Street Fighter is one of most iconic and beloved fighting games to ever hit the gaming market. Capcom has been putting out franchise installments for over 20 years and with each iteration they push the fighting game genre to become better. As a person who plays games from many different genres, I must admit I am not the greatest at fighters, but I do enjoy the competitiveness of it all. After putting in several hours with the game, here are my impressions of Street Fighter V for the PlayStation 4.
The Good: Fun Factor
Character Variety / Balanced Fighters / Graphics / New Mechanics / Earning DLC Characters
First off I would like to say this is my first time playing an original Street Fighter game at the vanilla version, so everything is new to me for the most part. One of the best things about Capcom’s next generation of Street Fighter are the characters themselves. Street Fighter 5 launched with 16 characters and so far all of them are well balanced, which is a great thing. Some characters play the same as before with minor tweaks in timing and links, then there are characters like Vega who play completely different then he did in earlier interactions.
There are some main characters that have been in the Street Fighter franchise since the beginning like Ken, Vega, Chun- Li, M. Bison, Zangeif, Dhalsim and Ryu. Then there are some that come from the iconic Street Fighter Alpha series like Charlie Nash, Birdie, Cammy, Rainbow Mika and Karin Kanzuki. These choices really show that Capcom wanted to bring some nostalgia with long time fan favorites. Capcom also mixed it up a little and added some brand new characters to the mix by introducing Necalli, F.A.N.G, Rashid, and Laura Matsuda to the roster, which rounds out the character selection very nicely. Each fighter has great looking character models and also the colors really seam to pop this go around in Street Fighter V. Graphically its one of the best looking fighters that didn’t shy away from bright colors which is a great thing for the eyes. The characters all have great personalities and the animations seem smooth. Also for someone like me who isn’t great at fighters, finally being able to pull off a sweet combo is very satisfying. I also like the act that I can go back and review my recent matches to see what I did wrong and how I can improve.
With new characters and a new engine, Capcom is also bringing in new gaming mechanics and that is where the new V-Trigger and V- Skill gauges come into play. The V-Gauge, or Variable Gauge, replaces Street Fighter 4’s Revenge Gauge (Ultra Meter) which controls the V-Skill, V-Reversal and V-Trigger abilities. Every time you get hit you will fill up your V- Gauge slightly, but the catch is not every character’s V-Gauge is the same. It varies from characters like Nash who have two bars and for Birdie players who have three. Birdie fills up his by using his V-Skill. The V-Skill is a unique special move that every single character possesses. I haven’t learned how to do the V-Skill for every character yet or fully learned how to link combos, but I can say its still fun trying to learn.
The first 6 DLC characters were all announced at the Sony Playstation Experience 2016 event last December in which I also attended. Also all 6 characters can be purchased with real money or Street Fighter V’s new in game fight currency called zenny. For people who don’t want to buy DLC they can just play modes, or online matches to earn money for fighters. Alex, Guile, Balrog, Ibuki, Juri, and Urien are the first characters that will be added in 2016. This is a great idea from Capcom for casual gamers who don’t like buying multiple DLC packs like the last Street Fighter. All you have to do is play the game to unlock the characters like it used to be back in the day. Also you won’t have to buy another disk as the regular Street Fighter V disk is all you will need for the game.
The Bad: Rage Quitters
No 8 Player Lobbies / Doesn’t Teach Casuals Much / Connectivity Issues
As a casual Street Fighter V player there really isn’t much to do but to actually learn the game at launch. Of course we all know that new game modes and other updates are coming in March and June, but what about what actually came with the game? There’s a short 16 player prelude story mode that catches you up from Street Fighter 4 to Street Fighter 5 and also helps with winning fight money… but the story mode is extremely easy even for somebody like myself and its pretty short as well. It only took me a good hour to beat. The training mode is pretty good at showing you which buttons do what and setting up your CPU dummy for battle is extremely flexible, but for a casual like myself that just wants to get better it’s not that convenient. I would love to have a proper training mode in which they show me how to do each move such as in Mortal Kombat X does and after that let me learn links and combos like every other fighting game. They do have a small tutorial mode after you first boot up the game but after that you are pretty much on your own.
Next up, the connectivity issues aren’t as bad as it was for the first few days of launch, but Capcom still has a lot of ironing out to do. For the most part fighting online has been pretty smooth and I’ve only been thrown out of a few matches here and there. Frame rate drops don’t happen often, but they do happen on occasion. You do have the ability to choose which players you play depending on their connection. Even sparring in a lobby isn’t ready yet so you can’t have 8 player lobbies to play with your friend. To get around this most players are starting Battle Lounges and having friends search for the lobby to join it, but at Capcom’s defense Street Fighter 4 didn’t have 8 player lobbies at launch either which is a problem and a pattern. Lastly the amount of rage quitters in SF5 is just plain bad. Some players will rage quit and get no penalty at all and while the other player doesn’t win or lose any fight money, they still don’t lose or win anything as well. Capcom said via their official twitter page that a patch will be coming soon to fix the rage quitting issues.
The Ugly: Missing Content
Was Street Fighter V Rushed For EVO?
A lot of content is missing that Ono himself advised us in advanced wasn’t going to be there at launch, so I knew what I was buying. Unlike some causal gamers I knew what wasn’t going to be in the game, but what about the everyday gamer who isn’t hardcore for the most part? Flat out they’re not getting a full $60 game. As you can see in the above picture, the roll out for missing modes features and also DLC character Alex all start later in March. Challenges, Trials, Shop, Lobby Support, and Versus Mode against CPU will all come out later in March and Capcom also pushed the Cinematic Story Expansion AKA Arcade Mode all the way back to June. To be honest this is a huge problem. No one should have to damage control and the lack of content for everyday gamers is just ridiculous. Its clear that this game was rushed for the start of the Capcom Tournament and EVO, and thats just not right for the consumers. The lack of content and the server issues in the first few days really hurt a fantastic game.
Street Fighter V is one of the best fighters of this generation that I have played for the gameplay, mechanics, sounds, graphics, and fun factor. The game is hard enough for most players but not so difficult that newcomers like myself can’t have fun playing. With that being said, the one thing that extremely hurts this title is the lack of content and things to do for players outside of the competitive fighting scene. There’s still enough here to keep fans of the series somewhat happy with the survival and online modes available, but for the casual players who really don’t want to be great at the game and just want to have some fun, I would sit out on this game until March rolls out the rest of the game. Or just wait until June to receive the full package with the free Arcade mode. I feel that if this game would have dropped in March with all the modes it would be a complete $60 title, but like all Street Fighter games it will be an ever evolving and ever changing game. With each patch and piece of DLC that we receive, the game won’t be the same game we got at launch which is what happened with Street Fighter 4.
What are your thoughts on Street fighter V so far? Sound off in the comment section below!