Street Fighter 6 not only marks a groundbreaking evolution for the iconic fighting game series but also immerses players in a truly urban aesthetic. While Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike flirted with hip-hop influences, Street Fighter 6 fully embraces the vibe, evident in its graffiti-inspired logo, paint-splattered Drive Impact move, and the arcade-style Battle Hub. The Hub Goods Shop adds another layer of customization, allowing players to style out their characters with a unique urban flair.
In the midst of what many consider the second golden age for fighting games, Street Fighter 6 distinguishes itself as the genre’s pinnacle. With its strategic depth and a plethora of features, the game earns a flawless five-star rating and the prestigious Editors’ Choice award. Capcom’s latest installment not only captures the essence of urban culture but also sets a new standard for creativity and excellence in the world of fighting games.
Street Fighter 6 review: Fighting Ground
Street Fighter 6 brings a diverse array of gameplay modes to the table, with Fighting Ground serving as the hub for the franchise’s staple experiences. This mode encompasses Arcade/Story mode, Versus, Extreme Battle, Training, and Online modes, providing a comprehensive package for players.
Arcade mode continues the tradition of individual character stories, narrated through still frames between matches. While not groundbreaking, these narratives offer insights into the motivations of each fighter. The mode’s visual appeal is heightened by captivating artwork, further enriched by unlockable art rewards obtained upon completing a character’s story.
The standout feature is Extreme mode, injecting wild unpredictability into gameplay. Players can customize matches with modifiers like no jumping or disabling special moves. Additionally, quirky elements such as randomly falling bombs or a charging bull rampaging through the stage add an entertaining and unpredictable twist to the fights. The unexpected spectacle of being knocked down by a charging bull blends frustration with hilarity.
Versus, Training, and Online modes cater to different preferences. Versus mode offers one-on-one and team battles, suitable for both friendly gatherings and solo play against computer-controlled opponents. Team battle mode, reminiscent of Street Fighter II’s Tournament modes, brings an extra layer of enjoyment. Training mode is crucial for honing skills and mastering new combos, especially considering the updated gameplay mechanics.
Online mode stands out with its crossplay functionality, enabling players across various platforms (PC, PlayStation, Xbox) to compete globally. This inclusive approach breaks down platform barriers, allowing for a more extensive and competitive player base. The importance of crossplay is emphasized, offering a seamless multiplayer experience that transcends individual platform preferences. Street Fighter 6 not only maintains the series’ core strengths but also embraces modern trends to create an engaging and globally connected fighting experience.
Street Fighter 6 review: World Tour
The standout feature of Street Fighter 6 is undoubtedly the captivating World Tour mode. Representing a robust single-player story experience, players embark on a global journey with a personally crafted character, reminiscent of the exploration elements in the Yakuza series. The 3D environments come alive as you engage in encounters with random citizens, formidable bosses, and the diverse cast of Street Fighter 6.
The character creation system proves to be extensive, offering players the opportunity to invest countless hours perfecting their avatar. The immersive experience extends to locations like Metro City, teeming with food trucks for health-boosting items, department stores for clothing purchases, and a plethora of adversaries to confront.
Victories in battles and the completion of missions contribute to experience points, allowing for character progression through levels. Overcoming challenging enemies necessitates strategic leveling, ensuring your character’s capabilities match or surpass those of opponents, as indicated by their respective health bars. Leveling up brings perks such as increased attack strength, an extended health bar, additional super move slots, and more.
While the narrative may not delve into profound depths, it manages to captivate players, offering engaging encounters with iconic figures like Chun-Li and Ryu and providing insights into their unique super moves. The joy extends to exploring environments, uncovering hidden treasure chests, and encountering new adversaries. Nighttime street battles add an extra layer of excitement, reminiscent of the relentless action in the classic Final Fight, particularly fitting as players navigate through Metro City in this 3D rendition. Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode not only enriches the single-player experience but also captures the essence of exploration, progression, and thrilling encounters.
Street Fighter 6 review: Battle hub
The Battle Hub in Street Fighter 6 serves as the ultimate arena for seasoned veterans, providing a platform to challenge their skills against players worldwide. Set in a 3D environment reminiscent of a real-world fighting game tournament, the hub immerses players in an atmosphere complete with arcade cabinets and various shops.
Navigating as your avatar, you approach arcade cabinets where you can either await pairing with another player or spectate ongoing matches. This dynamic setup effectively captures the essence of attending a physical arcade, offering the anticipation of engaging in matches or observing others in action. Notably, classic Capcom games like the original Street Fighter II, Final Fight, and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo add a nostalgic touch to the hub’s gaming experience.
During my testing of Street Fighter 6, the Battle Hub didn’t host a large pool of challengers, but the few matches I engaged in ran seamlessly. This commendable performance extends to the Online mode within Fighting Grounds as well. The importance of a stable connection in fighting games cannot be overstated, and it’s reassuring to witness Capcom’s consistent delivery in this regard. Street Fighter 6 not only provides a challenging battleground for experienced players but also ensures a smooth online experience, demonstrating Capcom’s commitment to the technical aspects crucial to the fighting game community.
