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Video Game / Soulcalibur V

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A new generation of Swords and Souls...

Soulcalibur V is the sixth main installment of the Soul Series, released on January 31, 2012 for the seventh-gen consoles PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Intended to be the first game in the series with a "canon" story-mode, the game is set seventeen years after the events of Soulcalibur IV, and features a cast of newcomers as well as a handful of returning favourites. It follows the misadventures of Patroklos Alexander and Pyrrha Alexandra — the son and daughter of the late Sophitia Alexandra, as they find themselves unwitting pawns in the clash between the Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. Unfortunately, the game was released in a unfinished state with only ¼ of the planned story mode finished, resulting in only a small number of finished cutscenes and the rest of the narrative being told through storyboards. A significant amount of DLC was released in the form of music from past games and costume parts for the game's robust Create-a-Soul system. This, coupled with the overall lack of features and many popular characters being excluded from the roster, resulted in an overall negative reception from fans.

After a series of lackluster spinoffs, in 2017 Soulcalibur VI was announced as an in-Continuity Reboot set during and after the events of the second game: Soulcalibur.

The game's playable characters include:

  • From Soul Edge: Heishiro Mitsurugi; Cervantes de León; Siegfried Schtauffen; Voldo;
  • From Soulcalibur: Aeon Calcos; Astaroth;note  Edge Master; Ivy Valentine; Kilik; Maxi; Nightmare;note  Yoshimitsunote 
  • From Soulcalibur II: Raphael Sorel
  • From Soulcalibur III: Tira
  • From Soulcalibur IV: Algol ; Hildegard von Krone
  • From Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny: Lord Geo Dampierrenote 
  • New characters: Elysium;note  Leixia;note  Natsu;note  Patroklos Alexander & α Patroklos; Pyrrha Alexandra & Pyrrha Ω; Viola; Xiba;note  Z.W.E.I.
  • Guest Characters: Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin's Creednote ; and a fighting style based off Devil Jin from the Tekken series

    Gameplay Mechanics 
  • Brave Edge: An extra character-specific attack that can be added to the end of combos, but drains half of the Critical Gauge.
  • Critical Edge: A Limit Break that fully drains the character's Critical Gauge to unleash a powerful attack.
  • Critical Gauge: A super meter that fills up as the character takes and deals damage; similar to Street Fighter's super meter
  • Guard Impact: A Counter-Attack that allows characters to counter or parry attacks and deplete an opponent's Critical Gauge.
  • Just Guard: A parry move that requires precise execution.
  • Quick Step: A new movement system that lets characters quickly maneuver around opponents by double-tapping a directional button.
    Game Modes 
  • Legendary Souls: A boss-rush mode where players fight against a series of opponents of escalating difficulty.
  • Arcade
  • Quick Battle
  • VS Battle
  • Story ~1607 A.D.~: Intended as the first "canon" narrative in the series, but was only partially-finished before the game's release. It follows Patroklos and Pyrrha's journey to reunite with each other while being swept up in the war between Nightmare's Malfested army and Siegfried's Schwarzwind mercenaries.
  • Creation: A greatly expanded-upon iteration of the previous games' Create-a-Soul feature.

