Street Fighter V is quite possibly one of the most-anticipated fighting games to be released in the past few years, possibly even in the past decade. And like in many cases, the greater the anticipation – the greater the disappointment. Capcom has a masterful PR and marketing team, and while overhyped games are not exactly uncommon, it’s a bit surprising that a Street Fighter title would be one of them.
It’s not all bad though, as Street Fighter V has some pretty revolutionary approaches to the future of fighting games. Capcom has long been a favorite of gamers everywhere when it comes to fun but execution-heavy fighting games. This title is no different and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a solid fighter.
First off, let’s talk about some of the biggest changes this time around. Street Fighter V introduces the V-system which, in a sense, replaces the Focus, Super, and Ultra system of Street Fighter IV. V stands for “variable”, and the system has three modes, V-Trigger, V-Skills, and V-Reversals. Every fighter in the SFV roster has a unique skill called the V-Skill. These moves are easy to perform and are meant as a replacement for the Focus attack. V-Reversals are simple but powerful counters to your opponent’s moves, assuming you can execute them with proper timing. Last but not least, V-Triggers are a temporary buff to each fighter’s abilities, but can also change the mechanics or properties of signature moves such as Ryu’s Hadouken.
Initially I was a bit skeptical about the removal of the Focus attack elements from SFV, but after a solid week of toying around with the V-System and seeing how the pros utilize it, I think it’s an excellent switch. This system is also pretty unique and causes even veteran Street Fighter players to alter their gameplan, as well as allow for serious comeback potential. Ultra/Super attacks make a return in the form of a single “Critical Art” specialized to each character.
One of my favorite things about Street Fighter V has to be the sounds and character themes. Each fighter has their own special theme and they all sound pretty amazing, whether it’s a classic throwback such as Chun Li’s theme, or a brand new arrangement in M. Bison and Rashid’s theme. Regardless of who you choose to fight with, the music is pretty spot-on. The same can be said for the sound of hits and special moves; every fierce punch or Shoryuken gives the impression of being hit by a truck, just as you watch your character react in agony or revel in your opponent’s misery.
Graphically, this game is both a hit and a miss. For a game released on both PC and PlayStation 4, the backgrounds, characters, and special attacks look pretty damn beautiful and just as unique and stylized as Street Fighter IV before it. Hadoukens look mesmerizing in their plasma flow and hit just as hard. Backgrounds are full of colorful sets and diverse characters, as well as an Easter egg or two. Unfortunately, clipping issues and a few poorly rendered textures give away the unpolished nature of a game barely over a year in development.
Unfortunately we now come to the part where we expose some of the more fraudulent aspects of Street Fighter V. Probably the most talked about problem with SFV is its lack of content. At the moment, SFV barely has a Story Mode, completely lacks an arcade mode, and is completely focused on online play and a Survival Mode that is only used to unlock colors for alternative costumes.
Broken AI that doesn’t promote decent Street Fighter mechanics and an online battle lobby that only allows for one slot also drags down an otherwise remarkable improvement in the Street Fighter series. In addition, legacy support was promised for controllers and fight sticks, yet this is strangely absent in the final release. Many controllers and sticks aren’t compatible and it might take some time to find working controllers/sticks that aren’t the Dualshock 4. To address these issues, Capcom has already announced that a multi-player battle lobby, a Store where you can buy skins and DLC fighters, and balancing changes will release sometime in March. Unfortunately since this isn’t part of the game now, I can’t review those aspects and they won’t be reflected in the final score.
All in all, it seems Capcom felt the need to rush the game to completion in time for EVO and to capitalize on the hype that was building since the game was announced. This has resulted in a game that feels very incomplete, despite it’s pretty awesome fighting mechanics and solid gameplay. At the moment, Street Fighter V has the potential to be one of the greatest fighting games ever released, but falls flat on release as a tool used only for preparation for this year’s tournaments.
If you’re a Street Fighter die-hard or serious tournament competitor, the extra time to practice might be worth the $60 price tag. However, if you’re a casual player or someone who’s just getting into the Street Fighter scene, you may want to avoid this one until it’s more… complete. Until then, we patiently wait for Capcom to rise up and complete the Street Fighter V experience.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.