(available for PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X & S, and PC. Playstation 5 version used for the review)
Street Fighter 6 is the latest in the world-renowned fighting game franchise, a staple that all other franchises in the same genre have been building off of. Street Fighter 6 has to set a precedent considering that it now has a lot of big competition, most notably the reboot of Mortal Kombat that will release later this year as well as Tekken 8 which is coming sometime next year. The game itself also has come in with a more sceptical crowd. Street Fighter 5, put bluntly, launched in a pitiful state. There wasn’t an arcade or story mode and the character selection was minimal.
That being said, Street Fighter 5 also had to meet some strict deadlines, something that 6 didn’t have an issue with. Though it is coming out a few months before Evo and will be part of that event. Incidentally, Evo being created by Playstation was the reason that I chose to play this game on the PS5, which brings me to the fact of Framerate- the game has a very good Framerate on consoles and there isn’t much of an issue. You may experience issues with the PC version due to the fact that Denuvo has been added after launch, though this will eventually be removed once CAPCOM believes it has reached maximum sales potential. Once again, I’ll state that Denuvo denies that their program affects the framerate of games, though I personally don’t think that that is the case.
Street Fighter 6 comes with much more content than the previous game. As soon as you boot up the game, you have 3 modes to choose from: Battle Hub, which acts as sort of an arcade centre, which comes with a customisable avatar and a few things to interact within the area. While you can play a bunch of cabinet matches with people, which basically you wander over to arcades and wait for a person to challenge people or vice versa, it’s a basic fight. The game does give you an indication if the person you are battling is at a similar level to yourself. The Battle Hub is a basic main menu for all of the single-player and couch multiplayer modes.
You get arcade mode, the special battles, which I found enjoyable but I wonder how interesting they would be if I managed to get some multiplayer rounds with them, but it also links to doing online matches. You can also select ranked and casual matches from the battle hub, but the fighting ground also has that option as well. This, of course, also leads to the practice room, which you’ll want to use if you want to master a character.
Finally, there’s the World Tour mode, which acts as this game’s story mode. It involves your created avatar training with the Street Fighter cast and getting into scraps on the street. It’s essentially an RPG mixed with a fighting game.
All of these modes are enjoyable but I preferred casual matches since they didn’t feel as bad when you lost, and they also had unlimited rematches. The game also supports crossplay between all platforms, using Capcom’s ID system, though I do not believe it’s required to have a Capcom ID, I didn’t have to enter any login details when I started up, but I may have entered them into my Playstation previously without realising..
- Modern Controls
This has caused a bit of controversy within the fighting game crowd; the game offers two controls: classic controls, which play like any classic Street Fighter. You have to memorise combos to pull off special moves, the buttons are assigned with different punches and kicks, etc. Modern controls, however, are designed to be more friendly for newcomers. With modern controls, buttons are assigned to heavy attack, light attack, medium attack, and special moves, and you can press these buttons while holding R2 to perform a combo.
These come at a sacrifice. For one thing, modern controls which are made to make things fairer, actually weakened the move. Anyone who performed the same moves with classic controls actually does more damage than if you were to use the modern controls. The auto combos also come at the risk of the new stamina meter, which is used to perform moves to get out of combinations and make your opponent unable to block. The stamina moves were very enjoyable since they add an extra level of strategy to a fight.
But to be honest, I love the modern controls. I’ve never felt like I’ve been able to integrate myself into a Street Fighter game until I had this option, If you’re like me and have Dyspraxia, this is one way to finally get the full Street Fighter experience. I never could have pulled off these combos of special moves and I finally have the ability to do so. It’s a great way of making the game more approachable and it’s given me the Street Fighter experience I’ve always wanted to have. I seriously hope all fighting games implement something like this in the future.
Obviously, there have been complaints about this, but I feel like the fact that modern players have weaker moves and more risk with overperforming combos does address the balance. You can see by the other person’s health bar if they’re playing with modern or classic controls, so you’ll know ahead of time what you’re getting into.
If you want to know what character to go with, when you’re playing offline the character select screen will tell you how easy or hard they are to play with and if they’re a close or long-range fighter. I tended to pick the close-range fighters, hence why I was maining Cammy for most of my playtime. I recommend Lily for newcomers, as she’s one of the easiest to learn. The character you’re definitely going to find most online is Ken, he definitely seems like he’s the most popular character so far, probably because he’s top of the tier list.
- Online Multiplayer
I was genuinely worried about what the net coding would be like for Street Fighter 6, especially since it has to deal with the crossplay of several platforms and the net coding with Street Fighter 5 when it came out wasn’t good. Thankfully, the net coding is fantastic. It rarely ever had framerate drops, and I barely had any matches that I lost because of someone’s connection. I’ve tested out the game with both wifi and ethernet on my PS5, and they both ran excellently. I’ve also played against people on every platform and never had an issue. I can confirm that Playstation vs PC was very good since I faced ff against my colleague Ren to test the framerate in rooms. Our match was very easy to pull off and we had no real issues with framerate or connection using tow different systems. We played seven rounds and he won 6-1, in case anyone is curious.
