Feature Article

Soul Calibur 6's New Character Groh Ushers In Big Changes To The Game

"Does Your Soul Still Burn?"

After the series' six-year hibernation since Soul Calibur V's 2012 release, the developers at Bandai Namco have been eager to show off the next entry in the weapon-based fighting game franchise since its late-2017 reveal. Recently, Bandai Namco put out a trailer showcasing the new arrivals to Soul Calibur VI's roster, which includes returning characters Kilik, Xianghua, Nightmare, and the newcomer Groh. As the developers stated, Soul Calibur VI plans to take things back to the beginning of the Calibur saga, while also adding a sense of renewed style and refinement to the core gameplay.

We got to go hands-on with the upcoming fighter at a recent Bandai Namco event, where we took in a number of matches and saw just how much the series has grown during its six-year hiatus. In the video above, you can check out some matches from our session featuring the returning cast, along with the enigmatic Groh.

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Now Playing: SoulCalibur VI - 7 Minutes Of New Gameplay

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From the debut trailer at The Game Awards, many fans noticed that the two returning fighters, Mitsurugi and Sophitia, were looking younger than their appearances in previous Soul Calibur titles. And there's a good reason for that as it turns out. Serving as a bit of a hybrid between prequel and simultaneous reimagining of the original Soul Calibur, the sixth game covers much of the grey area in the story after the events of Soul Edge, while also laying the groundwork for something brand new. In doing so, some rather interesting choices have been made to revitalize its core mechanics and returning characters.

In addition to the returning cast of characters, which includes the samurai Mitsurugi, the greek warrior Sophitia, the young warrior Xianghua, the Soul Edge construct Nightmare, and the cursed monk Kilik, we also have the reveal of a new fighter named Groh. Wielding a double-sided sword--which detaches during his more complex combos attacks--the mysterious Groh channels dark energy in ways that deal massive damage to his opponent. During his special powered-up state, activated after achieving energy from his soul meter, he's able to swing his blade across the stage and attack his opponents from afar during special attacks. After playing a few matches with Groh, we were able to get accustomed to his playstyle and moveset fairly quickly, and he'll likely be a solid pick for newcomers to the series.

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In addition to sharper and more detailed visuals--powered by Unreal Engine 4--the core combat focusing on well-timed weapon strikes and parries also has some new tricks up its sleeve. Soul Calibur VI's new mechanic called the Reversal Edge adds more cinematic and tense moments to fights. When activated, players will face off in a rock-paper-scissors style game of wits, where you'll have to strike at an opening in your opponent's defenses. While these can end in a stalemate, with either both players matching strikes or one dodging them outright, landing a hit can deal significant damage to your opponent--which can result in an armor break on your foe. Along with this new mechanic, many of the core system from the series--such as Guard Impacts, counters, and the return of the over the top Critical Edge--have also seen some upgrades.

Although it was only just announced late last year, Soul Calibur VI is in very solid shape. One of the strengths of the the series is balancing accessible gameplay with the mechanics that fighting game vets love, and Soul Calibur VI continues that tradition in some fun ways. It'll be interesting to see how the core story will be presented in-game, given its focus on reimagining the events of the original Soul Calibur. While the story throughout the series has mostly been background dressing, it does as a solid context for what players can expect from the roster.

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Still on track for a 2018 release, and with it being playable at EVO Japan 2018, we'll likely be hearing more from Soul Calibur VI throughout the year. And while it's great to see some familiar faces return, the one thing we're all wondering is what sort of guest characters will find their way into this game? It's hard to top Star Wars' Yoda and Darth Vadar, but we're sure that Bandai Namco will try its best to.

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afillari

Alessandro Fillari

I'm an editor and producer at GameSpot with more than 10 years of experience covering the Games Industry. I love Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Metal Gear Solid, and I hope we'll one day see a new game for the latter's franchise. My job entails bringing in opportunities and producing some amazing features and content for GameSpot--I'm basically the Arthur Morgan of GameSpot.

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