Fighting games are in the middle of another renaissance. With so many good releases coming out lately, it’s nice to see one of the kings step into the ring. Street Fighter V is the current-gen/PC contender in this generation’s battle for the crown and it definitely pulls out all the stops. Whether it’s a great game really depends on what you think a Street Fighter game should be. It’s fun and innovative while being very familiar, but there are a few issues with the new technology and systems that drag down the game’s overall level of polish.
It’s nice to see Capcom take some chances with a new game. It would be easy to make the Street Fighter series totally iterative, but the developers seem to want to try out new things with each release. While there’s certainly going to be some tweaking done to the basic platform as time goes on, it’s good to play a game that feels new.
One of the best things about the game is its balance of old and new characters. There’s definitely a few memorable new members of the roster, but they fit right alongside your classic favorite. Capcom has made some weird decisions in the past with its Street Fighter rosters, but there really is someone here for everyone to use.
The other great thing about the game is that it innovates without breaking anything that already worked. There’s some new mechanics, sure, but you can still count on the combo-heavy nature of Street Fighter to be around in this iteration. This means that you’ll have a solid skill-set to fall back on when you’re not quite grasping the new characters, but also that there’s something new to learn for everyone who logs into the game.
What Didn’t Work
Let’s start with the fact that Street Fighter V has no Arcade mode at all. Sure, you can fight the AI and you can go through a relatively short Story mode, but there’s nothing with any real meat to it. Compare this to games like Mortal Kombat X or BlazBlue and you’re looking at a game that feels remarkably sparse. This goes hand in hand with the fact that there’s no real reward for finishing the story – you have to unlock everything through an in-game currency that takes forever to grind. This is a game that’s entirely focused on competitive play, possibly to its detriment.
That focus on competitive play wouldn’t be so bad if it always worked correctly. The game has been plagued with connectivity problems since launch, though they have gotten significantly better. For a game that seems obsessed with regaining the crown of competitive fighters, though, you’d think that you’d see something a bit more robust. If you can’t get into one of the competitive games you want to play, you might as well start up something new – if a problem happens, it’s got a terrible tendency to persist. There’s no good reason for the game to perform as poorly as it does.
Street Fight V is a good game, and one that will probably continue to get better with time. The focus on online competitive multiplayer makes sense given its roots, but the game still doesn’t work well enough for Capcom to put all of its eggs in one basket. It’s still a great fighter, though, and it will eat up a lot of your time if you are willing to look past the shortcomings. Street Fighter V may not be the best entry in the series, but it’s certainly not the worst either.