The evolution of a popular series has to be on the right track. Otherwise, the whole thing can derail in a hurry and scuttle away any momentum that it’s managed to build up. Case in point: Battlefield 4 arrived like a shot a few years ago, but had monumental server problems, amongst other issues, that sent some folks running for Call of Duty.
Alas, we have a similar situation with Street Fighter V, Capcom’s long-awaited beat-em-up spectacular. It lives up to the hype when it comes to rebuilding a fighting system that both newbies and veterans alike can embrace, along with a fresh visual interface that proves to be a good next-level to Ultra Street Fighter IV. That said, it’s a bit mind-boggling that some key content is missing from the game – especially with its $60 price tag.
Let’s talk about the new fighting system first. It’s called the V-System, and it enables players to become more customary to a fighter’s style, whether it’s the classic Ken and/or Ryu throwing fireballs and Dragon Punches, or newcomers like F.A.N.G. or Necalli doing great damage up close or from far away.
This system is easy to adapt to, and the included training system helps you adapt to it right away. Even those who feel that Street Fighter is an overwhelming system online will feel a little hope with what’s offered here, as it’s fair and just about perfectly balanced. Granted, you may still get slaughtered when taking on folks online, but that just comes with the territory, thanks to its ranking system.
It’s not without its merits, though. Being able to execute the cinematic special moves is breathtaking, even if some of the animations are a little too weird for their own good. No matter – they help contort Street Fighter V into a style all its own, and, in this sense, it feels like an evolution.
The presentation is pretty bang-up, too, with plenty of merits with animation, backdrop design, and superb character implementation. Newcomers easily fit in with the old pros, adding a fresh roster to choose from and plenty of surprises, even if you think you’ve adapted to everything Street Fighter has taught you thus far. It just looks right, even with the somewhat silly animations. The dialogue and music are well done as well, involving you in what little story the game has to offer thus far.
And that leads us to the big problem with Street Fighter V – it’s not complete. We’ve seen situations before where developers add on content to their game to make it feel more like a value (like Halo 5: Guardians), as well as merciless charging for DLC content to give the game more heft (cough Destiny cough cough). But Street Fighter V feels like it was wrapped up and good to go before the developers were able to finish with it.
That’s not to say it doesn’t operate well, because it does, but there’s no sign of the traditional quick arcade mode, instead replaced by an all-too-short story mode with no difficulty settings and a survival mode against ten random opponents. You’re kidding, right? You have the next big evolution of a fighting series and it doesn’t even have something as simple as an arcade mode?
For that matter, the training feels incomplete as well. There are plenty of drills to teach you the new steps, thankfully, but not enough when it comes to combos and learning more intricate moves from the game. We’re sure these additions are coming, but it just feels like a slight mistake that Capcom would release the game without this stuff. After all, it’s supposed to be a sequel, not a demo, right?
The online action is a bit mixed. When it works, the game clicks very well, and ranked matches execute like a true pro. When it works, mind you. The game’s been plagued by server problems left and right, and while most of those have been remedied, they haven’t really done positive things when it comes to giving Street Fighter V a valid reputation. Actually, far from that – it’s making people consider holding off on a purchase until the damn thing is finished.
Street Fighter V was a hard game to review. On the one hand, its gameplay and presentation definitely appeal to fighting senses, with the proper amount of growth and care to make it have balance. On the other, it’s missing so much basic stuff that you have to wonder why it isn’t quite a complete game. There’s enough online action and learnable stuff here to make Street Fighter V a decent purchase, but you can’t sit there and tell me that Capcom couldn’t have delayed this until everything was ready in June and benefitted for the greater because of it. There’s just no way.