Review: Street Fighter V (PlayStation 4)

Street Fighter V: Official GBAtemp Review

PlayStation 4 5,751 views 3 likes 33 comments
Reviewed by Thomas Hugh, posted Feb 15, 2016, last updated Feb 16, 2016
Feb 15, 2016
  • Release Date (NA): February 16, 2016
  • Release Date (EU): February 16, 2016
  • Release Date (JP): February 18, 2016
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Genres: 2D VS Fighter
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
  • Also For: Computer
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
Street Fighter V is finally here, but is it bigger and better than Street Fighter IV?
Thomas Hugh

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An Old Challenger Approaches

I consider myself to be an above average Street Fighter player. For sure I'm no pro, but I have been playing the series ever since Street Fighter II: The World Warrior hit arcades almost 25 years ago and was then ported over to the Super Nintendo. It was on the SNES that I honed my skills, a time when the game was at its purest with no EX-trigger-dash-super-ultra-30-hit combo nonsense. After playing against many of my friends and family and beating them with ease, I realized that due to having larger than average hands I could beat other players by using just one hand, my left hand. This was more than just a party trick as I would still win 99% of matches and sometimes even pull off a perfect round.

Almost 10 years ago, our lovely admins Costello, shaunj66 and myself met up in London, along with some other members of staff to check out a history of video gaming convention. There were a lot of old retro games to try out alongside some of the more famous titles from video game history. After a while of casual browsing, we came across a glass case with a SNES inside it, 2 controllers wired up and a copy of Street Fighter II jammed firmly into the cartridge slot. I can't remember who challenged whom, but I remember mentioning that I could win using only my left hand and that I would put my right arm behind my back for the entire fight. Costello laughed, surely he's joking he must have thought.

Now we probably both remember this event very differently, I can't recall if I got a perfect round or not, but 10 years ago I did beat Costello at Street Fighter II using only one hand :~)

 

A New Platform Approaches

So it's been 8 years since the initial release of Street Fighter IV, a game that ended up receiving many patch updates as well as 3 separate retail SKUs. Because of the way modern consoles work, love it or loathe it, patch updates are now the norm. The ability to constantly patch a game after its debut release has enabled series' developer Capcom to release Street Fighter V in what some may call a bare-bones state, lacking both series-standard features and single-player content.

Some may praise Capcom for getting the game out the door and into the public's hands as quickly as possible, with 'free' updates to come afterwards for the lifetime of the title, whilst others will more than likely ponder the question; "Why didn't they just finish the game?"

SFV should be seen as a service and not a single stand alone title. A title that will be constantly tweaked, changed and updated for the duration of its lifetime. What is offered on day one will more than likely be unrecognizable within a year or two and Capcom have stated that the base game is all you will ever need to buy.

What you get on Day 1

If you do decide to pick up SFV at launch, this is exactly what you will find in the game day 1:

-Story Prologue Mode - Not the fully fledged story mode coming later this year, but 3-5 battles for each character bookended with static anime cutscenes.

-Versus mode - 2 player versus - no CPU mode.

-Survival - 4 difficulties: Easy/Normal/Hard/Hell.

-Challenges - Greyed out and unplayable, will be added in the future.

-Training - no tutorial training mode.

-Battle Lounge.

-Ranked Match.

-Casual Match.

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Story mode took me around an hour to finish with all 16 characters and after that, all that's really left to do is play online or play Survival mode. As the game wasn't officially out yet, finding people to play against online was slow going, so I ended up just playing Survival mode over and over with my fight request turned on so the game would search and complete matchmaking in the background while I tried to get through as many fights in a row as possible. So far my best is 31 fights in a row on Hard mode and then I got destroyed by newcomer to the series; Rashid.

When I did manage to get into some online battles, I am happy to report that the extensive testing that took place for many months with the SFV BETA has really paid off. The netcode in the game is fantastic, with no noticeable latency or lag in any of the matches, at least on my end. I would even go as far to say as it's the best experience I have had online in a vs fighter. Whether this is truly down to Capcom, or my new shiny fibre broadband I don't know, but for now I will give Capcom props where they are due.