The game has examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: For the entire Post-Timeskip storyline since Soulcalibur VI is a Continuity Reboot set during and after the events of Soulcalibur, leaving all lingering plots post-timeskip unresolved. Then it's revealed that V is a Bad Future that needs to be prevented, with the Original Timeline Cassandra warning her New Timeline counterpart in Astral Chaos of everything that will happen, entrusting her to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Action Mom: Hilde is the mother of two sons — though they do not factor into the narrative — and a high-ranking member of Siegfried's Schwarzwind — having joined after her kingdom was destroyed by Nightmare. She and Siegfried, however, are not a Battle Couple.
  • All There in the Manual: With the Museum being cut, the New Legends of Project Soul databook contains a significant amount of information on the Soul series as a whole — and what occurred between IV and V in particular — that is unmentioned in-game, including hints at what the incomplete story mode might have been.
  • Armed with Canon:
    • Daishi Odashima, the director at the time, made many changes to the lore that he felt were needed to reboot and push the series going forward. This resulted in the 17-year Time Skip that cut out many of the most popular characters and replaced them with a new generation, while having the old cast Put on a Bus, retired or Killed Off for Real. This was what he felt the series should be.
    • In a twist of fate, years after Odashima left Project Soul, his eventual successor Motohiro Okubo in turn did this to him. Not only did he undo all the effects of V, but he also revisited the idea of Cassandra being trapped in Astral Chaos. Originally, it was to have her Put on a Bus, but Okubo decided to have her be instrumental to undoing the effects of V by way of having her inform the New Timeline Cassandra of a V being a Bad Future for her to prevent and Set Right What Once Went Wrong. In other words, using Daishi's canon to erase his own canon.
  • Back from the Dead: Cervantes was sucked into Astral Chaos following Soul Edge's destruction and was spat back out with a living, breathing body.
  • Bad Future:
    • The story mode contains a false ending wherein Patroklos becomes to Soul Calibur what Nightmare is to Soul Edge, killing Pyrrha without hesitation or mercy. He rejects this fate and uses Astral Chaos to travel back in time to when he first awakened Soul Calibur, rejecting Elysium's control. When she tries to hijack his body, he defeats her in a Battle in the Center of the Mind.
    • Soulcalibur VI reveals that this game is seen as a Bad Future. It's referred to as a future dark and cruel, one where an endless amount of death and destruction is brought on, and needs to be prevented. This happens by way of Cassandra from the Original Timeline, trapped in Astral Chaos, warning her New Timeline counterpart of everything that will happen, so she can Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: At the end of the story mode, Soul Calibur encases Patroklos's body in crystal while Elysium engages his soul in battle in order to turn him into her version of Nightmare. He manages to defeat her with help from Pyrrha, and they send both Soul Swords back into Astral Chaos.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Soulcalibur V has three separate entities competing for the title of main villain. Graf Dumasthe new Nightmare, Tira, and Elysium — the living incarnation of Soul Calibur. The former uses politics, manipulation, and the power of Soul Edge with the goal to Take Over the World using his army of malfested slaves. The second wishes to resurrect the old Nightmare by using Pyrrha as a vessel, viewing the current one as a fraud, so she can reign chaos just as the original Nightmare did. The latter wishes to destroy Soul Edge and bring absolute peace to the world — regardless of the consequences. Behind the scenes is Algol, who serves as the Greater-Scope Villain overall. How this all would've come together is unclear, due to the fact that only 1/4 of the story made the final cut of the game and the next game goes back to SoulCalibur to alter events of the timeline.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Ares gave Aeon Calcos the ability to absorb the powers and abilities of things he eats, and sent the Lizardman after Patroklos and Pyrrha.
  • Character Customization: The game's Create-a-Soul system is the most-robust it's ever been, with almost every aspect of the characters being able to be altered in some way or another. Additionally, most of the game's DLC consisted of parts for this feature.
  • The Corruption: Soul Edge's power has infected people all across Europe, mutating them into Malfested. Of the main cast, Edge Master, Ivy, Kilik, Maxi, Nightmare, Patroklos,note  Pyrrha — especially as Pyrrha Ω, Raphael, Tira, and Voldo are all Malfested of one form or another.
  • Cut Short: Soulcalibur V's Story Mode was only ¼ complete when the game was released due to the team running out of development time.
