, Soul Calibur VI is still fantastic where it matters the most: the gameplay. The series has always been known for an easy to learn, but hard to master combat system, and it’s mostly the same this time around. It might be weird to think that the gameplay from this 2018 Soul Calibur game isn’t very different from the original 1999 Dreamcast title, but that just goes to show how perfectly ahead of its time that game’s fighting mechanics were. Playing as Raphael (my main) felt as fluid and borderline OP as it used to be back when I was playing Soul Calibur II on my Gamecube in 4th grade. The main new addition this time around is the Reversal Edge mechanic, a brand new (and flashy) way to block oncoming enemy strikes while also attacking them at the same time.

The gameplay is great and the online multiplayer is solid and glitch-free for the most part. But there’s one other mode in Soul Calibur VI that steals the show: character creation. Remember how much I praised Tekken 7‘s edit mode last year?  This editor mode makes Tekken’s look shallow. Despite the fact you can only use existing fighting styles from the main characters in the game’s roster, the level of customization this editor has is staggering. I’ve managed to create characters like Ciri, Deadpool, One Punch Man‘s Saitama, Darth Maul, Pickle Rick and many more with ease. Even better, you can use those characters while fighting online. My first online fight in Soul Calibur VI was Bruce Lee against Fire Emblem‘s Marth.


Some of my creations. I’m nearing 50 already.

I’m not going to lie, the Xbox One version of Soul Calibur VI feels very unpolished in some technical aspects, but the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. The amount of fun I’ve had with the character creation mode easily outshine visual hiccups, long load times and the underwhelming number of fighters and modes. Soul Calibur VI might not be the best Soul Calibur game ever released, but it’s yet another damn good fighting game by Bandai Namco.


Graphics: 7.5

The framerate is fast and steady for the most part, but character models and environments lack in the level texture detail I’d expect.

Gameplay: 9.5

Very occasional input delays. The gameplay is borderline perfect otherwise, maintaining the series’ staple “easy to learn, hard to master” combat system.

Sound: 7.5

While the soundtrack and voice acting are clearly better than a lot of games out there, they’re underwhelming when compared to older Soul Calibur titles.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Soul Calibur VI’s roster size is disappointing, but the game makes up for it with an amazing character creation mode and the series’ excellent gameplay.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Reviewed on Xbox One.
Soul Calibur VI is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.