Large changes to the series staple game play have been made for Soulcalibur V. The "Critical Finishes" of the previous game are no more, as is the Soul Gauge. Armor remains destructible but no longer has an indicator showing when it will break. A new gauge has been introduced that works similarly to the "super meters" found in other fighting games. Charging this meter in combat allows the characters to execute "Brave Edge" and "Critical Edge" attacks (progressively more powerful strikes that also require more meter to execute).
In addition to the 8-Way-Run (introduced in the first Soulcalibur title), characters can now briskly sidestep around their opponent by double-tapping up or down
The Guard Impact feature of the previous Soul series titles has been altered, now requiring holding away from the opponent and pushing horizontal slash, vertical slash, and kick together (as opposed to forward and guard). The Guard Impact will now repel any attack regardless of height (except for unblockable attacks), removing the need to anticipate the attack height of the aggressor. Guard Impacts require a segment of the Critical Meter to execute. Parries have been removed from the engine entirely.
A new defensive maneuver called "Just Guard" replaces the traditional Guard Impact technique. Using guard at the precise moment of an opponent's attack will result in a 'perfect' guard and considerably shorten the amount of delay that the character must wait before retaliating. This will allow players to respond to attacks quickly and with less consequence than a missed Guard Impact of previous installments (as mistiming a Guard Impact would not protect the character whereas a missed Just Guard will still provide defense without the advantage).
Ring Outs now add an extra layer of depth on certain stages, as knocking an opponent from the ring will result in both characters falling down into a new arena to continue the fight.
Character Creation has returned in this game, but with a vast amount of improvements. This time, the player can alter the height of the character, like in Broken Destiny. The player can also alter separate body parts, give facial effects, and do more improvement on editing clothing, and voicing. The player can also change the color of the weapons and effects of the weapon.
There are several other features as well. Among the original characters' fighting styles that players will be able to choose from, players will also be able to choose the fighting style of Devil Jin from the Tekken series, a style only exclusive to character customization mode as well as Katsuhiro Harada, the director of the Tekken series, who cameos as a non-playable character in Soulcalibur V's Quick Match mode. Through all offline modes and the online modes the player will unlock new playable characters, clothing, hairstyles, weapons, and other components used to create customized characters.