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Street Fighter V Review

Street Fighter V Review

It’s been seven years now since Street Fighter IV was first released on home consoles in Europe and North America. Seven years is a long time to spend with one game, especially when new iterations of rivals Mortal Kombat and Tekken were seen throughout that time. Rather than making an immediate jump to a new numbered release, Capcom continued to hone Street Fighter IV, consistently issuing balance updates along with new characters and other additions to the game.

Having had so much time with the old combat system makes Street Fighter V so welcome. Built to feel like a new experience, the fights are faster and more energetic. While frame by frame analysis would show that pulling off the same moves and combos from before takes the same amount of time, the amount of damage they deal is now higher. Returning players will also notice the reduction of hard knockdowns, an effect that knocks a player to the ground for a short period, keeping each fight moving rather than having it broken up by multiple pauses.

Chun li2

Introduced for Street Fighter V is the Variable System. Each character now has their own V-Skill, V-Trigger, and V-Reversal. The V-Skill, triggered by pressing medium punch and medium kick simultaneously, can be used at any time in a fight, and its effect can be offensive, defensive, or something else entirely - Ken’s is an attack that closes distance rapidly, Ryu’s blocks projectiles, and Birdie’s can fill up his V-Gauge.

The V-Gauge is related to the V-Trigger and V-Reversal, and dictates when you can use them. You typically fill the gauge through using your V-Skill and by taking damage. The V-Trigger is another special move, but they tend to be more on the offensive side. In most cases, the V-Trigger puts a character into a more powerful state, dealing heavier damage with normal and special moves, and can also augment certain attacks on occasion. The V-Reversal is used during a block to counterattack and knock back the opponent. The use of the V-Reversal spends one full block of the V-Gauge, and the number of blocks in a gauge varies between characters.

zangief vs bison3

The Variable System may seem pretty simple to the more hardcore of fighting fans, but will make picking up Street Fighter V easier for new players. With a tap of two buttons, the tide of a battle can shift from one hand to the other - strong comebacks seem to be something the developers have aimed for. Other special moves in general have easier input commands, with only a couple of charged attack based characters available now. Oh, how long I’ve wished I could be good as M.Bison...

The strengths and weaknesses of each fighter feel far more apparent in Street Fighter V compared to other entries in the series, and with other games in the fighting genre too. While Ryu and Ken being so similar became a joke that is even recognised in the story, each member of the roster has a more apparent playstyle than before - however, Ryu is still going to be the go-to character for new players, with his equal balance of offensive and defensive traits. By limiting the number of fighters to 16 (the Ultra Street Fighter IV release had 44!), Capcom were able to design each one to feel different, with less overlap between them, though you do still have the same categories like your grapplers and your zoners.

chun li vs birdie

On launch, some may be surprised by the lack of modes available. The game ships with Character Story, local Versus, Survival, a tutorial, and online Ranked and Casual modes. A tutorial is something I think Street Fighter has needed for a long time, as when I tried to jump on with Street Fighter IV, I bounced right off after my first few rounds. This takes you through the basics like movement to start with, but then teaches you about which attacks can be blocked with which guard, and how to pull off flashier moves. It also uses old school skins for Ryu and Ken, which is a nice touch.

The Challenge mode that tasks you with pulling off advanced combinations is not present yet, with a release planned for March. For those like me who tend to play their fighting games offline, you’ll probably find yourself in Survival for a while, what with there being no standard, single fight, Player vs CPU to be found. This bugged me at first, as I don’t usually stick to one character but luckily, the Character Story mode should help you find one.

bison splashart3

This is the equivalent of an Arcade or a Ladder mode, but rather than just being a series of fights bookended with a cutscene, these stories act as a precursor to the full fledged Story mode that should be coming in June. That mode will have more in common with what we’ve seen from Mortal Kombat in its last two releases, with voiced and animated cutscenes throughout. What we have at the moment are short snippets of backstory that serve to introduce each character's motivations and relationships to one another. Playing out as a mere handful of battles interlaced with voiced storyboard sections, a single character may take only minutes, but with sixteen to complete, it will take some time.

Street Fighter V’s Survival has more depth to it than I anticipated too. I expected it to just challenge me to face as many opponents with a single life bar as I could, but no - with each fight, you earn points, and you can sacrifice some of your points for boosts. These are supposedly randomly generated, offering damage and defense buffs, refills to your various gauges, but most important are the health refills. There does seem to be a more random element to these in particular as sometimes you can splash out and refill your health completely for a sizeable number of points, or it’ll offer a mere quarter for significantly less.

laura vs ken4

There are four levels of difficulty and they change the number of foes you have to face from an easy 10 up to a hellish 100. My first attempt on Normal took me through 29 of the 30 rounds, before I was battered by Bison in the last fight. Beating the boss in the final round unlocks a new colour swap for the character you were using, making your appearance an earned reward to show off online.

Fights also reward Fight Money that can be spent on items in a shop that doesn’t exist yet, but will be added in the March update. In this shop, you’ll be able to buy new skins for the 16 characters and also the new characters as they are released. The current plan is for a new character to be released each month, with Street Fighter III’s Alex announced for March. It has been said that when you complete every character's story, you will have earnt the 100,000FM to buy a new character, or alternatively you could earn it through Survival or winning online matches.

For those who don’t have time to pour dozens of hours into Street Fighter V each month, you can also purchase another currency called Zenny, with new characters marked as 600 Zenny or $6, and premium skins at 400 Zenny or $4.

cammy vs dhalsim2

In this pre-release state, the online servers are functioning well. The strength of the net code will make or break a competitive fighting game, and as of writing, I have faced no problems connecting to matches or experienced game breaking lag. A good sign for now, but we all know stories of games that buckled upon release day. Hopefully after the number of beta tests that Capcom have held over the past months, the servers will hold up.

As per usual, you can switch on Fight Request, which will actively search for online battles in the background while you practice your combos in training or climb the Survival ladder. You can also set your preferred character at the same time, so you and your opponent jump immediately into combat when the connection is made.

Street Fighter, as it always has been, is best played with a friend, but when the situation means that they can’t actually be sat on the sofa with you, you can set up a Battle Lounge. While only supporting two players at the moment, that legendary March update is set to introduce eight player lounges, so I imagine innumerable “winner stays on” sessions will be in effect across the globe.

laura vs nash 4

Some may argue that it’s just more of the same old Street Fighter, but take the time to identify how the gameplay has been rebalanced and give it another shot. We also have to remember that this is the same company, that gave us the (budget priced) Super Street Fighter IV just a year after the vanilla game launched, to introduce updates and new characters - now, Capcom are giving these two things out for free!

All in all, Street Fighter V is an excellent expansion of one of history’s most prestigious franchises. Capcom have addressed the weaknesses and redesigned the combat for the next generation, and introduced a small cast of new characters who should quickly become as memorable as your Blankas and your E.Hondas of old. Though lacking what feels like some basic modes, we know they’re coming soon. Street Fighter V is the best fighting game available on the PlayStation 4 and the PC, and easily surpasses what the Xbox One has to offer. Street Fighter is back on top.

8.00/10 8

Street Fighter V (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Street Fighter V is the best fighting game available on the PlayStation 4 and the PC, and easily surpasses what the Xbox One has to offer. Street Fighter is back on top.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Tom Bickmore

Tom Bickmore

Staff Writer

Biggest mug at GameGrin

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Brad - 04:04am, 16th February 2016

Ill get this on My Microsoft Windows 10 PC :) 4k 60FPS graphics that obliterate PS4 :) :) :O