Soul Calibur V releases in Europe today, having been available in North America and Japan for most of this week. It came away with a headshot in Tuesday’s Soul Calibur V review, and if you’re thinking of joining the fight you’ll need to do some catching up to the rest of the world, especially as my main criticism was of how the game doesn’t do quite enough to get you up to speed on its new systems and massive move list. The info is all out there if you’re willing to spend time researching it though, so here’s some of the fundamentals of the new game:
This is the power gauge next to either player’s health bar, previously known as the ‘Soul Gauge’. The main difference now is that you can charge the gauge fully twice (indicated by the number in the centre of the gauge). Most of the moves on this page use a percentage of your charge, and trying to trigger them with insufficient power will result in nothing happening.
- You fill the Critical Gauge by performing attacks or blocking them;
- If you’re about to lose the match, you get a free, one off 100% boost at the beginning of the last round. i.e. If your opponent is 2-0 up in a 3 round match. Note that if you already have two full charges, you will get no further advantage;
- The same will happen for your opponent if you subsequently push the game into a Final Battle situation (i.e. you turn the above battle around to 2-2).
The showy, big new combo moves. These use a full charge of your critical gauge, but they can be blocked or side-stepped. Or you can be stupid enough to trigger them out of range of your opponent (doh). The following trailer shows you everything you need to know:
Or in other words: If you’re on screen-left, press down,down right,right x2, followed by “A+B+K” (the upper three face buttons on your joypad, or the rear-right trigger). The directions are flipped if you’re on screen-right. Easy.
Honestly, I cannot find any examples, though I’ve triggered this on occasion. Brave Edge is simply a supplementary, powerful end to certain combos, achieved by pressing “A+B+K” (again, the upper three face buttons on your joypad, or the rear-right trigger). You lose half a charge of your Critical Gauge for triggering one of these.
Brought forward from the previous games with a little tweaking, Guard Impact is a defensive move that repels all basic attacks at the loss of 25% of a full Critical Gauge charge. It is a little easier to perform than in Soul Calibur IV, executed with left+A+B+K. If you’re being pummelled by an opponent, it can give you an opening in which you can turn the tide on them.
Oddly, Just Guard seems to have much the same function as Guard Impact, except the competitive community feels that it’s a lot more useful. For starters, it’s free. Secondly, it allows you to quickly get an attack in once executed, or quickly take up a guarding position. By comparison, Guard Impact leaves you a little more open for repeat hits and costs 25% of a Critical Gauge charge. This great video from Youtube user AvoidingthePuddle gives you a run-down of the move, though be prepared for a little fighting game jargon:
Just Guard is executed with a single tap of the Guard Button (the lower face button) just as your opponent’s hit connects with your character. Low attacks must be caught with down+G. The reason that Guard Impact still exists is simply that it’s a lot easier to pull off (you don’t have to be dead on with connecting to your opponent’s attack). But with Just Guard, a top player can parry a string of hits, unblockable attacks and worse.
Soul Calibur’s defining feature has always been its ‘8-way run’ system, allowing you to side-step and circle your opponent to avoid attacks and get your own attacks in whilst they’re left flailing about. Quick Step helps streamline this, and when executed will briefly put you outside the range of any ‘vertical’ attacks (though ‘horizontal’ attacks) will still connect.
Quick step is simple to execute: you tap the direction you want to go once and quickly follow up with a longer second press in the same direction. I.e. up,UP or down,DOWN. As the video above shows, you’ll know its been successful when you see cartoonish white lines appearing.
Other Important Concepts
- The Ukemi – a move that allows you to stand up quick after having been thrown to the floor – remains in the game. Press A+G (the left and bottom face buttons) when you hit the ground;
- Fuzzy Guard is assumed to be an unintentional glitch that allows you character to guard against both high and low attacks by simply pressing Guard and tapping Up. It’s listed here so that you know not to use it (because any player who recognises what you’re doing will likely be very unhappy. And, I don’t know, perhaps their Dad could beat your Dad up in a fight?);
- When a player with a flashing life-bar unsuccessfully lands a series of strong attacks on an opponent, they enter ‘Guard Crush’ (formerly ‘Soul Crush’ in SCIV). They then become vulnerable to heavy attacks from their opponent;
- Unlike in Soul Calibur IV, customisable weapons and costumes are just there for aesthetic value – they do not have special attributes in battle;
- This also means that when equipment breaks, you won’t suffer any ill-effects (aside from standing around in your underwear).
First thing that anyone wants to do with a new fighting game is to mine out all those optional hidden extras, but I’ve stuck this at the end because you may want to stop reading if you’d rather not be spoiled! Anyway, unlocks are pretty straightforward in Soul Calibur V (there are multiple methods for some unlocks, but the easiest is listed here):
- The characters Elysium, Edge Master, Alpha Patroklos and Pyrrah Omega are obtained at various points in the Story -1607 A.D. mode;
- The ‘Soul of Devil Jin’ character creation fighting style is given to you for getting to character level 5 (this takes very little time at all);
- Kilik is unlocked at Character level 11. Alternatively, defeat him in Arcade mode (encountered by Maxi in the ‘Asia’ route);
- The easiest way to unlock Algol is to fight and defeat a character using his style in the ‘Quick Battle’ mode. Alternatively, get to Player Level 31;
- Dampierre is either pre-order or Collector’s Edition DLC, but you can bet he’ll turn up on PSN and Xbox Live sooner rather than later (The character actually turns up as an opponent in ‘Quick Match’ mode whether you own him or not. Defeating him doesn’t earn you use of the character).
Also, the arenas:
- The ‘Denever Castle’ and ‘Utopia of the Blessed’ arenas are unlocked via the Story -1607 A.D. mode.
- Defeat Kilik in Legendary Souls or Arcade mode to earn ‘The Penitentiary of Destiny’;
- Defeating Edge Master in the same modes unlocks ‘Tower of Glory: Spiral of Good & Evil’;
- ‘Tower of Glory: Most Holy Dichotomy’ is the reward for doing the same with Algol;
- ‘Astral Chaos: Pathway’ becomes available at Player Level 25.
Oh, and as you climb the Player rankings, you pick up titles for your profile, as well as a huge array of clothing and weapons for use in the Character Creation mode!
Soul Calibur V is out now on PS3 and Xbox 360.