‘Street Fighter V’ Review

Platforms PS4 / PC

Publisher Capcom Developers Capcom, Dimps

Genre Fighter Platform Played PlayStation 4

Capcom, the company that brought us massive hits in the 1990’s such as Mega Man and Resident Evil, also single-handedly revolutionized the fighting genre in 1991 with its insanely popular Street Fighter 2. Twenty-Five years later and the Street Fighter franchise is still relevant. 2016 brings Street Fighter V, Capcom’s attempt at creating an approachable game while also appealing to the professional gaming audience, a difficult feat that was perhaps not executed in the best way possible. By trying out this new direction Capcom left itself producing a mediocre sequel that’s lacking in content on release and promising a whole lot for the future.

The most rewarding experience from Street Fighter V comes from its gameplay, which is fluid, responsive and very fun. The game took inspiration from both its predecessors, Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken to build a smooth gameplay experience. Unlike Street Fighter IV the controls and combos felt much easier to execute. These improved controls allow players new to the franchise to jump in and immediately kick ass and seasoned, advanced players to also dominate with a multitude of combinations. Character animations are super slick and it was highly enjoyable to see fighters clash in such a responsive way.

Along with upgraded controls came upgraded graphics. Street Fighter V’s graphics are phenomenal for a fighting game; it really feels ‘next-gen’. Stylistically it is closer to Street Fighter X Tekken than any of its predecessors but it also respects the original style of the retro games. The scenery in levels really sprung out and allowed the game to breathe and feel alive in moments. The background commotion in levels are animated and it brings a level of detail that is unseen in previous installments. Overall the levels are beautifully crafted allowing each of them to differ in style and feeling.

As great as gameplay is, what matters is where it’s put into use. The major issue in Street Fighter V is the lack of content. In this context, content means the variety of game modes it has to offer. The key game mode missing in Street Fighter V was arcade mode, an almost guaranteed and expected feature found in almost every previous entry in the series. Instead we were treated to a survival mode wherein the player had to strive to survive as long as possible, versing AI opponents. The main struggle is not only surviving but trying to score the most points without losing too much health between rounds, as health is carried over between matches. In between each round the player can enhance or worsen their situation by spending their accumulated points for example you can choose to refill your character’s health bar in exchange for a specific amount of points.

Story modes have never been a specialty in the Street Fighter series but this in this installment, Capcom really presented a great way to introduce characters to both new and seasoned players even though they were a little short. The story mode extended to every playable character and showcased a little snippet of backstory for each character through a combination of both animation and gameplay. Each character’s story mode featured 3 or 4 fights with opponents that were involved in each backstory. It was a great way to bring each character to life and in a way that newcomers can understand that they are more than mere playable avatars. The short animations perfectly captured each character’s personality and essence while telling the audience how they fit into the overarching story of the Street Fighter mythos.

The multiplayer is what made Street Fighter the iconic fighting series it is today and in this entry in the series, it was as you’d expect it. The local games worked flawlessly as stated whereas online matches, once loaded, only suffered from a few glitches and bugs with latency. The way online multiplayer is congregated in Street Fighter V is through the ‘Battle Lounge’, it acts as a lobby for players to host and compete online with each other in addition to player look-ups. The issue with the Battle Lounge is that it doesn’t work… well at least not in it’s full capacity. For example, on release there were issues with the stability of the Lounge and searching for players, it also suffered from hosting more than two players in a lounge. These issues should be ironed out as the game goes on.

Characters are what make the Street Fighter franchise as iconic as it is and in Street Fighter V, Capcom introduced some new characters at the expense of old iconic characters. The game’s line up features sixteen characters, four of which are new, fleshed out characters that bring a different mechanic and balance in addition to the original characters. Where Capcom went wrong in Street Fighter V was that it removed some of the most iconic characters in an attempt to make bank on some DLC. Iconic characters such as Guile, Balrog, Alex and Ibuki are missing in the release line-up and are planned at some point within the first year of the game’s release to be bundled and sold in a DLC pack. This really is disappointing as players must pay for characters that have been featured as default on release in previous installments. A redeeming factor is that players can unlock these characters by playing the game and earning credits, however the fact that players can simply choose to spend real money to obtain the characters defeats the purpose of earning the characters.

Street Fighter V captures the essence of Street Fighter for new generations, however, takes it into a different direction that isn’t ideal for the series. The gameplay presented was awesome, it was fluid, and easy to pick up and play with it’s improved controls. The fights were beautifully rendered in-game with a great attention to detail that gave each level it’s own identity and essence. As great as the gameplay and graphics were the game lacked in content. The lack of arcade mode and short story mode left me yearning for more to do. The survival mode that was introduced was uninspired and got repetitive very quickly. The multiplayer games, once working, were fine, but nothing special. It was great to see Capcom introduce new, well thought out characters however it really let us down by cutting out iconic characters and shipping them into DLC, it felt as if Capcom rushed the game to release.

The direction I felt Capcom was going into with this game was to quickly reintroduce the characters to the audience and then really drive an emphasis on the professional gaming demographic and try to hammer it as a viable option for professional competitions. While there is nothing wrong with this approach it felt that in order to achieve this new direction Capcom felt the need to sacrifice content and rush the game to release. It’s a must pickup for fans of the series, but for newcomers perhaps it’d be best to wait for the ‘Ultra’ Edition that will probably contain all characters when released.

The Good

  • Great Improved controls and button combinations.
  • Fluid Animations.
  • Easy to approach controls.
  • Phenomenal Visuals.
  • Great attention to detail in levels. 
  • Informative snippets of backstory for each character.

The Bad

  • No Arcade Mode.
  • Short Story mode.
  • Survival mode uninspired, repetitive.
  • Core characters not in lineup on release.
  • Constant Server Issues.

The Score: 6.5