The World Warriors are back and ready to give you one of those beatings!
At last, the world-famous fighting game from Capcom, Street Fighter 6, is coming to PC and consoles on June 2 under the tutelage of RE Engine and a whole new outlook on life.
Combat is an art, and Street Fighter 6 is the canvas
Here it is, finally on our doorstep; Street Fighter 6 lands in just a few days. I can’t say how excited I was to dive back into it after the various Betas offered teased players just enough to bring them back for more.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve played several modes of Street Fighter 6, including solo, locally, and online. Honestly, I was scared to go online because I remember how difficult and painful it was to compete successfully against other players in Street Fighter 5. There were always issues pushing us to check my NAT network, my internet provider’s filters or my router to see if any ports were available. Something that the most ordinary mortal who does not work in networking could not understand.
I can’t say it was the best experience ever since access was limited to the media, so meeting opponents was a bit difficult, but everything was there.
Right off the bat, I’ll say this was the best Street Fighter experience in a long time. Maybe even ever.
New game, new GUI and new controls
As mentioned above, Street Fighter 6 has been completely rebuilt from scratch with a new graphics engine created by Capcom itself: RE Engine. Used for newer games in the Resident Evil franchise and Monster Hunter Rise, it’s also big enough to handle the colossal loadout the fast-paced fighting game offers.
In order to make Street Fighter 6 more accessible to the general public, Capcom decided to; in addition to the classic controls longtime fans know and love, newcomers can now join in and feel welcome with modern controls that take the guesswork out of combos and specials. I think this is easily the best thing the series has offered in years, and you can see new barriers being broken for players once cautious about joining the fray.
The controls were always configured so that three face buttons were used for punches: Light Punch, Medium Punch and Hard Punch, and three face buttons for kicks: Light Kick, Medium Kick and Hard Kick. For the rest, it was enough to know the combinations of combos of the different characters, which took into consideration the directional joystick and the keys pressed. Of course, you also have the grabs, which combine a Punch button with a Kick button.
Now, there is also a Modern mode which consists of simplifying the combos to allow a total neophyte to give you a phenomenal beating without knowing a single moveset of the game by assigning movesets to button combinations. In my case, it was about placing three moves on the cross button, three on the square button, and three on the triangle button.
Imagine the scene: You are playing against your younger sibling to see who will wash the dishes for dinner. You play as Chun-Li, and your life gauge is half, and that of your opponent, Ryu, who does not know the game, is almost empty. You know many of the moves and just wanted to humiliate him properly. You’re about to give him a Spinning Bird Kick in Ryu’s face to finish him off, when suddenly you’re hit with a Tatsumaki Sempukyaku combo followed by a Shoryuken and, finally, a Hadoken before you hit the floor and are knocked out! Surprised, you ask him or her how he or she knows these attacks, and the answer is “Back and cross, front square and front triangle!”.
Finally, there is also the Dynamic mode, which lets the AI choose the moveset according to the distance separating you from your opponent.
Add to this new control system new mechanics, which will probably force you to look at the initial tutorial, and that’s a very good thing. A multi-segmented yellow bar has appeared under your life gauge, replacing Street Fighter 5’s V-Gauge. This is called Drive Meter and is, in fact, a bar that gives you access to different skills by game, including:
Drive Impact: a powerful charged attack that absorbs incoming attacks;
Drive Rush: a skill that allows you to close in on your enemy quickly;
Drive Parry: a technique that allows you to perform a parry and, thus, increase the gauge of the Drive Meter;
Drive Reversal: thanks to this, you can retaliate on an opposing strike. It does not inflict a lot of damage but can be very useful;
Overdrive: Overdrive is an ultimate attack using the Overdrive gauge at the bottom of the screen under your character. Your gauge has three levels and three different attacks that are stronger than each other.
Street Fighter 6 offers three main game modes: the World Tour, the Battle Hub and the Fighting Ground. In World Tour, you create your fighter and roam the streets of Metro City to become the best fighter. Face citizens, police, miscreants and even the famous figures of the franchise in fights to prove your worth while following the teachings of Luke or other World Fighters.
You would like to have the fighting stance of a drunk karate master like Jamie, dash into your opponent using Zangief’s Flying Body Press, get the enemy’s jaws up from a Shoryuken from Ryu or Ken and the Sonic Boom from Guile. You will be able to combine the skills of all the fighters who will become your mentors and, thus, become the best in all of Metro City, nay… in the world!
On the other hand, Fighting Grounds is the classic game mode. This is where you will have access to the Arcade mode, this famous story mode where you follow your characters’ progress in different fights worldwide. You will also find the Versus mode, allowing you to play one-against-one or fight in teams. You will also have access to the training, tutorials, guides and various challenges that the game will want to offer you, as well as special events that will also be available, including extreme combat. You will also have access to the Online mode in order to make ranked or friendly matches, as well as the combat room, which is a place to face other players in personalized fights.