  • Darker and Edgier: V deals with the massacre and persecution of those who are and are accused of being "Malfested", with people who are even suspected of bearing Soul Edge's corruption being cut down without mercy.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Elysium impersonates Sophitia in order to more easily manipulate Patroklos.
  • Ditto Fighter: V has three: Edge Master can mimic any fighter, Kilik can mimic any male fighter, and Elysium can mimic any female fighter.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Sophitia was stated in the Story Mode to have been killed off casually by a Malfested in the past. According to the artbook however, she actually gave her life so that Pyrrha could live without Soul Edge.
    • This may have also happened to Cassandra, who disappeared into Astral Chaos after being knocked unconscious by her sister. Many years later, she turns up in VI after her New Timeline counterpart finds her driven mad, and defeats her before she regains just enough sanity to warn of the future before disappearing.
    • The original Yoshimitsu was killed by Cervantes upon the latter's resurrection. His successor is actually a member of Taki's ninja clan.
    • Raphael was stated to have "died" following the events of Soul Calibur IV, with his body being strongly indicated to be Soul Edge's new host, Graf Dumas. Given this, it's unclear exactly what the playable Raphael is supposed to be.
  • Earth Drift: The game that saw the series truly start to gravitate away from strictly low-fantasy weapons combat into something more mystic, thanks to the presence of Z.W.E.I.'s wolf familiar or Viola's crystal ball. Soulcalibur VI goes even further down this route where characters can tap into magical forces on the regular.
  • Easter Egg: V's Quick Battle mode gives players the chance to fight Katsuhiro Harada, the producer of Tekken. Harada uses a Create-A-Soul exclusive Devil Jin fighting style. Defeating him allows the use of the Devil Jin style for created characters.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Mother in the case of Xianghua, who had regaled her daughter Leixia with stories of her adventures during her youth and promised to take her out on adventures when she was older... but when Leixia came into possession of Kilik's necklace she suddenly changed her mind and tried to arrange a marriage between her fifteen year-old daughter and the Emperor. Leixia took issue with this and promptly ran away.
  • Jerkass: Patroklos. To such an unlikeable degree, that many people cite him as one of the major flaws of V's narrative. He's irritatingly arrogant, painfully gullible, and will gleefully kill anyone that even looks like a malfested. Certainly doesn't help that he remains remarkably static for a main protagonist that players are supposed to root for.
  • Light Is Not Good: Soul Calibur's status as an Unholy Holy Sword is cemented by Elysium — who is to Soul Calibur what Inferno is to Soul Edge. She spends the latter half of the story mode manipulating Patroklus into becoming her version of Nightmare, and when he eventually refuses to go along with her plans she tries to take him over.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • With the war against Japan coming to an end, the Korean characters withdrew from the conflict over the Soul Swords and went home.
    • Cassandra was sucked into Astral Chaos following Soul Edge's destruction. She returns in VI, just long enough to tell that version of Cassandra what happened and how V can be undone.
    • Taki heard rumours that her old mentor Toki was Back from the Dead and set out to find him.
    • It is unknown what happened to Amy note , Talim, or Zasalamel.
  • Legacy Character:
    • The original Astaroth was killed by Maxi, but his heart was taken back to Fygul Cestemus by Ashlotte and used to create a mass-produced army of duplicates.
    • Nightmare was slain by Siegfried and Soul Edge shattered, but it eventually reconstituted itself and claimed a new host strongly implied to be Raphael. This host is killed by Z.W.E.I., and Soul Edge is claimed by Pyrrha Ω.
    • The Yoshmitsu in this game is a Fu-Ma ninja who inherited the titled from the original after he was slain by Cervantes. He even makes sure to introduce himself as Yoshimitsu the Second.
  • Men Get Old, Women Get Replaced: A fairly gratuitous offender.
    • While a good number of the male characters survived the seventeen-year Time Skip (albeit with various Soul Edge-related excuses for becoming The Ageless), most of the female characters have been retired, replaced by younger relatives or students functioning as Suspiciously Similar Substitutes. Kilik, Maxi and Raphael make a return while Xianghua, Taki, Seong Mi-na and both of the Alexandria sisters are gone. Of the returning old guard, only Mitsurugi (46), Hilde (35), Siegfried (40) and Voldo (67!) have aged naturally during this time. Ivy returns, but is listed in her profile as "aging stopped at 32", when chronologically she would be 49. This approach was panned at the time as the worst of both possible worlds, largely wasting the opportunity presented by the large Time Skip to either introduce fresh new faces more detached from the characters they replaced, or bring back fan favourites in exciting aged forms: it is telling that the enigmatic Viola, who is strongly implied - and confirmed as of VI - to be an amnesiac, chronologically early-thirties Amy, was almost uniquely positively received.
