SoulCalibur V Preview
Seems like the soul still burns with this latest installment in the Soul series.
It’s been four years since the last SoulCalibur was released and a lot has changed. The fighting genre has seen a revival and the market is a lot more crowded than before. So when the sixth installment was announced in May 2011, fans of the series knew that business as usual would no longer be enough. The new SoulCalibur V would have to make substantial changes in order to differentiate itself from the other big titles in the fighting genre as well as evolve from its previous iterations in the series.
The introduction of Critical Edge and Brave Edge moves addresses this. The Critical Finishers from SoulCalibur IV have been removed as well as the armor meter-related Soul Gauge, although armor remains destructible. Instead, these new moves make use of a new Critical Gauge. The meter can be charged by successful hits, as well as being hit. Two full meters can be saved and each meter is divided into thirds. Critical Edge moves require one full meter while Brave Edge moves require a third.
Critical Edges resemble super attacks from titles like King of Fighters and Street Fighter. They vary in style from Natsu’s ground emitting projectiles to Astaroth’s drill grab. Brave Edges are similar to Mortal Kombat’s EX special that allow some moves to be more powerful than normal. The number of hits can be increased or the move could place the opponent in a stunned state. It’s possible to combo two Brave Edges together, as well as a Critical Edge move which can result in a combo dealing over 50% damage.
The guard impact feature from previous titles has been altered. Instead of pushing forward or down and guard to counter a high or low attack, the move is now done by pressing back and horizontal slash, vertical slash and kick together and will counter both high and low attacks. Parries have been removed completely. Also, guard impacts will require a third of the Critical Gauge, preventing a back and forth of counters in matches.
Substituting the guard impact feature is the newly revised Just Guard technique. Using guard at the precise moment will be considered a “perfect” guard, you’ll flash blue and the delay between guarding and attacking will be drastically shortened, giving you an opportunity to counterattack. Another new defensive maneuver is the new sidestep mechanic that allows you to immediately move around your opponent by quickly double tapping up or down; a great way to evade attacks.
All these new features have made the combat much more varied. Gameplay shown up to this point shows that matches still retain the fast action and button mashing of previous games, but the changes have added variety and depth to the combat as some resource management is now a part of fights. The complexity of individual fighters through their respective move lists is still present but the tweaks to the defensive mechanics as well as the new moves add flair to an already grandiose series.
The graphics have been vastly improved and this is the best these characters have ever looked. Levels have been given more detail and layers, literally. Ring Outs now add another level to certain stages, as knocking an opponent from the ring will result in both characters falling down into a new arena. Characters on a losing streak will also receive a full meter on their Critical Gauge on their last round with no rounds won.
30 characters have been confirmed but only 27 have been revealed so far. Series favorites Siegfried, Cervantes, Ivy, Maxi, Mitsurugi, Voldo, Astaroth, Tira and Raphael have been confirmed. Hilde and Algol will return from SoulCalibur IV as well and Nightmare, Yoshimitsu, and Lizardman return as new versions of those characters (with Lizardman returning as Aeon and with new dual hand axes). Edge Master is also returning from the original SoulCalibur.
A whopping ten new characters are being introduced as the next generation in the series. Patroklos and Pyrrha are series staple Sophitia’s son and daughter respectively and play similarly to her. Leixia, Xibia and Natsu, who play like Xianghua, Kilik and Taki respectively, are those characters’s daughter, successor, and apprentice. Z.W.E.I. and Viola serve as members of Siegfried’s reformed band of thieves. There are also alternate forms of Patroklos and Pyrrha, as well as an unknown character named Elysium.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze from the Assassin’s Creed series will serve as the guest character in this entry. He controls similarly to Hilde and Link from SoulCalibur II in that he has a short and long weapon and makes use of projectiles. DamPierre from the PSP game Broken Destiny will be available to those who pre-order the game. Finally, an internet leak revealed a screenshot of Kilik and another character. He has yet to be confirmed though by Project Soul or Namco Bandai.
Several modes of play are known to be included in the game. Arcade mode is expected to return but the main single player mode is the new Story mode. Story mode has been completely redone to resemble a more theatrical presentation, complete with cut scenes, storyboards and an overarching plot. The game will take place 17 years after SoulCalibur IV. Players will play as Patroklos, who is this title’s main protagonist, who will fight soldiers and minions as he pursues Soul Edge.
A quick play mode is known to be included and will also feature a non-playable character based on Tekken series director Katsuhiro Harada. An unknown mode known as Legendary Souls has been spotted but little is known about it. Online play will now feature a feature similar to Street Fighter IV. Over 400 online titles can now be chosen from and they include titles like “Nervous as Hell” and “No Talking”.
Character Creation returns in SoulCalibur V and it’s better than ever. Player can alter their character’s height, body parts and facial effects in different ways. Everything, including weapons, clothing, voices, and various special objects (horns, tattoos, etc), can be changed in color, given different patterns and decals, and customized and manipulated in many various ways.
Players will also be able to choose from the original character’s fighting styles as well as the fighting style Katsuhiro Harada uses, which is based on Devil Jin from the Tekken series. No word yet if custom fighting styles that are not based on an existing character are available but at least the Devil Jin style is confirmed. All of these features will also be available for customizing the standard characters as well. Have horns growing out of your character’s back or a flower print on your character’s sword!
SoulCalibur V is looking to be yet another solid entry in the series and the changes made to the gameplay as well as the attention being paid to the story shows that this could be the first major evolution in the series in quite some time. January 31st can’t come soon enough. Be sure to check PixlBit for our upcoming review.