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Tuesday
May222018

Hands-on Impressions of Soul Calibur 6 from Battle Arena Melbourne 10

Dear diary, I had the chance to play Battle Arena Melbourne 10 and I’m jotting down random streams of thoughts I was having while I was checking out Soul Calibur VI. Quick formalities for anyone interested in reading them; this was an early build of the game, things may change down the line, this isn’t Aris writing this, I didn’t record any footage and no I didn’t check frame data cause that’s boring. With that said, feel free to read on.

 

▌SoulCalibur VI Impressions (May 2018)
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Build

It was the EVO Japan build so 6 characters were available to play; Mitsurugi, Sophitia, Groh, Nightmare, Xianghua & Kilik with only 2 stages.

General

The movement being a lot faster is the most immediate observation with this game. Your character starts moving faster compared to the older Soul Calibur games and you can easily close the distance with the opponent by holding forward to run at them. The quick burst of speed made it harder to anticipate and react to anything, especially if you were just chilling at a certain range waiting for a whiff. It makes you have play a bit more proactive if you’re on the defensive I feel.

The old SCV quick stepping is out but since you can move around faster in general, you can just as easily get around attacks. I’ve had instances of a few vertical attacks whiff for being a tiny bit off axis from the opponent with a fast sidestep. There were a few small instances of vertical attacks like Nightmare’s 66B clipping me really late into the side walking but apart from those things, I didn’t feel like it was very difficult to get around attacks in general.

The other thing to note is attacks themselves. It’s been awhile since I played SCV but I don’t remember the attack input/buffer window being as big as it is in SCVI. I know Tekken 7 did the same thing compared to Tag 2 but it looks like maybe they’re doing it here also? (Someone get Noodalls on the line.) You have to slightly alter attack timing if you tend to mash buttons in certain situations and it makes every button press feel like a deep commitment.

Guard Impacts are back without having to spend meter and they are even better as they now parry attacks of all hit levels, throws and even Critical Edges. The parry window for a guard impact feels bigger too so you'll find yourself in the post GI mind game really often.

On the stages themselves, the ones shown so far look beautiful when running on the high-spec PC build. We’ve seen a few stages and they look fairly big in size but Ring Outs were still a notable factor in many of the games played thanks to the movement. If the rest of the stages in the game show the same level of quality and detail with some variety, it'll make for some perfect stages of history.

Reversal Edge

I hated this thing before I got to play the game and for the most part I still do. The flashy presentation of the Reversal Edges themselves try to look cool but by the 2nd or 3rd times I had to sit there and watch the animation, it got old really fast. They really disrupt the momentum of a match because during ‘your turn’ when attacking, your attack gets absorbed and you’re stuck in this long wager cinematic and potentially more if you clash and trigger the 2nd phase.

The more known options in Reversal Edges are the attack buttons but you can also decide to either guard, step, backdash, or even dash forward (that beats Horizontals for instance) to also handle the clash. So it’s not like you are completely in the realm of being 100% random’d out when you get put into this situation, you just have to be a bit more aware of what options in particular to go for. It takes a while to get familiar with everything and that’s not considering all the character specific Reversal Edge options that some characters have like being able to combo a Critical Edge after winning the Rock Paper Scissor. Losing the guess on a Reversal Edge to have your guard busted and then Critical Edged is not fun. :(

The other aspect of the Reversal Edges is the defensive tool of having an armoured attack that automatically parries attacks for you and this on its own is something I don’t mind that much, even if you yolo abare it like a degenerate. Some attacks or strings in this game can be hard to punish so deciding to just armour through it and earn a chunk of meter for doing it is helpful in activating Soul Charge mode or Critical Edges often.

You can use break attacks (attacks with shiny blue lighting) to beat Reversal Edges but seeing as most of the immediate break attacks tend to be slow on the start-up side (leave these for the Guard Impacts), you’re better off just side stepping and launching the linear Reversal Edge attack. You can also interrupt the Reversal Edge attempt if you happen to attack in the small window of the opponent letting the Reversal Edge rip before it actually hits you if you get lucky enough. The input window for the Reversal Edge clash is also pretty big I should mention, I was using a basic 3 hit A, A, A attack and the Reversal Edge hit me in between the 2nd and 3rd hit but I still pushed the 3rd A and later went to use a B instead in the RPS part but it used the A option which I pushed a lot earlier instead.

I can’t really say yet if the mechanic itself is worth using or not when you consider the risks and everything but personally speaking, I find the entire mechanic itself really cumbersome. I’d prefer to just keep the basic Reversal Edge attacks with the armour but remove the RPS mini game that’s attached to it. I hope the guy who has to program the game’s tutorial mode has fun working on the Reversal Edge section cause that probably is going to be a mile long or take forever. This section is probably already the longest on this page.

Soul Gauge (meter)

Meter builds really slowly in this game I notice. You can build it a lot faster by going for Reversal Edges and winning the RPS clash but otherwise, attacking and playing the match ‘normally’ takes a while to fill a single bar. When you do get it though, you can decide to either use it on a Critical Edge super or pop a Soul Charge for a period of time. The super is like Tekken 7 as a 1 button super but they can be stuffed early in its activation and also guard impacted which is funny to see. The Soul Charge functions first as a 'get off me' button that then, in some unique form buffs your character. I found myself using Soul Charge more often as there is a lot of really explosive stuff with pressure you can do with it. You gain new tools to use, extensions to some regular attacks, more positive property changes and dear lord does the damage ramp up. The longer people explore with Soul Charge the more dangerous it is going to deal with I feel.

