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SoulCalibur VI

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Release Date: Oct. 19, 2018

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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'SoulCalibur VI'

by Andreas Salmen on Aug. 24, 2018 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Following the 20th anniversary of the SoulCalibur franchise, the weapon based fighting game returns to its roots whilst bringing brand new gameplay features.

Pre-order SoulCalibur VI

Namco Bandai has a busy schedule for its fighting games this year. Most of it is based on anime or manga, with Dragon Ball, Jump Force and Naruto at the ready. One of the more anticipated titles, however, is SoulCalibur VI, which is being released in Oct. 2018. The game recently went gold, so Gamescom may be the last time we see SC6 before the finished game comes out.

It's been a while since the last iteration of SoulCalibur — six years, in fact — so SC6 is the series' debut on the current console generation. The reason for the delay may be due to an internal struggle about how to continue the franchise. What we saw in Cologne instills hope. SC6 wants to push the envelope while still focusing on its core strengths to offer an experience that will be worth the wait for fans of the series as well as newcomers.

SoulCalibur is one of the most known 3D fighting game brands, and it focuses on close combat weapons, such as axes, swords and similar tools with sharp edges. Fluid and flashy combos, a rock-paper-scissors combat system, and a varied roster including at least one guest character are what we can expect from every game in the franchise. The guest character this time around is Geralt of Rivia from CD Projekt Red's Witcher trilogy; he fights with two swords and a bit of sign magic thrown into the mix.

The biggest surprise for SC6 is the reveal of a second story mode, so to speak. Libra of Souls is an RPG-like fighting experience where we can create our own character with rather deep customization options, such as body proportions and custom texturing tools based on 16 races with different genders. Our creations can then be mirrored to the play styles of an existing character and weapon. An example shown to us during a presentation was an evil panda. Why not Zoidberg?

We then embark on our own story, which was shown in glimpses, but not in a hands-on manner, so we can only guess how well that mode may work in practice. Libra of Souls marries the SoulCalibur fighting gameplay with a text-based, choose-your-own-adventure game. We meet and talk to various different characters and can choose our path to align with good or evil. It's not an entirely new idea in video games, but it may be intriguing enough as an additional story mode in a fighting game. The map is littered with markers that can be explored and traveled to at the expense of resources earned in featured missions and side-quests. Of course, it also offers an overarching story that changes based on our choices.

Missions earn resources and can be tackled in different ways. It's possible to complete missions with mercenaries, such as other characters in the game or ones that have been created by the community. You still have to actually play them, though.  The online mode returns to basics; it's simple but functional, with public and private events and lobbies that support a max of eight people and feature one match and a spectator mode.

One new addition may be bittersweet. Fan favorite fighter Tira is back to join the roster if you're willing to pay , since she's the first DLC fighter for SC6.

SoulCalibur VI isn't far from release, so we'll have the final game in our hot little hands soon. We played a few offline matches with Geralt and can confirm that the smooth gameplay holds up. The visuals are crisp, and the action is still easy to learn and tough to master. The story modes are somewhat of an unknown quantity, but we'll have to wait and try them out ourselves when SC6 arrives on Oct. 19 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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