Street Fighter V is finally here. The latest entry in the Street Fighter franchise is determined to bring in new players with its streamlined battle system and an online mode heavily influenced by popular MOBA League of Legends. I have been a fan of the Street Fighter games since I was a kid; I used to play SFII at the now long gone Tilt arcade. And I have been looking forward to this game for a long time. But does Street Fighter V live up to the franchise’s name, or is it a dud?
*Disclaimer:*For the purposes of this review, I primarily used the Hori Fighting Commander 4 controller for the PS4, which I personally recommend for all fighting game fans.
Welcome to the World of Street Fighter V
SFV boasts a roster of 16 playable characters. You have your franchise mainstays in one corner: Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, Bison, Vega, Dhalsim, and Zangief. Returning from the Street Fighter Alpha series are Birdie, R. Mika, Nash/Charlie, and Karin. But it wouldn’t be a Street Fighter game without some fresh faces. New to the franchise are the Aztec monster Necalli, the Brazilian beauty Laura, arabic hurricane Rhasid, and the poisonous new god of Shadoloo, F.A.N.G..
But even returning characters have had some modifications. Vega and Nash are both no longer charge characters. Instead their inputs have been changed to a more Shoto-esque style. Nash, in particular, is a more slow, methodical character, but he’s a beast when he gets within grabbing range.
Graphically, the game is beautiful. The PS4 runs at a smooth 60 FPS for the 16 fighters, with background animations running at 30 FPS. There are several clipping issues present, however. Sometimes, hair or objects tend to pass through the characters’ bodies like it was not really there. Kind of hurts the immersion into the world of Street Fighter, but let’s get to the real reason you bought (or are considering) this game.
Round 1: Fight!
Gamers who were fans of Street Fighter IV can expect toned down gameplay in this iteration. Characters tend to move slower and feel more weighty, which brings back memories of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. This is, honestly, one of the most streamlined Street Fighter games we’ve had in a long time. V is nowhere near as daunting as Alpha 3 was system-wise. The Super Art meter is back under the Critical Art name, where characters can charge up for a devastating maneuver or use part of the gauge to power up a special attack. Each character has only one Critical Art move (as of this review), but players can expect more to come in future updates.
Street Fighter V boasts a new system called the V-Gauge, a separate meter used for attacks like V-Skill, V-Trigger, and V-Reversal. Players can build up their V-Gauge by simply pressing both medium punch and kick buttons together at the same time. The actions each character takes when charging the meter vary. Some may parry moves, like in 3rd Strike, but others may attack their opponents. Once the meter is fully charged, it gives players an advantage by either supercharging special moves or unleashing an unique V-Skill.
Round 2: Fight (Online)!
Let’s talk features. Street Fighter V boasts a very robust multiplayer experience. Players are able to register a nickname with the Capcom Fighting Network, where their stats are tracked and they can find other players to have matches with. By playing matches online, gamers are able to earn both Fight Money and League Points. Fight Money will eventually be used to unlock characters and costumes when the online shop opens in March.
League Points work very similar to those in League of Legends. You start out unranked and advance once you obtain a certain amount of points. But be careful, since you can lose your standing if you constantly lose ranked matches. As of this review, Matchmaking has been working smoothly (it had a spotty launch). I haven’t had too many issues getting into a match. The longest I’ve probably waited is around 5 minutes.
If you enjoy the simple pleasures of battle and don’t care about points and ranks, you can use the Casual Match Mode or the Battle Lounge to play with your friends. Battle Lounge only supports two players at a time, but will support 8 in the March update.
Round 3: Go For Broke!
As excellent as the multiplayer is, Street Fighter V has a dearth of single player content. To begin with, there is no Arcade Mode. That’s right. One of the main features that practically every fighting game has is not present in Street Fighter V. Instead, there is a Story Mode where each character tends to have two to three one round fights against the CPU on the easiest difficulty level. Not a very fulfilling substitute. The closest thing SFV has to an Arcade Mode is the Survival Mode, but there’s not much to it, outside of earning Fight Money and unlocking character colors. In fact, if you’re not connected to the internet, you will not be earning anything, even playing the little single player content there is! I thought we’d moved beyond games always requiring an online connection for single player content.
While writing this review, Capcom came out and addressed the lack of Arcade Mode and is looking into maybe implementing it in a future patch, but that’s not much of a consolation. Even the more obscure of fighting games have always come with an Arcade Mode, so players can still fight against the computer if there’s no one else to play with. For Capcom to not include such a basic feature is asinine, specially considering this is a full priced title.
I’m going to be honest. I still had a decent time with Street Fighter V, but I can only recommend it at this point to players who just want to have a worthwhile multiplayer experience. There’s just not enough single player content. While an extended Cinematic Story Mode is coming, the game is just not worth the $60 Capcom is asking for. It feels like I paid for an early access game. I would recommend waiting until the March update before taking the plunge. By then, we will have the online store, a new character to play as, and hopefully the Arcade Mode. Until then, save your money.
- Streamlined Fighting System
- New Characters
- Amazing Graphics
- Clipping Issues
- Requires Online Connection In Single Player Modes
- Lackluster Single Player Content
- Feels Like An Early Access Game