You also happen to randomly get a bar of meter for being down some rounds this time again. They really love the idea of forcing the comeback don’t they? 

Characters

Mitsurugi: Run up and 1KB is still annoying so I hate Mitsurugi players already. It gets an extension in Soul Charge mode which is just lovely. Mitsurugi in Soul Charge is pretty wild to deal with because the mix-ups from there can really snowball hard on you. Stuff like Soul Charge 3BB mids, 22_88 B becoming a launcher, 1KBB low NC knockdown and more. 1A not knocking down is weird. New 1BB floor stab into the tackle seems decent but the range on it is so short that it is hard to hit an opponent that's dancing around. 

Groh: Cringe dialogue. When I first heard he was going to have a stance where he separates his sword, I thought it would be a bit more involved in terms of what he can do from it. Turns out Groh's Innocent Draw stance leaves him stationery in a pose with only like 4 moves from it. You can manually enter the stance with B+K and by holding forward after certain moves.

His movelist however doesn't seem to be particularly lacking in anything with plenty of moves to catch steppers, evasive stuff that crouchs or jumps and even a Lethal Hit Auto GI. Most of his stuff are wide sweeping and I suspect have a bit of 'phantom range' since I keep getting clipped right at the tip of things when stuff looks like they whiffed. In Soul Charge mode he gets teleports off the stance which can phase through attacks or add extensions like his 3B into a teleporting downward spiking attack and his 1AK becomes a NC low into attack throw that rings out behind him.

Nightmare: This cheater gets to access Soul Charge mode (Terror Charge) without actually having the meter to activate it. Moves like 6A+B or 2A+B not only give him meter but trigger Terror Charge making Nightmare a lot more dangerous since he gets access to a multi hit 6B drill, heavy guard stun and big combo damage off 66K and even a beefy low punish into combo with his while rising K. You can end most of his combos with a Terror Charge activation too. I believe he gets a few more flashy Terror Charge moves in some of his stances but I forgot the inputs. I know he at least gets his Night Lower Stance 6B in Soul Charge. Of all the characters in the build, he was the most fun to use this time around and I'm not so much a Nightmare player.

Xianghua: Don't play her much but it seems she is more evasive this time around with a low profile stance thing. I forgot the input but that move where she side walks and twirls the blade is safe on block and annoying.

Kilik: A few of his moves got input changes but it's not too hard to get acclimated to them in a short time. Once again, his Soul Charge is the most notable of note because of getting a free Critical Edge super which he can combo from certain situations like guessing correctly off a Reversal Edge. His life slowly chips away up to a certain point during Soul Charge so playing run-away and letting Kilik kill himself is valid. Up until he starts throwing a bunch of crazy stuff that is with some moves turning into guard breaks, new moves that are super plus on block like 66A+B and a lot more I'm currently forgetting.

Sophitia: Project Soul putting a lot of love and care to the little details in the character's appearance and their clothes falling off I see. Those pervert YouTube channels that pose fighting game characters to grapple each other in certain camera angles are going to love this game. Mods on PC are probably going to be wild too. (Sorry if you expected expert character analysis here lol.)

Bugs

Not even sure if anything here is even worth mentioning honestly. There were periodic slowdowns on the PC builds when the camera would angle itself with a wide view of a lot of the stage. Character animations in certain attack throws like Nightmare's 4KK would glitch out if the opponent had been attacked from behind causing the throw to glitch and leave them floating. A Groh player landed his Critical Edge on me on the Shrine of Eurydice stage with his back to the corner but the part of the animation that is supposed to teleport both players closer to the stage during it glitched out and he managed to teleport outside the stage ringing himself out. Okubo-san bless.

Overall

With everything said, I enjoyed my time with Soul Calibur 6 and it left me wanting for more characters and stages to play around with when it came time to pack up the set-ups. I'm pretty much already sold on the game and am waiting on when they eventually get the Steam store page for it up. Cervantes and Raphael would be nice to see too.

I can't particularly recommend a particular Soul Calibur game that 6 feels most similar to since it is pretty new but so far it is shaping up to be a solid foundation that cherry picks some of the better elements of some of the previous games. There's still some stuff that I'd prefer they'd leave behind (SC5 yay) but I can learn to live with them. If you happen to be a Tekken player, you'll find Soul Calibur to be a much easier game to get into and is not as steep with the difficulty curve in terms of learning and getting good at playing it.

If I had to comment on something that I doubt, it wouldn't be the game itself which I'm happy with right now, it would be in terms of how the game eventually handles after it comes out. If you've seen how Bandai Namco handles their other fighting games post-launch, you'll tend to see that they leave a lot to be desired. Previous games in both Soul Calibur & Tekken series (if they weren't ditched outright) have a habit of not having enough content or things to do unless your the type of guy that grinds online ranked all day. And even if you were, sometimes the online is broken at launch or in an update or the matchmaking and leader-boards end up messed up with cheaters & raqe quitters frequently floating around. Bandai Namco barely communicates with the community also leaving us in the dark most of the time. The worst I've seen is them incorrectly translating their own balance patch notes. I hope things like that turn around for Soul Calibur 6 because it's been so long since the last one. It's nice to be able to play Soul Calibur again and I hope it sticks around for a while.

Soul Calibur 6 is currently slated to launch later this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One & PC via Steam.

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Reader Comments (1)

"I hope the guy who has to program the game’s tutorial mode has fun working on the Reversal Edge section cause that probably is going to be a mile long or take forever."
Turns out RE is actually the tutorial for the game. Devs have stated already the whole purpose of RE is to teach scrubs how to play. There wont be a tut in sc6 because they claimed "nobody would use it"

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 5:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterseki d

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