Street Fighter 6 review: Gameplay
Street Fighter 6 maintains the familiar and effective gameplay mechanics observed in Street Fighter V and Street Fighter IV. The characters exhibit a noticeable weight, adding a sense of visceral impact to their attacks compared to older 2D iterations. With a three-decade history of playing these games, I easily adapted to the controls within seconds, appreciating Capcom’s decision not to tamper with a proven formula.
Introducing the Drive gauge as a new element, Street Fighter 6 incorporates features reminiscent of previous installments. The gauge allows players to parry attacks, echoing Street Fighter III, and execute enhanced versions of special attacks by pressing two identical attack buttons, akin to Street Fighter IV. Utilizing these moves depletes Drive gauge bars, which only replenish upon successfully landing attacks. Depletion results in entering Burnout mode, where Drive capabilities are temporarily lost, emphasizing an aggressive playstyle to maintain momentum—an aspect I personally appreciate.
The game offers three control types: Classic, Modern, and Dynamic. Classic adheres to the original 6-button layout synonymous with Street Fighter, featuring 3 punch buttons and 3 kick buttons. Modern adopts a simplified 4-button scheme, akin to recent Marvel vs Capcom titles, catering to newcomers with easier special move execution and only 3 attack buttons.
The Dynamic control scheme further simplifies gameplay, enabling automatic execution of attacks and combos with a single button press. For standard battles, I stuck with the familiarity of the Classic control scheme, while opting for Modern in World Tour mode, where the created character initially possesses basic moves. The flexibility to switch between control types at any time accommodates a diverse player base, making Street Fighter 6 accessible and enjoyable for players with varying levels of experience.
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Street Fighter 6 review: Visuals and sound
Street Fighter 6 maintains the distinct stylized art that characterized its two predecessors. While the character designs don’t aim for realism, they showcase intricate detailing in musculature and attire. The backgrounds, almost taking on a character of their own, are visually striking. Notably, Cammy’s London stage captures the charm of cobblestone streets illuminated by street lamps, while Alex’s Metro City stage incorporates characters from Final Fight, adding depth to the game’s visual narrative.
Complementing the vibrant visuals is a hip-hop-inspired soundtrack that harkens back to the Street Fighter III era. While my personal inclination leans towards the rock-inspired tracks of older Street Fighter games like Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter 6’s music seamlessly aligns with the game’s aesthetics, infusing energy into battles.
In the realm of sound, an interesting feature allows for real-time commentary during matches. The experience of hearing commentary on your gameplay, especially if you’re not accustomed to esports, might initially feel peculiar. However, for enthusiasts of this aspect, Capcom delivers with commentary from figures like Steve “TastySteve” Scott and Jeremy “Vicious” Lopez. While I may not be familiar with them, their commentary adds an engaging layer to the matches, even if it tends to become somewhat repetitive over time. Street Fighter 6 successfully marries its audio and visual elements, contributing to an immersive and dynamic gaming experience.
Fighting games have often been associated with the quintessential button-mashing experience. The initial allure for me, all those years ago in the arcade, was the sight of six buttons, representing three tiers of punches and kicks. However, this layout can be overwhelming for newcomers. Between mastering the joystick or D-pad motions and understanding the timing of different combos, the uninitiated can easily find the experience daunting.
In a notable departure for the Street Fighter series, Capcom introduces diverse control schemes, allowing players to freely choose their preferred setup. The Classic controls, aligning with the traditional Street Fighter layout, provide a familiar interface for seasoned players. This configuration retains the six-button setup, each performing its expected function. Executing Ryu’s fireball, for example, involves a quarter-circle motion followed by a punch. Additionally, a throw can be executed by simultaneously pressing light punch and light kick. This adaptability in control schemes marks a significant step, ensuring both veterans and newcomers can tailor their Street Fighter 6 experience to their comfort and familiarity.
Street Fighter 6: Verdict
Street Fighter 6 caters to a diverse audience, offering something for every type of player. The immersive World Tour mode is ideal for those seeking a narrative-driven progression and a grasp of the game’s fundamental mechanics. Meanwhile, the Battle Hub and Online mode provide a challenging arena for seasoned players. With ample content and promising updates on the horizon, Street Fighter 6 promises long-term engagement, ensuring players can enjoy the game for months, if not years.
As a devoted fan of the franchise, Street Fighter 6 perfectly aligns with my expectations for a modern iteration. The game boasts impressive visuals, flawless gameplay, and a rich variety of modes. For veteran Street Fighter players like myself, acquiring this entry is essential. However, even for newcomers to the fighting game genre, Street Fighter 6 promises an enjoyable experience. It stands as one of the definitive fighting game experiences of this console generation, offering a compelling blend of accessibility and depth.