As a shameless button-masher, I’m so happy to see this series return, and with its latest iteration – Soulcalibur 6 – landing on PC for the first time ever. Bandai Namco’s other long-running fighting series that isn’t Tekken, Soulcalibur is about swords (and other melee weapons), ring outs and regular moves that can do enormous damage. This one debuts with a respectable 19 returning fighters, two newcomers and (as guest character) everyone’s favourite grouchy monster-botherer Geralt joining the party in a thematically fitting crossover. Below, the launch trailer.
While other fighters are packed to the gills with esoteric systems and combo mechanics, Soulcalibur has always just made instinctive sense to me. Simple digital movement and four buttons – Vertical, Horizontal and Kick attacks plus Guard – and that’s all you need to know. Tap forward and vertical for a lunging stab in most cases, or back and horizontal for a wide retreating slash. While others spend weeks memorising enormous Dragon Ball FighterZ combo strings, I mastered the sword. Okay, I’m still rubbish at Soulcalibur, but better than at most fighting games.
Soulcalibur 6’s cast is mostly taken from the first two games, plus a couple fresh faces. Among the newbies are Grøh (an anime cliche elemental), Azwel (a sword-summoning wizard) and the eternally grumpy Geralt of Rivia. He’s introduced as part of a secondary story mode, where characters throughout time and space have been pulled into Soulcalibur’s world through magic portals, and we all know how Geralt feels about those – he feels a good fit for the game. There’s a character creator too, which Brendy has been using to create horny lizards, for science.
There is a season pass for Soulcalibur 6, but it looks to be a remarkably slight package. Just four characters (one confirmed as returning hula-hoop murderer Tira), plus a skip-full of dress-up items to either mangle the existing character designs, or create your own abominations. Unless you plan on making Tira your one and only match-winner, I reckon you’d be best sticking to the regular edition of the game until the expansion drops in price.