The Battle Hub is the mode that made me gloat the most. It’s an ample online multiplayer space where players can get together. You can fight other players, interact with them, and participate in special events.
It’s simple; the Battle Hub is a bit like the digital equivalent of my youth. You sit at an arcade terminal, and you can face another player who also comes to the terminal with you. You can also encourage other players during a session or chat with others in the room. As if that weren’t enough, you can relax on the terminals and play classic Capcom games while waiting for your match. It had a relaxing effect on me after a hard day’s work. I could go to the Battle Hub, chat with the people there and go do some fights.
Capcom’s built a lot of goodwill but the microtransactions are still suspicious
Where the shoe pinches, and again this is just a personal opinion, is the presence of wall-to-wall microtransactions. Street Fighter 6, although you’ll spend $80 to get it, will also offer transactional.
Fighting Pass: the classic equivalent of the Battle Pass system, it will allow acquirers to obtain a stack of free rewards and other premium ones.
Fighter Coins: These coins can be purchased with real money and used in-game to purchase new characters and various items for the avatars you will create, including outfits, alternate colours, stamps, emotes and gear in World Tour shops.
Drive Tickets: These tickets can only be earned in-game by completing certain challenges and will allow you to acquire various in-game items.
Some items will be purchasable with Fighter Coins and Drive Tickets, while others will be exclusively available with Fighter Coins. In contrast, avatar gear purchased with Fighter Coins or earned through the Fighting Pass will only affect your avatar’s appearance. It will not have any parameter attributes that affect gameplay in World Tour and Avatar Battles in the Battle Hub. These items are purely aesthetic transactions and in no way Pay To Win.
If you look at the different rosters available in the Street Fighter franchise, there are 18 playable characters plus the custom avatar you create, making it almost 20 characters to choose from right from the start. In this set of characters, there are several new characters we’ve never seen before, including the Chinese drunken fighter Jamie, an intentionally sloppy brawler who is often unpredictable. You can also count on Kimberly, an African American ninja-style fighter who’s fond of 80s pop culture. Descendant of the Thunderfoot tribe, the new indigenous fighter from Mexico, Lily, will surely give you some trouble using her Aztec weaponry and her significant fighting prowess. Other female characters from France hit the roster with her graceful skills: Manon, while Marisa, claiming ancestry to ancient Greek warriors, will deliver powerful punches and kicks with her close-ranged fighting skills. Finally, the last new character on the roster is JP, a well-dressed old man fighting with a cane and wielding mysterious powers.
On the other hand, we have renowned fighters willing to punch their way through as well, as Ken, Ryu, Chun-Li, Blanka, Zangief, Luke, Dee Jay, Cammy, Guile, Dhalsim, E. Honda, and Juri return to kick some butts.
The Best Around
The visuals of Street Fighter 6 are genuinely superb. All the characters are excellent, and the details are dazzling. Each character you play has its distinct style and combined with the well-chosen soundtrack, it all comes together to create moments of intense fun.
A minor point that I loved: when you are knocked down in a fight, and you have to choose between continuing or giving up, your character is covered with bruises and other injuries, which show how much he has damage he’s taken throughout the match! This kind of small attention to detail demonstrates how much detail the team behind Street Fighter 6 wanted it to be. Of course, the characters we meet in World Tour are not quite interesting and show that they are simple NPCs placed there to make the atmosphere pleasant, but when it comes time to combat, that’s something else.
Finally, Street Fighter 6 is ready to welcome fighters in large numbers, even online. You can fight them via the Battle Hub or the Fighting Ground, but it won’t be as painful as in Street Fighter 5. I only spent a handful of hours online as I was more prone to visiting the World Tour than anticipated. I’m eager to check out and battle against other players when June rolls around and the lobbies are populated with players at every skill level!
The Real-Time Commentary Feature is a neat new feature for the fight community to use and enjoy. Capcom is working with the FGC (Fight Game Community) commentators to incorporate their voices into the game. When you enter a match, you’ll hear the commentary narrating your match like an actual tournament. The commentators will even explain the movesets to you to help newcomers understand the mechanics better. In my hours playing through the several modes, I found the inclusion of the commentary to be impressive as it elevates matches and makes you feel like a professional player on the grand stage. I wish more fighters could hear commentary on your matches going forward.
Street Fighter 6 is impressive both visually and with its soundtrack. Battles are intense and exciting, whether you’re used to classic, modern or dynamic controls. The responsiveness between the moment you press a key and the action is almost instantaneous and gives you the impression that you are in sole control of the situation.
The only big disappointment, in my eyes, is this damn microtransaction system because being able to acquire characters through this Fighting Pass or with Fighter Coins demonstrates that there are likely to be key characters that players would like to have but, unfortunately, will tempt you to add money to your wallet.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Without a doubt, Street Fighter 6 is the best and most accessible entry in the long-running series. Anyone can jump in, and there is a lot of content to keep you busy and practicing on the road to World Champion.
Updated and brilliant use of RE Engine
The addition of modern controls
World Tour mode is one of the best new additions the series has had in years