    • Where this gets really perplexing is Cervantes, who apparently (according to Word of God) managed to return to a younger biological age by transferring into the body of another host... in other words, he found somebody who just so happens to look almost exactly like his original self in his thirtiesnote . A solution that only raises further questions than it solves.
  • Multi-Slot Character: Patroklos and Pyrrha, in the forms of α Patroklos and Pyrrha Ω. α Patroklos is when he wields the titular Soul Calibur weapon, changing his fighting style completely (with him becoming a Moveset Clone of Setsuka instead of his mother, Sophitia). Pyrrha Ω however is essentially her Superpowered Evil Side after grabbing hold of the Soul Edge, the opposite of the Soul Calibur. Unlike Patroklos, her moveset stays the same. The two are essentially transformations of the same character in the story but they each have a separate character slot in the roster (ie. four slots are taken up by two versions of Patroklos and Pyrrha).
  • Retcon: Xiba was originally stated to be just a highly skilled orphan that Kilik trained. However, following a fan backlash, the developers altered his bio to make him Kilik and Xianghua's bastard son and Leixia's older half-brother with only Xianghua knowing the truth.
  • Sucksessor:
    • Both Tira and Soul Edge see "Graf Dumas" as being inferior to the original Nightmare for different reasons:
      • Tira hates that the new Nightmare is more into political machinations than straight-up killing everything in sight.
      • Soul Edge had suffered from Power Incontinence in IV due to lacking a host, and used Dumas as an experiment to see if it could maintain its favourite form while taking a host. However, it still suffered from Power Incontinence due to not assuming a form suited to its wielder's inherent fighting style, and opted to replace him with Pyrrha when the opportunity arose.
    • Patroklos was raised on stories of his mother and emulates her fighting style out of admiration for her, but is far more proficient with the Iaido he learned from Setsuka. Siegfried even notes that his imitation of Sophitia's fighting style is inferior at best.
    • Pyrrha uses her mother's divine sword and shield, which do the fighting for her due to her being too timid to fight on her own unless she's really pissed off.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: After activating her Malfestation to fight off Nightmare and save her brother's life, Pyrrha is devastated when Patroklos panics at the sight of her transformed body and willingly becomes Soul Edge's newest host as Pyrrha Ω. After Patroklos overcomes his prejudice and accepts her, she overcomes Soul Edge's influence — though she remains Malfested.
  • Time Skip: Soulcalibur V is set 17 years after the end of Soulcalibur IV, with the opening cutscene showing the final battle between Siegfried and Nightmare.
  • Training Stage: This game has the Character Creation Stage to test out how a custom character looks in motion. It's only available in Creation Mode, though, and the opponent is always a Deliberately Monochrome Edge Master.
  • Unreliable Narrator: When confronting Tira in V's Story Mode as Patroklos, the narrator refers to her as "your mother's murderer" seemingly confirming that Tira killed Sophitia. This was later disproven in New Legends of Project Soul, which revealed that Sophitia sacrificed herself to extract the shards of Soul Edge imbedded in her heart and implant them in Pyrrha.
  • Villain Protagonist: Patroklos starts off as a Tautological Templar with Black-and-White Insanity, gleefully slaying Malfested — who are actually innocent people — at the behest of Graf Dumas — who is the new Nightmare in disguise. When he learns he was being used and that the people he killed were innocent civilians, he is horrified and strikes off on his own to find his sister.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Alpha Patroklos's final battle vs. Elysium takes a cue from Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Gaia in some ways:
    • Patroklos being encased in a crystal prison by Soul Calibur after he subdues Pyrrha parallels Daigo being trapped while conscious within Tiga's crystal-like core after the Ultra gets petrified by Gatanothor, only to be freed thanks to the hopes and resolve of Pyrrha herself and Rena, along with the children cheering on for Tiga, respectively.
    • Additionally, the stage for the fight against Elysium is called Utopia of the Blessed. But, after winning two rounds in said stage, turns into ruins filled with pandemonium and hell; not only it looks like the ruins in R'lyeh Island, but it's similar to the scenery of Tiga's final showdown with Camearra.
    • And let's not forget that Elysium, who "guides" Patroklos into killing Pyrrha under the pretense of Sophitia's appearance and False Reassurance of freeing her from Soul Edge, brings to mind Zogu, but lacks the latter's demon form and less modesty with the angelic appearance.