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Street Fighter 6 Review

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Street Fighter 6 is finally here, hoping to have a smoother launch than the PlayStation exclusive Street Fighter 5 suffered. The problem with SF5 was that the game released in a more bare bones state than is acceptable. Sure, by the Championship Edition it was a different story, but the game launched without even a basic arcade mode – yeesh. 

Is Street Fighter 6 here to change things up for the franchise, or is it another flop out the gate?

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The battle commences in Street Fighter 6

I love Street Fighter. I have done so since Street Fighter II Special Champion Edition on the Sega Mega Drive. The character roster, the music, the combos – it all just resonated with me and was the most enjoyable fighting game I had ever played. Even when Tekken came along years later, although appealing with its 3D environments, the classic style of 2D sprites was always my preferred style of fighter.

18 characters are available in Street Fighter 6 at launch with more to come via paid DLC. These 18 are a nice blend of old favourites and newcomers, but I want to talk about one in particular. During the last content drop for Street Fighter 5 we got to meet a new fighter named Luke Sullivan. Luke has strong punches and weaker kicks, playing a bit faster compared to the likes of Ryu and Ken. The character was designed as the new figurehead of the series and I feel they have done a great job with his style and presentation as the coach in Street Fighter 6. 

Often games try to do a soft reboot of their roster, trying to push a new character as the mascot for the series without luck. Tekken arguably did this by introducing Jin to take over from an ageing/dead-at-the-time, Kazuya. So, with Ryu being hugely recognisable, it was not going to be easy to swap over with a youngster. Luke, being a mixture of Ken and Guile personality wise, coupled with easy to learn moves and a great design, has managed the impossible – he has converted an old school fan like myself to the new school. Luke is cool and he is here to stay.

Street Fighter 6 continues the tradition of fighting games on a 2D level (the less said about Street Fighter EX the better). Split into 3 main areas: World Tour, Battle Hub and Fighting Ground, it would be difficult for anyone to say SF6 hasn’t come ready to rumble (I had to get one fighting pun in) from the outset. Let’s take a look at each of the modes individually.

Fighting Ground is where you will find the practice, versus, special match, online and classic Arcade style battles. In Arcade mode you get to choose a fighter and make your way through other members of the roster till the end. There is not too much to say about this mode; it’s the standard that was set years ago, and unlike Street Fighter 5 it is here fully on launch day for all 18 characters available at the moment. It is always great fun in any fighting game to initially feel out each character to choose a favourite, and the same applies here.

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Street Fighter 6’s Fighting Ground is diverse

Battle Hub is where you need to head to test your mettle online with other players. Normally I would advise staying away from this mode without a lot of hours practising, however with the new modern control mode – I would say dive in right away. Not only will you be able to hold your own instead of being annihilated instantly, but it will allow you to see the true difficulty outside of CPU opponents and improve your game. 

This mode has you walking around an esports type arena where other online players are strewn throughout. You’ll get to sit opposite someone at an arcade cabinet, before challenging them. It really is a superb set up for online competition. As an added bonus, tucked away in the corner are a selection of single player cabinets that feature versions of classic Capcom titles – Final Fight, Street Fighter II and Vulgus are all here and playable. Another nice little addition to an already full package.

World Tour mode is the crown jewel and new addition to the series – frankly, it is fantastic. I have to say off the bat that World Tour was the mode I was most worried about. In the reveal trailer it appeared to be like a MyCity style mode like in the NBA 2K series. What Capcom have done is actually created a full blown RPG style story mode, and it is superb. Playing very much like the Yakuza series with wackiness and side quests galore, this mode is the first proper fighting RPG from one of the big boys that works.

It will let you create your own player or avatar and take to the streets. The customization is quite vast and you can create any type of fighter you prefer. Hulking beasts, mini ninjas or even a version of yourself can all be created and brought to life. I was worried about how this would play out, but those worries were unwarranted. Exploring each area, finding new masters to learn new moves from the Street Fighter roster and customising an ideal warrior has been an absolute blast. I’d even go to say I would buy this mode as a full fledged stand alone title without a care. 

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The Street Fighter 6 artstyle

You can walk around and chat to NPCs for info or challenge them to battle, or you can use an uppercut and initiate a fight more aggressively. I particularly enjoyed buying a slice of pizza and then beating up the server, leaving with some XP as well as my slice of pepperoni. The other major fighting games like Tekken, Mortal Kombat and Injustice have focused more on a cinematic arcade mode with interspersed story and switching characters as you work through the levels. World Tour in Street Fighter 6 has definitely raised the bar and it will be interesting to see how others try and respond.

This game wants everyone to play. Sure, games before have had tutorials and dojos to learn, but Street Fighter 6 truly wants everyone to be able to enjoy the game. Every mode has comprehensive tutorials on everything, from general fighting to special moves and combos. A new control scheme – named modern – has been introduced specifically for that purpose. The original controls that have been around in some variation since Street Fighter II still are here, but modern is the way to start Street Fighter 6 in my opinion.

Often games belittle newcomers with painstaking tutorials on how to even walk or jump (these are here too for true beginners) but modern controls still require some degree of tactics. They just don’t expect the player to have extra digits on each hand to pull off combos. In addition the modern scheme is approved for use in tournaments, so this will be an interesting one to watch to see how it’s adopted and if any new names rise to the top of the esports leagues.

Super arts are easier to understand than previous iteration gauges. There are three levels of attacks that can be used and are all very handy for getting out of sticky situations. Never before has the advanced game on Street Fighter (everything outside basic moves) been so welcoming, so friendly and so damn satisfying to use. The super arts meter when drained needs to be refilled by performing attacks, counters and reversals, and when it is at zero no super art moves can be used.

Drive moves are also new and each fighter has a 6 bar drive meter allowing for unique attacks. Using LB and a combination of directions, your chosen character will pull off a flashy move looking like something from Splatoon. These Drive moves can be used to break the guard of an opponent, as well as to attack through an incoming move; the strategy that can be applied with these changes the game. Using up all the drive meter will stun your character, which leaves you open to a world of pain, so be mindful when using up the Drive meter.

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Street Fighter 6 is electrifying!

When Street Fighter made its triumphant return with the well received Street Fighter 4, I didn’t believe it would be topped. Street Fighter 5 proved that theory correct, taking years of iterations to become a good game. Street Fighter 6 arrives on day one as an almost overwhelmingly pleasing game that opens the doors for all to enjoy. An amazing Yakuza-esque story mode, comprehensive arcade mode and a flawless online experience ensure that Capcom have truly found their groove with Street Fighter 6.

A bursting-at-the-seams package full of things to discover, all while welcoming newcomers and pleasing veterans, Street Fighter 6 is most certainly a game of the year contender. I’m normally very apprehensive when awarding games full marks, but not this time. This is the perfect fighting game.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Brilliant looking special moves
  • Fantastic RPG story mode
  • Packed with content
  • Easily accessible for everyone
Cons:
  • No Akuma (yet)
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Capcom
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 2 June 2023 | £54.98
Alister Kennedy
Alister Kennedy
A gaming writer for TheXboxHub, Ali loves the finer things in life, like Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Gaming since the '80s on multiple platforms. Podcast host and video editor.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Brilliant looking special moves</li> <li>Fantastic RPG story mode</li> <li>Packed with content</li> <li>Easily accessible for everyone</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>No Akuma (yet)</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Capcom</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 2 June 2023 | £54.98</li> </ul>Street Fighter 6 Review
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