Before we begin, let me be perfectly honest. I was never a fan of the Street Fighter series growing up. It is not one of the games I liked very much and I did not spend hundreds of dollars playing it in the arcades. I have owned a few entries, played a few of the crossovers and even like some of the characters. Exclusive to PlayStation 4 and PC, there has been a TON of hype for the release for this game.
Street Fighter V is a 2D fighting game and the newest entry into the Street Fighter franchise. It brings a few new characters, a few old ones and a few changes from its previous incarnation, mainly to its core fighting systems.
Players are given two single-player modes, Story and Survival. The story mode provides back stories for the characters, with dialogue over stills showing the characters and their motivations. Between the dialogue, players battle it out with AI-controlled opponents to move the story along. The second portion of the single-player experience is a survival mode, which pits players against an endless chain of AI-opponents until the player is defeated.
The main draw of the game is, much like any other game in the genre, its online multiplayer. It is why people play fighting games and it is probably the best in its field right now. Street Fighter V has such a deep and complex fighting system that is just a blast to play around with. Combine that with a diverse and unique roster and you have a fantastic fighting game.
The roster totals out at sixteen and is a healthy mix of staple characters like Ryu, Ken Masters and Chun-Li along with newcomers like Laura and F.A.N.G. Each fighter feels different and no one feels overpowered, though people who main Bison are the worst kind of people. Each character is able to pull off some pretty sick combos, chaining basic moves, specials and sometimes even critical arts.
The meat of the game, and the most important aspect of the game, is the fighting system itself. Street Fighter V, like previous entries in the series, operate off of a six button system for Light, Medium and Heavy attacks. The buttons can be used to chain attacks together for basic combos, each one unique to the character being played. These combos can be added to further with the addition of special attacks, again unique to each character.
However, the above just scratches the surface of what the game offers when it comes to the actual fighting. New to the series is the V-Gauge, which controls the V-Trigger, V-Reversal and V-Skills within the game. Not all V-Gauges are the same; some characters, like Nash, have two bars, and others have three, like Ken.
V-Triggers are special modes for characters and change the properties of their attacks in addition to making them hurt A LOT. The modes vary from character to character, much like the rest of the V-Gauge. If players get pinned down, or are stuck on the defensive, they are able to use V-Reversals to buy themselves a little breathing room. V-Skills are special techniques that fill the V-Gauge when used and can be either offensive or defensive, depending on the character.
Online play in SFV is surprisingly awesome. I have played a lot of fighting games and my one major gripe has always been how bad input lag usually is. I have not had that issue while playing Street Fighter V. Occasionally, I will run into a bad connection but it has been extremely rare, even in Casual matches.
For a $60 game, Street Fighter V feels a bit bare, almost like it is an incomplete product, especially when compared to other games in the genre. Though we were told upfront what was to be included, it feels a bit unusual to have to wait for game content that is already shown on the disc but is grayed out until an update hits like the challenges mode and the in-game store. For content already on the disc to not be available until an update comes out does not feel right.
Street Fighter V is a fantastic fighting game that beat down launch issues, and is shaping up to become one of the best fighting games of the year. Of course, that will hinge entirely on when the game is truly complete. Despite my thoughts on how incomplete it feels and regardless of the barebones feeling, if you are fan of fighting games, it is definitely a title worth picking up.