I didn’t get a chance to test out couch multiplayer, but I suspect that that is the same deal.
I do have a slight complaint about the rankings, while I can’t use ranks in ranked mode but I can use stars, which is really deflating. The only time I had issues with the system itself, though, was when people decide to go offline. Before anyone asks, yes I did check that it wasn’t my internet that was the issue- I would always go straight into another match afterwards with no issue.
- Character Design
I think that the character design this time around is a massive step up from Street Fighter 5’s initial redesign roster. This obviously refers to the cast coming from their entries in Street Fighter 2, in which there’s a decent selection. I particularly liked DJ’s design and particularly Cammy’s redesign, which despite causing a rather sexist backlash, I think is still a really good design. Zangief’s one actually kind of makes sense considering the martial arts he specialises in. There’s not really a bad design in the bunch! Lily’s design is excellent, for a start, and I particularly liked Marisa, and Jamie also has a good design.
I did quite like JP’s design, but his character wasn’t that interesting.
If I had to choose a major issue with designs, I would pick the cover fighter, Luke. He’s a rather generic-looking character and doesn’t really stand out amongst the other characters and that will only become more prevalent when more characters come in.
- Arcade Mode
Arcade Mode is fine but it doesn’t tell that much of a story. There are definitely some good moments, Zangief’s was particularly good with the conclusion. I also liked where some of the stories were going, I think that Cammy’s one hints at more of her backstory, given what she has been going through throughout most of the series.
The issue is that it feels like it’s over before it gets a chance to get started, granted, you can improve that by upping the usual 5-match arcade to 12 matches, but even then, it kind of felt like arcade mode was a bit of an afterthought- though I do think that it will improve when they bring more fighters into the game.
- Character Selection at Launch
I praised the character designs but I think the selection is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some good ones here, a lot of the Street Fighter 2 cast is back including Zangief, Chun-LI, DJ, etc., and we have a good selection of new fighters also. It seemed like they went half and half on legacy fighters and new fighters. However, the character selection still feels a little bit shorter than I would have liked. Maybe four or five more fighters in the mix would have been cool. I do feel like I’m repeating myself a little bit when I’m online, but this might be due to the tier list system.
This criticism will be addressed since there will be 4 fighters coming in the first year alone, and since Street Fighter is an evolving e-sport there will be more as time goes on. They’ve already confirmed two new fighters and two legacy fighters, Rashid and Akuma.
There will be a lot of speculation about who will follow, but this also brings up an issue for me. I may sound a bit ungrateful, but I think 4 fighters in the first year is a little small… I think that when we go into year 2 I would like them to up the new fighters to either 6 or 8. Not only will we get new fighters, but there will be a lot of legacy fighters that people want like Sakura or Crimson Viper just to name a couple. It’s rather telling that we will go a full 12 months without M. Bison- you know, one of the most famous video game villains ever! If someone is going to come up with a storyline reason as to why he can’t be here, well, that guy has come back from the dead more than the Doctor!
- World Tour Mode
Let me stress that I didn’t dislike World Tour mode. I just found it rather bland overall. Let’s start with a basic rundown. You’re essentially playing a basic RPG where you’re managing health, moves, and equipment to build your fighter and you’re interacting with a storyline around the fighters. Start out in the first location, Metro City, and you go to other locations (they usually aren’t very big maps, and that’s one issue). It’s a rather lifeless story and it doesn’t feel like it’s giving us information about what’s going on in the Street Fighter canon at this point in time. Your interactions with the cast aren’t that interesting, either. My character being trained with Chun-Li should feel like a bigger deal than it is. Unless you make your character a complete clone of one of the masters, the avatar never quite feels that well thought out or balanced. Granted, that might be my ability in the game, which might explain why I lost a bunch of avatar fights, but I did alright enough in the single-player aspects of the story.
The whole thing just felt lifeless! This might get better as time goes on but at this point, I can’t really recommend World Tour. I know my colleague Ren had a similar thought about this part of the game as well, and I think it’s rather telling that I felt like I was forcing myself to play this part of the game because I was having way more fun playing a bunch of online matches.
I will revisit World Tour if it improves down the line, but for now, I just wish they included a story mode similar to Mortal Kombat and the Injustice games.
Street Fighter 6 is a fantastic game. The new controls make it feel very accessible whilst not alienating long-time fans, the game feels very balanced, and I didn’t feel like there were too many characters that needed much of a change to their stats (though I did find Manon’s grip move a bit annoying), and in all honesty, while I do think that the character selection is smaller than I would have liked, it’s a good set of characters so far.
I think that I’m going to be sticking with Street Fighter 6 for quite a while, it’s really an excellent fighting game. This has been one of my favourite fighting games in years and it’s really got me back into the series- but that opinion might change further down the line if some of the additions down the line don’t improve much, especially considering it’s in competitions with two other big fighting games being release in the next year.
FINAL SCORE: 9.2/10
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.
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