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Soul Calibur VI's first new character is unbelievably anime

groh

I’m not good at most fighting games. I can hold out in the bottom 20% of players in any given Street Fighter, but it’s not my scene. Soul Calibur is different, though; intuitive and weighty enough to play decently on instinct and reflex alone, without needing to remember complex input chains.

As such, I’m happy that Bandai Namco’s continued commitment to the PC extends as far as bringing the next game in the series to our humble platform, although new character Grøh may lead to some rolled eyes, as you can see in the new gameplay trailer within.

It’s almost as if they picked out Edgy Anime Antihero character design traits from a hat, then decided to just use them all. Eyepatch hiding mysterious and spooky powers? Check. X-shaped scars that also glow? Yeah. Segmented pointy armor? Yep. Colour-changing hair highlights? Yep. Even his weapon – a pair of mismatched swords that connect in the middle, Darth Maul style – feels like it’s trying a little too hard.

I can’t help but want to play as him. In a game where the majority of characters (Ivy and Voldo excluded) feel like some restraint was shown in their design, this guy stands out. The trailer also features a few returning favorites, including former end-boss Nightmare, who looks just as big and stompy as ever, and a little more over-the-top too, perhaps to keep up with Grøh. He also seems to have picked up a swooshy tattered cape, perhaps channeling a little more Berserk than usual?

Chinese Wushu swordswoman Xianghua is also coming back. Looking wildly restrained in comparison to the previous two would-be (soul) edgelords, although her moves look to be a accompanied by a few more special effects than I remember. Pole-swinging monk Kilik looks even more vanilla, with his moves looking almost unchanged from the very earliest days of the series. Utilitarian, effective and not wildly flashy, up until the end of the trailer. I guess Grøh’s leaking his Anime angst everywhere.

Bandai Namco haven’t pinned down a clear release date for Soul Calibur VI yet, but given that it was only unveiled back in December, it’s safe to assume that we won’t be seeing this one until summer at the very least.

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Dominic Tarason

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