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Game Review

If the SoulCalibur fighters lived in a real universe, they'd be getting a bit gray and maybe a little soft around the middle by now.

I mean, hey, after being slashed, bashed, impaled and crushed for some two decades now, you'd expect a little slowing down. A few canes mixed in with the pikes and swords, perhaps. Or at the very least, a slight limp or two.

Nope. These heavily muscled guys and gals are still looking young, fast, skilled and, well, better than ever, thanks to the latest wave of pumped-up game graphics in SoulCalibur VI.

But, what about the rest of the SC game content, you ask? Let's mash a button or two and find out, shall we?

A Certain Simplicity

The SoulCalibur franchise has always featured lots of swooping color, tons of cool martial-arts moves, bim-bash-boom sound effects and, of course, a certain simplicity about it all. And that has only improved here.

Like all fighting games, this one offers the opportunity for truly serious battlers to study and perfect intricate combos, feints and blocks. There's a practice ring and a compendium of move possibilities to aid those who've undertaken that move-mastering quest. But at its core, SoulCalibur VI remains a very accessible game, even for more casual players.

There are really only three attack buttons—a kick attack, a horizontal attack and a vertical attack—as well as a block button. That seems simple enough, right? The finesse comes in how you use that simplicity, such as knowing when to lash out at a dodging opponent, when to push him out of the ring, or when to wait for her to come charging at you.

For example, just moving toward a furiously fighting foe and hitting your block button at the same time will let you break an attack and slip in a sword slash of your own. Then there's a new system in place for noobs called the "Reversal Edge." This single-button-activated move will parry all incoming blows and initiate a cinematic sequence of events that plays out something like a rock-paper-scissors guessing game, one that can flummox seasoned battlers with their fancy timed moves.

On and on the possibilities go—again, all depending on how much time and effort you want to invest into the quest of learning the unique move possibilities of any given character.

Soul-Sucking Swordplay

There are a couple formal quests in the game mix, too. These single-player story modes let gamers work on perfecting their moves while stepping into an adventure that fills them in on the narrative behind the exotic good and evil characters they're playing. This Chronicle of Souls mode essentially lays out the history of the wicked, soul-devouring Soul Edge blade and how it touches the lives of the various characters in the game. Meanwhile, Libra of Soul mode lets you create a built-from-scratch character of your own that you can launch into his or her own quest.

Now if you're saying, "Hold on, what's this about souls being devoured?" you may not know much about this franchise. The story side here has always been built on the somewhat twisted spiritual idea of a demon-like entity that has been magically trapped in a blade sporting a malevolent-looking eye. Of course, since this weapon is so malignantly powerful, a lot of people are seeking it.

That broad fantasy backstory helps explain some of the hellishly corrupted characters in the game. For instance, Astaroth is a Frankenstein-like berserker who swings a gigantic ax. Players also meet the fiendish dead pirate Cervantes, the bondage-focused pit-dweller Voldo, etc.

… and Other Below the Belt Stuff

The male characters here, good and bad, tend to be almost cartoonishly muscled and none-too-concerned about wearing a shirt. And many of the females bare more skin than that. The gals' outfits range from tiny skirts to body paint-like spandex, to nothing more than thin leather straps or a frilly apron and panties. And when you combine those outfits with fully fleshed-out physics, well, let's just say that gamers aren't just watching swords swing.

Parents may not have to worry much about blood and guts being graphically spilled in the game's bombastic slashing and pounding battles. But when you tally up the spiritual and sensual negatives, then add in T-rated levels of cussing—including "d-mmit," "h---," "b--tard" and "a--"—you've got a game that might not rise up to the, uh, caliber of character that you'd want in your family room.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Released

October 19, 2018

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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