Street Fighter V Review: Tournament Edition
Street Fighter V was one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to have a Playstation 4 when I bought it last year, as the console exclusive fighter was a game that I couldn't wait to get my hands on when it was announced. Flash forward a year, and I was desperately trying to avoid any news on the game since it announcement. For once, I wanted to go into a new game blind.
I raced to my local Best Buy and grabbed the game's collector's edtion and couldn't wait to get home and sink my teeth into Capcom's latest offering. After the massive success and multiple iterations of Street Fighter IV, I could only imagine what Capcom could do with next gen hardware. As I slid the game disc into the PS4, I couldn't wait to see just how Capcom had improved on this long and storied franchise.
It should go without saying that Street Fighter V's gameplay is fantastic, as many of the elements have been brought from Street Fighter IV, with the notable omissions of SFIV's Ultra system and Focus Attacks, instead replacing them with the new "V-System." With this new V-System being added to the game, one would think that the game would offer up some kind of tutorial that would explain the aspects of the system, but you wouldn't be entirely right.
The game does offer a small tutorial when you boot up the game for the first time, but many of the mechanics are simply glossed over, and the game doesn't bother to explain the V-Reversal system at all. While this may not be seen as a problem by some, it is an issue for newcomers, as not explaining your game's mechanics to the casual audience isn't going to help your product to appeal to them.
The lack of any real tutorial mode is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is lacking at launch in Street Fighter V. Of course the game features your standard Versus mode, for those hotseat multiplayer gamers, and both ranked and casual online matches. One particular single player mode offers a sixteen stories, one for each playable character. While this may seem like a sizable amount of content, this mode can be finished in about an hour.
Each of the stories offers between two to four fights, each broken up with some voice over played over a static image. If this wasn't bad enough, things are made even more insulting by the inclusion of some of the most brain dead AI in the series' history. Of course, survival offers up a little bit more meat, but suffers from a slightly different problem than the story mode.
Survival mode comes in four different difficulties, each varying in length from ten to one hundred match gauntlets. However since you fight your opponents in a set order, reattempting survival after failing becomes tedious quickly. Sadly, you'll need to be ready to embrace the tedium, because with the current state of SFV's servers, you will likely be restarting your survival mode a lot. This may not make a lot of sense, but since you need to be online to earn fight money, you'll want to be connected to earn your money to unlock characters, but if you are disconnected you'll be kicked back to the title screen and lose whatever progress you had made.
There is no combo practice, just a straight forward, vanilla training mode. The online modes themselves have held up surprisingly well however. Outside of some issues on launch day, I haven't experienced many issues outside of occasional lag, and have even managed to avoid issues with my opponents "rage quitting". I still maintain that despite being light on actual content, Street Fighter V offers up a solid fighting experience, but there simply isn't much here for anyone not interested in playing Street Fighter competitively. If you are looking for a fighting game to spend a lot of time in your PS4, then you'll likely need to look elsewhere, despite SFV's incredibly solid fighting engine.
After more than twenty-five years of creating Street Fighter games, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Capcom has brought a very solid presentation once again. The game looks similar to Street Fighter IV, but offered up some slight improvements to character models and stage backgrounds, but moved away from the Sumi-e (Japanese Ink Painting) style that was used to give the previous game its stylized visuals. Overall the game may not look much different from Street Fighter IV, but I am happy to see that Capcom decided to focus on a constant frame rate instead of aiming for flashier visuals.
This finally brings us to the audio presentation, and as any long time fan of the franchise can tell you Street Fighter has some incredible and iconic themes that belong to a number of its characters. While each of these themes has received a great remix for Street Fighter V, Capcom decided it would continue the trend of Street Fighter IV of having a set track for each stage and only using character themes for the story and survival modes. This option seems very odd to me, and why each character doesn't have a set theme that is used in their own stage is a mystery to me. Each of the stage themes is fine, but I would rather hear the remixes of the classic themes or the character themes for the new additions to the roster. The overall presentation for Street Fighter V is very solid, and is definitely a high point in an otherwise barren product.
Street Fighter V is a game that I really want to love but, so far, my relationship with the game has been weighted heavily on the negative. From issues with connectivity that effect offline play to the inability to create private matches with more than one friend, Street Fighter V has already worn out its welcome in my PS4's Blu-Ray drive. While I will continue to play the game on occasion on my quest to earn the game's platinum trophy, I can only hope the game improves over the next few months as Capcom rolls out additional content for the game. At this time, I cannot recommend Street Fighter V to anyone who isn't a member of the professional fighting game community, but I really hope this changes, and I'll keep you updated with any substantial additions made to the game in the coming months.
Final Say: Skip It (for now)