Yes, this is, after a long wait, the 6th game in the main-line Soulcalibur series. Specifically, this is the collector's edition. The edition featured in this review is a non-US variant, so if you wonder why the content is different, it's simply because different regions contain different items. This is, in fact, a commonality in pre-orders which can cause much frustration at times when deciding what version to go for.
Announced at PSX 2017, it was surprising to think that the game would come at some point a year later. However, after a pretty positive network test, the full game is now available on Xbox One, PC and PS4.
Let's start this review by unboxing the Xbox One collector's edition.
I was correct in thinking this as simply placing a hand either side and moving upwards caused the sleeve to slide majestically away from the inner box, which also seems to not be sealed at first glance.
Placing a hand either side of the main flap and flicking upwards carefully of course then reveals the contents of the special edition, without the need to remove any additional adhesive circles that might've been expected.
The Sophitia statue is underneath the removable cardboard tray that contained the game case. Place your hands underneath the top of the statue's plastic packaging and lift gently. The assembly should lift straight out with no trouble.
The statue's box is held together by 4 strips of tape which can be cut with a blade. You might have difficulty doing this smoothly though, as even placing a hand on top of the box gently to hold it in place won't stop it from moving as you push against the sides where the two halves of the packaging meet. There are two strips on each side and once cut, the two sides have 4 seals connecting them to each other. If you pull gently with a half in each hand towards the bottom of the box (where the circular base is visible even within the plastic), two seals should break. The remaining two at the top can be broken in a similar manner, allowing you to separate the halves and lift the statue free.
Removing the plastic bag covering the statue is as simple as pulling upwards with one hand whilst holding the statue with the other.
The statue is surprisingly light, but well-built enough that this isn't a source of complaint. It's reminiscent of Killer Instinct's figures produced by Ultimate Source but larger and non-posable. The sword accessory is sealed inside a separate area of the packaging for the main statue and it should come away fairly easily with a careful placement of a finger underneath to lever it up.
The quality of this special edition item is not to be underestimated. Though I can't comment on any colouring issues, I will say that the posing is solid and the semi-themed base is definitely a plus, as you don't need to find a way of standing the figure up correctly.
Putting the sword in Sophitia's hand, however, is a different matter and I've yet to actually try this for fear of breaking the statue's fingers. The accessory itself looks relatively plane in terms of physical detailing, but it's a well-suited and solid item nonetheless.
Now, let's return to the game itself.
Updating the game after offline install is simply a matter of reversing the process to go offline and launching the game, accepting the offer to update when prompted. The process for going offline/online will not be covered here.
Redeeming the season pass code in the game's box is relatively straightforward, though I needed sighted assistance for this task. The soundtrack, on the other hand, makes you go to a Namco link to enter your code, from which you then receive the soundtrack. I will update this review with information on the accessibility of that process at a later date.
After adhering to the prompt to "press any button" and signing myself in, I was then told that save data had been created and to press A to move to the next screen.
After confirming I'm aware that turning off during autosave will corrupt my data by pressing A, an End User License Agreement (EULA) appears.
Scrolling with the down arrow on your DPad takes some time, but eventually (once the cue stops) you'll be on the "I disagree" option which, when activated, boots you back to the title screen. Instead, move right one via the DPad and then press A on the "I agree" option.
This introduction then leads in to the main menu, presented as follows:
Welcome to SOULCALIBUR VI TWs is the main rnenu, where you can choose between different game modes and enjoy the different content SOULCALIBIJR VI has to offer. Create an original character and •Get forth am legend of the cursed sword from a different soul's perspective Season pass 'how available. @NextThe second tutorial screen is as follows:
Welcome to SOULCALIBUR VI Libra Of Soul is a mode in wNch an exciting story unfolds around a character Of your creation. Along the way, some missions will allow you to play through battle tutorials, so it is highly recommended that you play through ttis mode. @Next Create an original character and •Get forth an adv legend of the cursed sword from a different soul's perspective Season pass 'how available.The final tutorial screen is as follows:
Welcome to SOULCALIBUR VI You can adjust your Xbox One Wireless Controller settings from the Options menu or by selecting "Controls" in the pause menu. Once you get a feel for the game, be sure to custonize your controls to match your playstyle. @Close Create an original character and set forth am legend of the cursed sword from a different soul's perspective Season pass 'how available.Press B to close this final screen of this introduction area.
The main menu wraps, with you starting at Libra of Soul. The rest of the menu is below:
If you were to go into options and then, say, sound settings, exiting that set of options then puts you on sound settings again.
OCR worked well for me whilst browsing the options, though getting used to the fact that it places you where you were previously if you exit a submenu is rather frustrating at first. Looking at the bottom of your proverbial screen does help as there's information about what option you have highlighted.
Progression through the main story was smooth, though there are no difficulty sliders to adjust anywhere that I could see. It didn't prove to be a problem for me, but that may have been because I played the network test and had a feel for the controls as a result.
The story itself is linear but well put together, combining parts of previous lore into this game's cannon as it goes. The Conclusion is also rather predictable in how it unfolds to a point, but satisfyingly cliché. The voice acting is high quality and some of the delivery, though a little unusual, fits in well with the series nature of almost being self-aware at times
Other than this sore point, the gameplay feels solid and when setting the AI to easy it presents little challenge, as it should do.
The final boss at the end of the arcade ladder is somewhat predictable, though considering the events of Chronicle, I'm thinking there may be other bosses available, as has been seen in previous Soul games. However, if this is correct as of yet is unknown.
After progressing further, I realised a common issue in the series had resurfaced, in that button prompts are still being relayed through images rather than text. This means that I have to figure out which buttons activate what submenu, a risky process when dealing with modes such as this. So far, it's not been an issue, but I do think the stats screens may become more confusing as time goes on and I gain more items and equipment.
This issue also applies to any tutorials that you find in the game, such as in Libra's attack training, making elements like crouching attacks difficult if not impossible to understand without additional assistance.
What I am pleased with is how much of the story text I can read with OCR, meaning that both Chronicle and to an uncertain extent Libra should be able to be fully completed without sight and minimal frustration if you're used to OCR. There are fights and mechanics that might be a challenge and elements like the "explore surrounding area" feature that will likely bring up issues, but they can be gotten around with some luck and patience. These elements, however, can serve as a barrier to entry for those wanting a game that they can pick up and play with relative ease.
I delayed in publishing this review simply because I was hoping that Bandai Namco would be able to redeem themselves and patch the following issue soon after launch. However, that hasn't seemed to be the case and they've been relatively silent on this matter.
I've not been able to get a single match online, in either casual or ranked modes, since launch. I was really looking forward to getting stuck in and learning with the rest of the SCVI community where I could, but unfortunately at the present time this doesn't look like it's going to happen. Many players have reported similar issues irrespective of platform, but I hope that Bandai Namco can resolve these as soon as possible. This is especially frustrating considering I was able to get several reasonably good quality connection matches during the network test without issue on exactly the same unit I've been running the game on for this review.
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