When you pull up a list of the best games ever (as determined by critics) on MetaCritic or GameRankings, you’ll notice that Soulcalibur for the Dreamcast almost always inhabits one of the top 10 spots. Since then, the franchise has reveled in attention grabbing stunts like including a Link in the Gamecube version of the second game, or Star Wars stalwarts Yoda and Darth Vader in the fourth game. But the following games in the series has never quite captured the magic of the original. Finally, after six long years, Soulcalibur VI makes the series feel like it’s found it’s footing again.
Story is never a huge selling point for me in fighting games and I’d wager it wouldn’t matter to most players here either, but rather fittingly Soulcalibur VI takes place in the early days of the series, a reboot of sorts. A 16th century adventure, the game takes you through the battle between good and evil that was told in the original game but weaves in newer character of the franchise too. The story is interesting as a concept, but it’s never been one of the reasons why I fell in love with the series.Barring Netherrealm Studios’ output, fighting games have always struggled to maintain the interest of the solo player. Soulcalibur VI comes with three dedicated modes for solo players: Libra of Soul, Chronicle of Souls and the typical Arcade mode. Arcade is self-explanatory, but it’s the other two modes that are most interesting and easily the biggest drawcard for those wanting to get some action by themselves.
Chronicles of Souls works similarly to Street Fighter V’s single player content, offering an overarching story to play through as well as individual character vignettes too. Each of these is presented with some nicely illustrated artwork and voiced dialogue, though does come across as being ultimately rather cheap. Some characters don’t even have battles on their paths, instead just showing you a few scenes before declaring their path finished and awarding you completion rewards. Regardless, it’s a nice touch to include a “main” story path but still give attention to every character in the game, including Geralt.Libra of Soul is arguably the main attraction here. In it, you’ll create your own character who will then travel the globe competing in battles with various modifiers active, levelling up yourself and your weapons as you finish missions. You’ll defeat other character and recruit them onto your team, collect items to buff yourself in especially hard missions as well as level up to improve your stats as well as your weapons. It’s a bizarrely in-depth RPG mode that’ll keep you playing for hours upon hours, though it’s lighter on story than Chronicles of Souls is.