Street Fighter V is touted to be the best fighting game ever, but a barebones release pushes it further from achieving that goal.
The Street Fighter franchise has always been projected as the gold standards when it came to competitive fighting games. It has come a long way from its arcade days to the current console and PC gaming generation. Retaining some iconic characters from the series, Street Fighter V witnesses a new set of gameplay mechanics while continuing the prevalent mechanics and combos. For those who have no idea about the game, which would be hard to believe, Street Fighter V is a one-versus-one fighting game that lets you pick fighters from a roster of funny and colourful characters. It’s the latest game in the series of a long-running franchise and Capcom is taking a different approach with this game.
The game has 16 characters, each with their own story mode that includes the most popular ones such as Ryu, Ken and Chun Li while introducing new characters such as Necalli, Rashid and Laura. As stated earlier, the franchise is considered to be the frontrunner of the genre, thanks to their dedication in building depth into the game mechanics and combat. Street Fighter V does try to carry the baton with the introduction of the V-system which is a first for the franchise. The Variable system is different for each character and it’s further divided into three tools including V-Trigger, V-Skills and V-Reversal where all three are dependent on the V-Gauge levels. V-Trigger can be activated by pressing the medium punch and medium kick buttons simultaneously, invoking certain qualities in the character such as parrying an attack with Ryu. V-Skills will enhance the character’s powers and abilities. Finally, V-Reversal is an important counterattack mechanic that could put the match to your favour with a series of blows and power attacks. If you’re new to the franchise, you’ll feel refreshed with the mechanics as slowly you realise it’s more about using the right combos rather than button mashing your way to victory.
V-Trigger can be activated by pressing the medium punch and medium kick buttons simultaneously, invoking certain qualities in the character such as parrying an attack with Ryu. V-Skills will enhance the character’s powers and abilities. Finally, V-Reversal is an important counterattack mechanic that could put the match to your favour with a series of blows and power attacks. If you’re new to the franchise, you’ll feel refreshed with the mechanics as slowly you realise it’s more about using the right combos rather than button mashing your way to victory.
Apart from the fighting mechanics, the game lacks a lot and having released an incomplete game, additionally contributed the reason behind all the flak the game received. Yes, Street Fighter V caters mostly to the competitive fighting enthusiasts but a Story Mode is something that gives you another avenue to play with all the characters. Right from the artwork to the story, the mode felt dull and should have been richer. Since you didn’t have much competition from the AI players, it wasn’t a fun experience and beating them was too easy. Also, the story modes are extremely short and together with the easy level of AI, along with the absence of a best of three mode, you won’t be spending much time in completing them. All the 16 characters have their own story modes and by skipping the ignorable cutscenes, you will be able to finish all the story modes in about an hour. That is how short and disappointing the story mode has been made.
The tutorials in the game aren’t quite helpful in teaching you how to survive a round and only show you basic combat and movements. Street Fighter V doesn’t have an arcade mode, so once you’re done with the tutorial, you’ll have to rely on playing with real players to improve your combat skills. But the March update brings in a new game mode that does a good job in familiarising you with the combos, more on that later. As you fight and win matches (or lose), you will earn Fighting Money that can be spent to buy stuff from the in-game shop. So basically, the more you play, the more you will be able to unlock which is a fair model to incorporate.
Probably the most frustrating issue with the game that got everyone riled up was the entire online experience. You would have to stay online for most part of the game. We didn’t face any issues in matchmaking, and were able to find a decent number of players online. We played the game after installing the March update, which apparently took care of all the bugs present during online gameplay.
Rather than having more Street Fighter games from the same version, the company will be releasing timed updates to Street Fighter V within the game to introduce new features and game modes. You won’t be seeing any Super or Ultra spin offs of the same game, seen in the previous one. For now, the March update includes the Challenge Mode where you can polish your fighting combo skills so that you don’t go out embarrassing yourself every time. Practicing these tutorials surely helps you learn various combos that are sometimes capable of completely turning the game upside down. Another update includes the in-game shop where you’ll be able to buy characters, colours, costumes, and stages, as they are made available by Capcom.
One thing to note is that you can’t buy characters or costumes with real money yet, and currently, you’ll have to spend the fight money you earn in the game to buy stuff. The company is working on their Zenny shop, Zenny being the in-game currency that can be bought with real money. This update makes up for certain bugs and matchmaking issues reported by numerous players, and now it additionally has included eight-person lobbies and a rematch option if you want to give a second go at your opponent. It also marks the release of the company’s first DLC character Alex, and due to the absence of Zenny, players can buy Alex for free for a trial period.
While writing this review, Capcom confirmed the details about the April update which will be introducing the next DLC character Guile, who is another iconic character from the franchise. Just like Alex, players will be able to play as Guile until the trial period ends. It will also see the first DLC arena: Air Force Base which can be bought by fight money whereas season pass owners will get it for free. The last piece of update includes an improved matchmaking system and a rage quit system that punishes players deliberately disconnecting from matches when they’re losing. Capcom is set to add four more characters to the roster this year and all of them will be available for free if they are released before the launch of the Zenny currency.
Once available, the trial period will end and players will either have to buy upgrades with Zenny, Fight Money or their season passes. Season Pass owners will also have access to exclusive premium costumes until the launch of the game’s currency and will be allowed to retain character access even after the trial period ends. It’s an incremental pipeline of updates, and Capcom intends to keep pushing improvements eventually.
Street Fighter V – Verdict
Back when the game was launched, it was incomplete and ridden with bugs. It lacked the expected game modes and features (which is still does) but with the March update, it’s evident that Capcom is committed to bring in changes by offering them for free. Whether the game was worth a buy at launch was a head spinner for newcomers. Although, the recent update did bring in a few features, it still is an incredibly fun game to play. All the characters have their own unique power ups and combos, and after mastering them, it’s satisfying to K.O. your opponents. If you’re fine with the current set of offerings by the game and also happen to be a Street Fighter fan, you shouldn’t really have a second thought on purchasing the game.
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Abhijit "BabuMoshaaye" Dey
This ape-descended life form believed that coming down from the trees was a bad idea until he was introduced to video games. Has spent endless hours playing Prince of Persia, Hitman, Assassin's Creed, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life and Left 4 Dead. This makes it three sentences, Half-Life 3 confirmed.