Street Fighter V Review
As somebody who holds the Street Fighter series in very high esteem, particularly Alpha 3 and Third Strike, it really pains me to say that Street Fighter V is a massive letdown. While I can appreciate the fighting mechanics which feel much smoother than they did in Street Fighter IV, the game is half finished. Despite several beta teats, the full release is still a beta in all but name due to missing features that should have been in the game at launch.
First the good. Street Fighter V is much faster than IV which forces players to have to play more aggressively. For all that Street Fighter IV did right, it often felt too slow at times and that made matches more defensive and cerebral. Street Fighter V is much more of an in your face fighter. The additional target combos and looser cancel window only further reinforce that Street Fighter V is every bit as fast and frantic as the average Guilty Gear match.
The V gauge also works much better than the Focus Attacks in Street Fighter IV as it allows each fighter to feel unique and different. Players who miss Focus Attacks will find that Zangief. R Mika and M Bison still have them while those who really loved Third Strike will be happy to know that Ryu has a parry again which works exactly like Third Strike’s. But the really interesting part are the V Triggers which can be built up faster by spamming V Skills or by taking damage. V Triggers can work as an alternate super attack, unlock additional moves or have effects that boost your attacks and make each and every fighter feel unique. Alpha Counters have also made a comeback at the expense of part of your V Gauge and they all have unique properties and animations this time around.
The netcode is great, as is lobby play. It’s just a shame that I can’t view all lobbies but only the few that have the best connections to me. It’s certainly better than Street Fighter IV’s and miles ahead of Mortal Kombat’s, being on par with Arc System Works’ games. So at the very least, the online works even if everything else is currently in a half-finished state.
The problem is that the game should have been released as an Early Access title. For all the complaints about on disc DLC that Capcom received with Street Fighter X Tekken, costumes which are clearly in the game at launch are locked off from purchase until March. The story mode is unfinished and many story threads are closed off by a fight with a non-playable character about to appear who presumably won’t be in the game until 2017 at the earliest like Oro or Sakura which tells me that certain story threads won’t be resolved for another whole year at the earliest. It’s also fairly maddening when you’re forced to play with DLC costumes in story mode that you cannot use online at all.
There’s no arcade ladder either. Only story mode which is a mere 2-4 one-round fights and Survival which is just a series of fights with only one health bar. I can’t even do custom 1v1 fights against the computer to help train, so there is literally no option to do a single player fight that’s more than one round in length. The lack of a traditional arcade mode and story mode lacking animated cutscenes just makes the single player options feel limited, which is a shame as Street Fighter IV had a good amount of offline content but here, even challenge mode is walled off until the game gets updated.
There is a planned June update to expand the story mode but its unclear if it’ll be like Mortal Kombat X’s or Blazblue’s nor what’ll happen to the existing story mode that already has achievements tied to it. There’s still no word on an arcade ladder but I wouldn’t hold my breath for one to ever hit.
Graphics options also lack Street Fighter IV’s benchmark. While I do appreciate how optimized the game runs, I’d like to be able to benchmark my game before trying it out, especially when fighting games require a solid 60 frames per second.
For as much fun as Street Fighter V is, I cannot recommend it in its current state. Capcom should have known better than to release an unfinished product with a serious lack of single player modes. It might be worth a purchase somewhere down the line but not for at least a few months.
+ Plays much faster than Street Fighter IV
+ Good netcode
– Small Roster Size
– Missing significant content at launch
– On-disc DLC costumes