I have been a Street Fighter fan since part two came out on the SNES in 1992, playing almost every version, learning all of the fighters, and recently I broke down and tried to make sense of the complicated lore the series has stumbled at building, so needless to say, I was excited about this new installment at first. The initial screenshots were eye-catching, the new roster intriguing, while gameplay and character trailers cemented my desire to own it. None of that was a lie and Capcom began building up my trust and hope.
The company that shaped a huge chunk of my childhood has once again crafted an incredible game, a fighter that is easy to pick up and get into for old and new players that feels like an old warm glove. Even the new mechanics like V-Triggers and other alterations fit well and wove in seamlessly. The cliché’ is accurate: easy to learn, difficult to master, but this installment is genuinely deep in its gameplay, open to different playstyles and tactics, while feeling incredibly satisfying almost every step of the way. The art is interesting and eye-catching, carefully crafted to stand out with bold characters, vibrant and engaging level design, accompanied by a great soundtrack and audio FX that put me in the mood to play more. My only issue here is with the comic-styled story screens, images that were given a lot of attention, but are overall odd and don’t fit with the rest of the look. So that is the meat of it, and at the core, this may be better than the previous iteration, but the good news stops here.
This game has ten stages (I don’t count The Grid) and a roster of sixteen fighters, but although those numbers don’t match a lot of games, they are not the problem. The stages are good enough to make me want to keep going back and a smaller character selection isn’t an issue when they are all so easy to pick up and fall in love with—with a few obvious standouts. I didn’t even mind the completely unnecessary forced tutorial mode with its horrible pacing and lack of explanations—where it mattered—on the different new features. This all revolves around the start screen, where I have to look at grayed out options and the lack of play modes if I don’t want to get trounced online for a while. Capcom has focused on the multiplayer experience here, but in the process somewhere they thought it was okay to abandon everything else. That isn’t completely true though, as many features are missing from online play that would seem quite standard, like something as simple as lobbies. The single player has no story mode, only a glimmer of something hopeful to come that covers each character’s prologue, where the length is simply insulting. The developers cut out so much that I have to wonder what percentage the parts that were left in could amount to.
The developers cut out so much that I have to wonder what percentage the parts that were left in could amount to.
This is all going to be changed of course… in March and June… for a game that dropped in mid February. It’s highly disappointing in my eyes, because this is where we start separating the player base. I might have been throwing this one up in several months as a potential game of the year, but I think this first few months without the new toy having all its parts will turn casual and new players away from the game and possibly the future of the franchise. Do not misunderstand me, the fact that we won’t be getting seven other editions of Street Fighter V is honestly uplifting, but the damage is being done anyway, just through a different method. If I had not said I would review this title, there is no way I would have bought it before June, and I’m not the only one saying these things.
If you consider yourself a casual player, wait until the single player stuff is fleshed out before you buy
The core is good though, and if what I’m reading is right, we will all be seeing Street Fighter V in competitive play and E-Sports while the constant updates, DLC, and money system—which consist of two different types of currency and allows players to grind for new characters and costumes—will make sure the game stays relevant for quite some time. That is all in the future though, which is why I find it hard to understand why I’m seeing so many sites give 8s and 9s for their score, when to me it’s half a game, a solid 5 or 6 at best after the server issues stopped—where is my missing Fight Money by the way? (Why was that NOT called Bison Dollars?). Killer Instinct had a free version with more modes and options, and Mortal Kombat X contained way more content and managed to get it all out at once, so why does Capcom have to be the crippled giant who can’t get their shit together? Was getting that money between now and June that important? Your bad habits are going to rub off on the other fighting games who actually know how to finish what they started, and it’ll just piss me off even more. I’m experiencing buyer’s remorse at this point, feeling like you got my pants down without buying me dinner first and still managed to stiff me with the bill somehow, Capcom, and frankly none of this is good for our relationship if we’re being honest.
I’ll be back to play Street Fighter V, but I don’t recommend playing in its current state. For anyone still on the fence about this though, wait until June. In fact, Street Fighter 2 just had its 25th anniversary this month, so go play that instead and enjoy a full game while we wait for summer.