Street Fighter 6, the latest instalment in the iconic fighting game series, delivers a masterful return to form. Reinvigorating the franchise with a plethora of features and modes that cater to both new and experienced players.
Put ‘em Up, Put ‘em Uuuuup
Street Fighter 6 has plenty on to show right out of the gate. Fighting Ground, Battle Hub, and World Tour all offer robust and diverse gameplay experiences, driven by exceptional core mechanics and a well-balanced roster. Street Fighter 6 sets itself apart from its predecessors by introducing the Drive system. A universal mechanic that adds a new layer of strategy to battles. From the straight up 2.5D fights in Fighting Ground and Battle Hub to the open-world RPG elements of World Tour, this game truly captures the essence of what makes Street Fighter beloved by millions of fans worldwide.
Them’s Fighting Words
At its core, Street Fighter 6 retains the essence of the classics with its trademark fighting styles. Each of the 18 characters in the roster boasts distinct movesets that are tailored to their unique personalities. This serves as a solid foundation and allows players to find their preferred fighter among a diverse cast (mine’s Cammy in case you’re wondering).
One of the main things that sets SF6 apart is the Drive system. By pressing the two medium attack buttons, players can unleash various Drive manoeuvres. Drive Parry for countering attacks, Drive Rush for swift dashes, and Drive Impact for staggering opponents. These mechanics not only deepen the combat but also give every character a touch of individuality.
The Drive Gauge serves as a crucial resource. Depleting with each use of a Drive manoeuvre it can lead to a temporary “burn out”, restricting certain moves and slowing movement. This encourages players to manage their Drive Gauge carefully and plan their tactics accordingly. The Drive system’s versatility empowers both beginners and seasoned players to experiment with different strategies, adding a refreshing dimension to the franchise.
You And What Army?
Street Fighter 6 showcases remarkable character balance. All 18 characters feel viable and competitive. Previously under-represented characters like Zangief receive welcome adjustments, making them a force to be reckoned with.
The new additions to the roster integrate seamlessly with the existing characters, bringing fresh challenges to veterans. Players can discover new playstyles and master innovative combos as they explore each character, ensuring SF6 remains an engaging experience.
A New Challenger Approaches
Capcom has considered players of all skill levels by introducing the Modern control scheme. Similar to Super Smash Bros, this eases newcomers into the game with more straightforward commands. However, Street Fighter purists can still rely on the Classic control scheme which has been around since day one. This bridges the gap between skill levels, promoting accessibility and inclusivity within the community.
Fighting Ground serves as the hub for players seeking the classic Street Fighter experience. This area houses familiar modes like Arcade, which takes players through a series of challenging battles against AI-controlled opponents. It alos has online ranked & casual matches, enabling players to test their skills against opponents from around the world. Additionally, the offline versus mode allows friends to compete in local matches for the real old school feel.
For me though, the standout feature of Fighting Ground is the Practice area. Which boasts a collection of indepth tutorials and character guides. Character guides delve deep into each fighter’s move sets, explaining when and how to use special moves effectively. This comprehensive resource encourages players to make the transition from novice to seasoned fighter.
World Tour takes players on a globe-trotting adventure, offering an open-world RPG experience. Set in Metro City, with smaller locales representing different stages, this mode puts players into a story mode as they challenge a plethora of AI opponents scattered across the globe.
The hero of World Tour is a fully customisable avatar. You can choose all the usual physical features, hairstyles, and body sizes. Moreover, clothing and gear options can be purchased or earned, offering stat boosts and customisation without compromising gameplay performance.
The customisation also includes creating a personalised moveset. Players meet the 18 “masters” of the world, each representing a playable character in the game. By completing missions and one-on-one fights, players earn the masters’ respect, granting them access to specific moves from those characters. This allows you to design your ideal fighter, combining different special moves for a unique and versatile style.
World Tour’s seamless transition between exploration and combat is great. Players can challenge anyone in the open world, initiating battles without loading screens or interruptions. Nearby NPCs willl even run over to cheer on the fighters during combat. Sadly this comes at the cost of a noticeable dip in frame rate at times during fights in the open world. While it does not affect overall gameplay, it can be a minor drawback especially in more challenging fights.
The Battle Hub serves as the middle ground between Fighting Ground and World Tour, catering to players seeking variety. Here, players bring their World Tour avatars to a massive dome filled with arcade cabinets. They can challenge others to fights, queue up for matches, and enjoy the company of fellow challengers.
Online play shines in the Battle Hub, thanks to Street Fighter 6’s top-notch netcode. Matches feel seamless and responsive, even when playing against opponents from different servers.
Additionally, the Battle Hub features a selection of classic arcade ports from Capcom’s catalogue. Titles like Street Fighter 2, Final Fight, and Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo are available at launch with more games are on the way in the future.
DLC characters are on the way already. There’s an in-game economy with Drive Tickets and Fighter Coins that can be earned to unlock costumes for the 18-strong roster.
A battle pass system offers players the chance to level up and unlock a mix of avatar gear, emotes, and other perks in both free and premium tracks.
Street Fighter 6 stands as an exceptional entry in the legendary franchise. It revitalises the series with depth, versatility, and thoughtful design choices. Solid core mechanics and the new Drive system provide an engaging and strategic fighting experience. The well-balanced roster and diverse character options ensure every player finds a fighter to suit.
Street Fighter 6’s accessible control options, comprehensive tutorials, and Practice area cater to players of all skill levels. The Fighting Ground mode delivers a classic Street Fighter experience. while the World Tour mode offers an immersive RPG adventure with great customisation options. The Battle Hub provides a dynamic arena for online play with exceptional netcode.
Sadly battle passes, season passes and microtransactions stop this from being a perfect experience. I know it’s common practice and many gamers have now accepted them as the new normal, but I can’t let it slide. Luckily the sheer amount of content readily available means getting the base game is more than enough to keep players going.
Street Fighter 6 truly shines as the ultimate fighting game. It captures the heart and spirit of the franchise while offering new and exciting features for the modern era. With its depth, diversity, and innovation, Street Fighter 6 cements its place as a must-play title in the legendary fighting game genre.