The last game in the Soulcaliber series was met with lukewarm reception from fans in the fighting game community. Released back in 2012, Soulcaliber V felt stiff and a step backwards for the franchise. Fast-forward to the present day and the next iteration in the franchise is set to make its debut, this time harkening back to the second and third entries that made Soulcaliber so noteworthy for so many to begin with.
Right off the bat, players will feel like the controls for the game have been optimized in such a way that movements onscreen flow correctly and are responsive. The moveset that series veterans have ingrained in their memories has been preserved, but with some slight additions thrown in the mix, most notably in the form of a Critical Edge move. This can only performed once you accumulate enough meter against an enemy. Other new additions include critical reversal move, which can move your character out of the way if he or she is in a pinch, and throw and break attacks. As in prior entries, you can also parry in Soulcaliber VI, making this iteration a bit more strategic than its predecessor.
Presentation-wise, the game truly ushers the franchise into the modern generation of consoles, with textures and environments popping off the screen and fabric moving with every step. Everything feels organic as it should, though it is worth pointing out that only two stages were able to be tried out at PAX East 2018. These two levels definitely alluded to what the game's narrative will be, as its developers have already stated that Soulcaliber will be returning to the 16th century in order to uncover "hidden truths" left behind past entries. What these "truths" can be is anyone's guess, as there were no story elements on display at PAX East this year.
Though its hard to judge the game on just a handful of characters and two stages in a demo, Soulcaliber VI definitely has the fundamentals it needs from a gameplay perspective to help usher it into today's fighting game scene. Only time will tell whether it will be worthy enough to be featured in the next EVO, though hopefully the game's final roster – of which Geralt will be a part of – offers a wide enough variety for dedicated fighting game fans to enjoy and compete with.