To say we were disappointed with Street Fighter V at launch is an understatement. In terms of content it was truly lacking, especially for those who primarily play offline. Of course, it was something rectified by Capcom over time. And with the launch of Street Fighter 6, the same mistake hasn’t been made again. There are perhaps some things missing that we’d like to see added at a later date, but on the whole this already feels like a comprehensive package.
Street Fighter 6 has the air of a landmark title for the series. There are many familiar fighters here, some of which have been with the series from its very beginning. A number of them are looking pretty old now. Juxtaposed with the fresh blood – young, hip and full of spunk – you get the idea that Capcom is trying to transition the series away from its stalwart warriors. To be honest, it’s not something we’re against either, when it’s the newer combatants that generally prove to be the most interesting.
“The most accessible and inclusive entry in the series yet”
Or maybe it’s just that Street Fighter 6 aims to be the most accessible and inclusive entry in the series yet, something that it achieves with aplomb. There are fighters of varying ages, genders, and ethnicities here, making sure that there’s plenty of representation. And beyond that, there are features such as a modern control scheme, allowing players to compete with a simplified assortment of buttons. And none of this comes at the expense of any depth for veterans to the series. They can still play with the classic control scheme if they wish.
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In terms of modes, Capcom anticipates that most players sticking with Street Fighter 6 in the long run will be doing so for its online action. With that, the base download simply includes the Battle Hub, a place where players can hang out as their custom-created avatar and challenge other players to a range of battle types. It works well, capturing some of the magic of being in a physical arcade. Even better, the netcode is brilliant, ensuring that matches generally play out without a hitch. And when you want a bit of a break from the competitive action, there are even some classic Capcom arcade machines for you to play on with titles that change frequently.
Street Fighter 6 modes
Those that want more options when it comes to playing this latest entry in one of the biggest fighting game franchises in the world, World Tour and Fighting Ground are additional modes that can be downloaded. Jump into Fighting Ground and you’ll find the majority of fighting game staples. There’s an arcade mode where each character has their own story to be uncovered, and you’re rewarded with cutscenes and pieces of art for playing. There’s also versus mode where you can set up matches against the CPU or other local players. And there are even online multiplayer options for those who’d rather not deal with the faff associated with the Battle Hub.
What’s missing, however, are score attack, time attack and survival modes – these are all things we expect as standard now. But at least there are Extreme Battles, which allow players to go head-to-head with unique conditions. You can have health bars replaced with one single bar that swings one way or another as players gain momentum, for example. And gimmicks can be introduced, such as a bull that charges across the stage at random intervals. It certainly adds a bit of outlandish fun to the proceedings.
Perhaps what will be most interesting for some in Fighting Ground is the wealth of practice options that are available. As well as the usual options such as training and combo trials, there are even guides for each specific character, letting players get up to speed with them without having to look elsewhere. It truly is a wonderful inclusion, making Street Fighter 6 a great game for newcomers to the series despite that big number 6 at the end of its title.
World Tour is another great mode for newcomers, too, and those seeking some long-term single player action. In World Tour, players are tasked with creating their own unique fighter, and then taking them on a journey to discover what it means to have true power. They get to explore Metro City, completing missions and engaging thugs in battle, earning valuable experience, zenny and more in the process. Even random NPCs can be challenged to a fight, or simply attacked with an iconic special move to truly get their attention. It’s a bit like a cut-down Yakuza game with a less dramatic storyline and traditional Street Fighter battles.
World Tour mode does have some disappointments, though. For one, you’ll definitely want to go into the options menu before jumping into it and enable performance mode, otherwise you’ll find the fights playing out at 30fps, which is horrendous. The visuals can also be underwhelming in World Tour mode at times, and it’s a travesty that while you can travel away from Metro City to other locations across the globe, you can’t really explore them. Still, it’s very rewarding creating your own Street Fighter character, seeking out new masters in order to learn their fighting styles before putting together your own selection of special moves.
Street Fighter 6 is “more fluid, responsive and enjoyable than ever before”
Ultimately, though, it’s the combat at the heart of Street Fighter 6 that will make it a hit with fighting game fans. It takes the core mechanics that the series is known for and refines them, making it more fluid, responsive and enjoyable to play than ever before. Then there’s the new Drive system to consider. This deepens the gameplay by giving players new ways to counter attacks and put pressure on opponents. Use it poorly, however, and you can also find yourself a sitting duck for a period of time.
Launching with a strong and varied roster of fighters and a range of modes that should satisfy most players, Street Fighter 6 is a triumph. The combat here is stronger than it’s ever been, and a serious effort has been made to make this the most accessible and inclusive fighting game yet. Whether you spend your time developing your custom-made fighter in World Tour, fighting against others in the Battle Hub, or practising your skills in Fighting Grounds, Street Fighter 6 doesn’t fail to impress and entertain. For fighting game fans, this should be considered essential.