By Jef "JeffAlpha" P. on October 24, 2018
When I first applied to join the DumeeGamer team a year ago, I wrote an email explaining why I loved gaming so much. In that same email I talked about how I had been a young boy that desperately needed the (at that time) newly released Nintendo64. Upon reaching the toy store, I saw a Playstation running a fighting game called SoulBlade (the precursor to Soulcalibur), a console adaptation of an arcade game. Long story short, I was hypnotized by this game, went home with a Playstation instead of a N64 and never regretted my decision!
I would argue that SoulBlade is a great game, even by today's standards. Everything from the graphics, to the soundtracks, to the games mechanics; every part of the game was top of the line. Although the game was released over 20 years ago a lot of the fan-favorite characters are still present in the Soulcalibur series. One of my all-time favorite characters, a samurai named Mitsurugi still graces the cover of the game to this day. So, Soulcalibur 6, does the formula still work? Has the game improved over the years? And what guest character will they introduce this time? Let's have a look!
The first thing that struck me about this latest addition to the Soulcalibur series is that the developers have emphasized the Souldcalibur "lore", if you will. A genuine effort seems to have been made to walk the player trough timelines that were somewhat obscure in previous games. For those that are just interested in the actual combat, don't worry; skipping through dialogue is pretty easy. Like in other fighting games the main story is mostly a series of encounters between all the key players. Aside from the familiar roster of characters there is also the create a character feature. This feature is not new to the series, but still; it's always fun to tinker around with it. Of course, like many of its predecessors, Soulcalibur 6 game also has a guest star, and this time the developers opted for Geralt of Rivia, who some, if not most, of you will recognize from the Witcher series.
For those unfamiliar with the Soulcalibur series, a short explanation is in order. You see, Soulcalibur is somewhat different from other fighting games. For instance, characters use weapons and have armor. Their destructibility depends on which edition you play. This latest game does let you destroy armor but not weapons and this seems more of an esthetic feature than with previous games. Fortunately the ''mission mode'' still rewards you with a wide array of new weapons, if you are able to complete the objectives that is.For those unfamiliar with the Soulcalibur series, a short explanation is in order. You see, Soulcalibur is somewhat different from other fighting games. For instance, characters use weapons and have armor. Their destructibility depends on which edition you play. This latest game does let you destroy armor but not weapons and this seems more of an esthetic feature than with previous games. Fortunately the ''mission mode'' still rewards you with a wide array of new weapons, if you are able to complete the objectives that is.
The standard versus mode is great. The first time I played against friends we were all like: "No, just one more! I need a rematch! I won't give up on this character because he/she is so cool!!!" And then there is obviously the online feature, which I suck at. You would think I know how to play these games after 20+ years, but those damn kids nowadays are straight savages. Suffice to say that I had my behind handed to me on more than one occasion.
Let me tell you what makes the Soulcalibur series so freakin' awesome. Sure, there are other fighting games with weapon-based combat and yes Namco does make other famous fighting games that allow for 3D side stepping. But the way the controls feel, the way Soulcalibur plays, it feels fast but fair. It's easy to learn but hard to master. Instead of having a light/heavy attack layout, you either attack horizontally, vertically or with a kick. The block ability has its own designated button instead of the often used auto step back block. This allows absolutely anyone to up pick a controller and have a fighting chance. The feeling that your character does what you want it to do, gives you the confidence you need to demand a rematch. As some long time Soulcalibur players might already know, signature moves are sometimes reintroduces under different button combinations, so this might take some getting used to.
To me personally, the graphics look odd yet familiar. It has somewhat of a nostalgic feel, like it is supposed to look like an arcade game, and the same goes for the level design. It is unclear to me if this was done intentionally or if it was done for other purposes. In any case it looks bright, sharp and so far I haven't been able to spot any glitches or faulty camera angles. Characters move as smooth as ever, soul charge attacks look spectacular and the new slow-motion clashes are a lot of fun. Didn't catch how you lost that last round? Don't worry, the instant replay will sort you out.
Never played a Soulcalibur game? This might be the perfect time to pick up a copy! The characters might not have changed much, but the design is always on point and you are bound to fall in love with one of them. They cater to a wide variety of styles which always makes for fun action packed easy to jump into clashes between you and your friends.
October 19, 2018