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The New Challengers

SFV ships with 16 characters at launch, 12 are series regulars; Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Zangief, Dhalsim, M.Bison, Vega, Cammy, Nash, Birdie, R.Mika & Karin. Then we have 4 all new fighters; Laura, my personal favourite of the new bunch, is from Brazil and fights using a style of Jiu-Jitsu. F.A.N.G is some kind of Chinese drug lord who looks like something out of Kung Fu Hustle. He can utilize poison attacks that infect his opponent until he himself takes damage. Necalli is a warrior-prophet with dreadlocks who fights with the style of a brawler/wrestler and last but not least is Rashid, the first Arabic character to appear in a mainline Street Fighter title who is very fast and utilizes wind based attacks.

All four new characters on the SFV roster are vastly different to play as and I think are good additions to the currently sparse line-up. I don't really like F.A.N.G right now due to his slow movement, but as I've only had a few days to get to grips with him, my opinion could change in due course.

Capcom have 6 more characters in the works to release, one per month for the initial 6 months from launch day. These 6 new fighters can be unlocked by earning in-game currency with the aptly named Fight Money, or be bought as additional DLC from the PlayStation Network when each new fighter is made available. What they will cost and how much the player will have to grind to earn the amount needed to buy them is unknown at the present time. The same scenario is used for unlocking new skins and costumes but as the in-game store isn't open yet, I can't really comment on how good or bad this is. Capcom have also been resetting the servers every day so keeping track of what currency can be earned in-game has been hard to get a grasp of.

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A New Gauge Appears

If you've been checking out the screenshots so far, you may have noticed that in addition to the EX meter bar that is built up by taking and causing damage (Super meter in SFIV), SFV now also has a V gauge. V Reversals and Triggers offer unique moves and abilities for each character, what was known as a Focus attack in SFIV has been replaced with the V-Skill. Ryu has a parry much like in SFIII, Ken can run forward quickly, useful for dodging incoming attacks or for getting up close and personal before launching into a special, and Bison can absorb projectiles. When the V gauge is full you can use a V-Trigger which causes a temporary power-up that boosts your attacks and defense and also offers some movesets only available for when you are in the V-Trigger state.

Capcom have also done work on making standard combos and controls a bit easier to pull off. Every characters Critical Art (EX gauge/Super) is now the same to activate but may have a variation on whether it's a punch or kick and standard combos have been simplified, hopefully making it a bit easier for newcomers to get into the action.

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Capcom Fighters Network

The Capcom Fighters Network, or CFN is accessible from the main menu and is a way to get into the community. Here you can check your ranking, search and watch replays, review stats, look for rivals and check out the world map to see where the current hotspots for some action are. The CFN will be expanded throughout the game's lifetime and will more than likely be an essential tool for those looking to get serious with Street Fighter V.

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Street Fighter V is off to a strong start and I am genuinely excited to see where it goes and how it gets there. It will be interesting to see how this new model works out for both Capcom and fans of the series, and whether the new tweaks and additions will bring in new players and expand the franchise even further. We will possibly revisit this review in 2017 to see what a year's worth of updates has done to the title and look back on whether this kind of staggered release was a good idea or not.

Street Fighter V Launch Trailer

 

Verdict
Pros
+ Looks stunning
+ Simplified controls
+ Great netcode
Cons
- Lack of modes all round
- Only 10 stages
9 Presentation
SFV looks gorgeous running in Unreal Engine 4. Character animations and stages are bright and highly detailed. This is the best looking Street Fighter to date.
9 Gameplay
Gameplay has evolved with the addition of the V Trigger meter, and combos and specials are easier than ever to pull off. Whether these tweaks will be seen as 'casualizing' the series will be up for debate.
10 Lasting Appeal
Lasting appeal depends on whether you buy a fighter for single or multiplayer. The lasting appeal should be until SFVI is released, if you play online or have friends to battle against at home. If you're in it purely for single player then you will be training and playing survival mode until Capcom releases new modes and features later this year.
8.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Street Fighter V is a hard game to rate in its current state. Diehard fans will probably be happy with what has shipped but for everyone else the content on offer at launch is rather thin.
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