Title: Street Fighter V
Release Date: 2/16/2016
Platform: PS4, PC
Hours Played: 25-30
For Capcom’s first new entry in the Street Fighter franchise on current generation consoles, they did an alright job in bringing its storied franchise to the respective systems. While Mortal Kombat X has already been out, fans of a deeper fighting experience were left wanting more. The wait is finally over as Street Fighter V has finally hit the PS4 and PC, and the wait was not worth it. While Street Fighter V is as fun as it’s ever been with the introduction of the new mechanics, you’ll still be left wanting more.
Rarely does Capcom come out with a fighting game that doesn’t stand up to some of the best in the genre –– the only exception being maybe Marvel vs. Capcom 3, before the Ultimate expansion. This is the case here. The game plays as well as it ever has, and is a significant upgrade from the fighting system of Ultra Street Fighter IV. The fighting feels like it has more control with every character, making it feel like you’re in more control than you ever have before. Most of the characters feel more balanced than any previous installment, creating an equality rarely seen in fighting games. The “Supers” and “Ultras” from Ultra Street Fighter IV are nowhere to be found this iteration. Instead they have introduced “Critical Arts” and the “V-System.” While “Critical Arts” work just as “Supers” worked in prior games, the new “V-System” adds a way for the player on the losing end to get back into the fight, allowing them to either perform a special move with it, or give themselves a temporary buff. Unfortunately, this is one of the only real places that the game shines.
Where Street Fighter V excels with its’ mechanics and combat system, it is equally bad in its other areas. When you go to the main menu and look at the modes, you’d think there’s a good enough amount of content in here. The story mode that they presently have in the game feels like nothing more than a glorified tutorial with each character. Each character has between two and five fights, each consisting of one-round bouts with cutscenes in between to fill out story. None of the stories for the characters are very memorable, and the whole thing just seems cheesy and thrown in for the sake of having a story mode. Not to mention that I finished every characters’ story mode in a little over an hour. There’s also a Survival mode in which you play as one character and fight a certain amount of enemies depending on the difficulty. Between each round you can choose to refill your health or give yourself a buff, such as “Attack Up” or “Defense Up”. While this is a fun addition to the game, it wears out its welcome rather quickly, and I found myself bored of it after a couple tries. Another fault is how little the training mode actually helps you. It throws you in a match against a defenseless opponent and tells you the button presses associated with combos, but does nothing to tell you of timing. The game mainly focuses on its online side of play, where it has the standard ranked and casual matches along with the battle lounge, where it works the same way as it has in previous games. They also introduced the new Capcom Fighters Network, which allows you to view replays of some of the best out there and pick up ideas to suit your own fighting style.
One of the few places where this game really shines is with its graphics. The game is absolutely beautiful and plays as smooth as any fighting game that I’ve ever played. The stages are beautifully created and offer a sense of immersion with each short-lasting fight. Each fighter is also incredibly detailed, almost to a sickening extent. This is where they lost me with their art direction — EVERY female combatant in this game has ridiculously over-sized breasts. Characters who never had big breasts in previous entries seem to have gotten breast implants. This is not even a joke. Compare, for example, Cammy from Ultra Street Fighter IV to the Cammy in this iteration, you’ll be asking yourself why the developers would even make a change such as this in 2016. I’m all for a little sex appeal in video games, male or female, but this was just over the top and unnecessary.
Street Fighter V has as much entertainment value as you can make out of it. There’s very little in terms of the game modes, so it all depends on how much you actually like the fighting system, as there’s also very little in terms of characters and stages. The game features only sixteen combatants, four of which are new and another three you’d have no idea were even apart of the series before this installation. While there is a decent variety to them, it still feels very lacking. Not including certain series mainstays, such as Guile, Akuma, Blanka, or E. Honda, is unacceptable to series veterans. Characters you may have spent years mastering may not be in this, so be prepared to be as disappointed as I was. There’s also eleven stages, none of which are as memorable as quite a few from Ultra Street Fighter IV. While they are nice and look gorgeous, I wasn’t as drawn into them as I was with stages in previous games.
Street Fighter V is one of those games where it leaves you disappointed. As a massive fan of the series, I was anticipating this to be one of my early favorites for Game of the Year. Instead I got a game that, while fun to play, doesn’t have enough to keep me coming back to keep playing. It may seem like I don’t like the game, but I actually really like the game. The lack of content that makes the whole thing feel like it’s a waste of money. If anything, I’d recommend holding off until the new characters and free updates come out to make you feel like you’re paying full price, instead of a game that feels like it just launched into Early Access.