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Soulcalibur 6 guide: Basic controls, movement, eight-way run and attacks

Bandai Namco/Project Soul

As with most fighting games, movement in Soulcalibur 6 is digital. If you have a PS4 or Xbox controller, look at the D-pad. The directions are up, down, left and right. You can move in diagonals by pressing two at the same time: Up-left, up-right, down-left, and down-right. Soulcalibur 6 supports analog sticks, but you’ll only ever move in these directions.

The action buttons in Soulcalibur 6 are G (guard), A (horizontal attack), B (vertical attack) and K (kick). Set them as you like on your preferred controller. We will talk about pressing two or three buttons at the same time. All of these combinations can also be set to keys on your controller if you like.

To make things easier for players on different formats, we are going to use Soulcalibur 6’s in-game button terminology rather than that used by the consoles. This way, you’ll know which buttons we’re talking about no matter what kind of controller you’re holding. Also notice that our videos use the training mode feature that displays what buttons are being pressed. If you’re confused on how to execute a move, refer to the bottom of the screen in our videos.

Eight-way run

Soulcalibur has unique movement among 3D fighting games: Players can move with freedom and speed around the area by simply holding down a direction. This is called the eight-way run.

The eight directions in which one can move are up, left, right, down and diagonals. Note that despite this feeling very natural on an analog stick, this isn’t an analog game: You are only running in one of eight directions and at a set speed.

The eight-way run is a powerful movement tool, allowing you to quickly move in on your opponent and flee from danger. Running in the up or down directions will even allow you to sidestep certain attacks. As usual in fighting games, players will shuffle around each other trying to get into just the right position to strike.

There is a drawback to this fast and versatile option. Not only can you not guard against attacks during a run, but if you strike an opponent during a run, it’s a Run Counter (displayed on-screen), which means more damage and possibly an opening for more hits. When you’re up close with the opponent, it’s safer to keep up your guard and make short dashes and sidesteps instead by simply tapping a direction once.

Horizontal attacks (A)

Basic horizontal slashes hit from side to side in front of the player. This keeps your opponent from sidestepping out of your attack. Though they usually don’t hit as hard as vertical slashes, they’re great at pinning down slippery, evasive opponents. Mid A attacks are particularly useful for holding an opponent in place.

Vertical attacks (B)

Vertical slashes hit directly in front of the player. Note that stabs, thrusts and other linear attacks are also considered B-button moves. It’s easy to sidestep these moves, but they hit fast and hard, making them ideal moves to counter strike an opponent who’s attacking out of turn. Wait for an opening and counter with a vertical slash, especially against players who neglect sidesteps and movement or who continue to attack even when guarded.

Kicks (K)

While horizontal and vertical attacks are more strictly typed, kicks can really be any type of move: horizontal or vertical, slow or fast, high, mid or low. Basic kicks are generally quick moves that interrupt the opponent. Players expect kicks a lot less than they expect weapon attacks, and mixing them into your attack pattern can throw off their timing.

Pressing a direction and an attack at the same time, or pressing an attack button during an eight-way run, will produce a new move. Experiment on your own and refer to the extensive in-game move list to see all the attacks your character has to offer.

Guard (G)

The easiest way to defend is to hold the guard (G) button. So long as you’re holding this button down, you’ll remain stationary and block high and mid attacks. Your feet remain open in this stance, so low attacks will hit.

To guard against low attacks, hold the guard button and then hold down to crouch while guarding. You’ll also duck under high attacks, but mid attacks will always hit you when crouching.

Note that you can’t block forever. If you guard a lot of hits, you’ll see your life bar glow in different colors as a warning. When that glow gets down to red, you’re close to suffering a guard crush, which will leave you completely open for a long time.

You’ll know the guard crush by the color inversion effect that comes with it. Certain moves, like every character’s A+B Break attack, are particularly effective at causing a guard crush.

Throws (A+G)

Walk up to a guarding opponent and press guard and A at the same time to grab them. For a back throw, press guard, A, and the back direction at the same time. Throws have very short range in this game, and if you’re a step too far away you’ll stretch an arm out helplessly, leaving yourself wide open to attack.

To break throws, tap A during the moment just after you’ve been grabbed (note the flash). To break back throws, tap back and A. Once you practice this a little, you’ll find that you have a fairly large window to make your escape, but you can’t guard against both kinds of throws at once. You must make a guess on which throw your opponent is going to use.

Guard Impact (forward + G)

Guard Impact is Soulcalibur 6’s parry mechanic. With precise timing, you can deflect your opponent’s attack and knock them to the floor, putting yourself at an extremely advantageous position to launch your next attack. Press forward and guard at the same time to do a Guard Impact.

In this video, first Sophitia does a Guard Impact to show you what it looks like. The Kilik dummy is set to take one hit, and then respond with a Guard Impact timed precisely to any move Sophitia uses. Only her Break attack (A+B at the same time, among other moves) can beat the Guard Impact.

Keep in mind that the timing for this move is very strict. It isn’t enough to know that your opponent is attacking; you really have to bring your guard up just as the attack strikes. However, if timed correctly, Guard Impact will beat any move that isn’t a break attack. High, low and mid don’t matter. Guard Impact even beats throws.

This is the bane of predictable opponents who rely on the same moves and chain attacks repeatedly. It’s worth going into training mode and really acquainting yourself with the timing. Once you do, your defense will take on a whole new dimension.

On the other hand, if you hit an opponent out of a Guard Impact using a Break attack, the payoff in damage can be quite high.

When an opponent staggers after a Guard Impact, they can’t block normally for a moment, leaving them open to certain fast attacks. However, they can use a Guard Impact, and if they guess correctly they can turn the tables on you. It’s even possible to get caught in a back-and-forth with Guard Impact if both players continue to predict each other’s attacks perfectly. To get out of this situation, try using Break attacks, or mixing up your timing with a move that’s just a little bit slower than normal.