Soulcalibur VI’s release has brought the 23-year-old (!!!) series back to the spotlight. To commemorate its release, we’re looking back at every character from every Soulcalibur (including Soul Edge). As Fanbyte’s resident Soul game expert (and fan), this list will serve to showcase my absolute favorites and celebrate their roles in the long-running franchise.
10) Seong Mi-na
AKA the good Kilik.
The original Soulcalibur (not to be confused with Soul Edge, the actual first game in the series) introduced us to pseudo-protagonist: Kilik. I personally never took a shine to the longstaff-wielding goody-goody. Why introduce another long staff character when you have a long bladed staff badass right there in front of you?
A Calibur mainstay since the series’ Edge/Soul days in the mid-90s, Seong Mi-na is the OG distance fighter of the franchise. She’s tough, she’s not whiny, she does little hoppy kicks using her staff—she rules. Kilik drools.
I said it.
Ivy looks like someone who wants to stomp a hole in your chest from head to toe. While Ivy has become a poster girl for the Soulcalibur series for… let’s say predictable reasons, her complex fighting style and unbelievably cool snake sword easily put her in the top 10.
I’d also argue Ivy is the first character in the series with a developed personality. It’s not a sunny personality—she’s a squarely Machiavellian jerk all the time—but it’s more than the “NO, I’M GOING TO BE THE BEST WARRIOR” non-personalities that populated the franchise before her.
Her play style is easy enough to learn, but she’s a difficult character to master given her use of both the linked and unlinked sword. Fortunately, Ivy appears in the vast majority of Soul entries. So go on, get to work!
Since her first appearance in Soulcalibur, Xianghua has been a series mainstay and an extremely popular character for beginners to pick. Her small stature and relatively mundane (for a Soulcalibur game) Chinese sword belie her deadliness.
Xianghua might have been a Vaudeville superstar in another life, because she’s also a master juggler. Her high-damage launch attacks are a great way for players to stop an onslaught from a more aggressive character and create some distance. Otherwise players can use her juggling skills to start any number of truly terrifying combos—of which Xianghua has many.
7) Lizardman (Aeon Calcos)
That’s how Aeon Calcos was known in Soulcalibur before someone decided to give him a fancy name. Okay, that’s not really how it worked. Aeon Calcos was a human warrior tasked from on high to destroy the Soul Edge, but through a comedy of errors he was captured by a demon lord and turned into a lizard… man. Basically.
Lizardman fights with a sword and shield in Soulcalibur, an axe and shield in later entries, and dual axes in Soulcalibur V. He once shared just a little too much in common Sophitia (same weapons, same place of birth). But in the year’s since he’s become an overall balanced fighter who can do a little bit of everything.
Also. He. Is. A. Lizard. Man.
I love him.
The series’ first antagonist, the (sometimes) undead pirate Cervantes has the rare distinction of appearing in every single Soul game. Never far from the central conflict in every installment of the franchise, the dual sword-wielding swashbuckler got a slight redesign between Edge and Calibur to include a small pistol attached to his shorter blade.
Cervantes is a mostly well-rounded fighter, but excels at dishing out major punishment at close range. Ghost pirates are a heavy cliche in 2018, but Cervantes kinda started that whole conversation way back in 1995.
And just look at that fighting stance!
Mitsurugi is arguably the most recognizable character from the Soulcalibur series: a wandering samurai mercenary who uses a katana to slice up opponents. Mitsurugi’s strong, easy design combined with his no-nonsense play style make him very appealing for beginners and experts alike.
Mitsurugi’s design isn’t revelatory by any stretch. Yet its consistency over the years and his genuine, ineffable coolness puts him on this list.
I just want to be a cool samurai, okay?
Jacky Bryant. Marshall Law. Fei Long.
Bruce Lee-likes have filled fighting games since fighting games began. None of them hold a candle to the nunchaku-swinging pirate, Maxi. Maxi appears in nearly every installment of the franchise, going all the way back to Soul Edge.
Gameplay-wise, Maxi is fast, furious, ferocious, and fearless. His flurries of nunchakery can decimate opponents before they know what hits them. Playing with him is just so dang fun. Playing against him is legendarily not much fun at all. It’s a dubious reputation, to be sure, but Maxi is an undeniable part of the Soul games’ DNA.
And that pompadour? That white bolero??? Flawless.
The Grecian Guardian. The Hephaestin Heroine.
Another OG Soul Edge fighter, Sophitia is central to the core plot of the series. She was (partially) responsible for the demise of Cervantes, who at the time wielded Soul Edge for his nefarious needs.
Sophitia’s sword and shield combo represents a departure from the lumbering powerhouses and agile speedsters that populate the rest of the Soulcalbur roster. She can get in close with combos and cyclones of attacks, while her shield allows for distance fighting and defense most other characters can’t match.
In a vacuum, Sophitia’s visual design isn’t that unique. She’s every bit the classical warrior maiden. Compared to the bulky European armor and eastern fight-wear in the rest of the roster, however, Sophitia’s gear stands out in Soulcalibur.
Taki is the ultimate statement on what Soulcalibur gameplay should be. Lightning fast blurs of dagger strikes, flurries of kicks, and perilous flips dominate Taki’s move-set. No other character is as purely fun to play than Taki.
Her look hasn’t changed much since Soul Edge, either. Red bodysuit. Shin and shoulder armor. Cool-as-hell demon face mask. It’s a simple, strong design Namco nailed right from the start.
Taki is a major character, too! She and Sophitia worked together to separate Cervantes from the Soul Edge—acting as a catalyst for the earth-shaking events that birthed Soulcalibur and each subsequent game.
Taki is pound-for-pound one of the best fighting game characters ever created.
What can I even say about Voldo?
He’s the master of the Money Pit. He’s a world class knife pervert. He hisses at his opponents.
Voldo is an icon; certainly within the Soul series and debatably in all of video game canon. There isn’t much about Voldo’s design that doesn’t feel painstakingly deliberate. His movements are partially mocapped and partially hand-animated, which makes for an otherworldly experience no other Soulcalibur character can match.
Voldo’s play style is labyrinthine. One moment he’s a whirring, swinging mass of blades. In the next, Voldo is a snake slithering toward his opponent with hate (or something) in his heart.
Voldo’s blindness is not weakness, but strength. Voldo’s pain is beauty, turned outward into an S&M kaleidoscope. Voldo’s silence is paralyzing.
Voldo is Soulcalibur’s greatest creation.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on some of the best characters in fighting games! If you liked this, you might also enjoy my review of Soulcalibur VI itself. Or perhaps you’d prefer Fanbyte’s ranking of every Fallout game ever made? And feel free to slide into the comments with your favorite Soulcalibur battlers.