Street Fighter V
Release Date: 02/16/2016
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Street Fighter V has finally arrived! I’ve been playing the game every day since launch and I’m happy to say the experience has been mostly enjoyable. However, as most of you are already aware the online mode for SFV has been riddled with server disconnects. This is to be expected during the launch week for any popular title with an online mode. In this review, I will NOT be subtracting any points due to the current server issues because I’m sure they will be fixed in time. This review will focus on the available launch content and my experience with it.
Street fighter V is a one‐on‐one 2D fighting game. The game features a roster of 16 playable characters, including series veterans Ryu, Ken, and Chun‐Li. There are also 4 brand new characters: Necalli, Laura, Rashid, and F.A.N.G. Many of the returning cast members now have revamped movesets and inputs to keep things fresh. For example, Vega is no longer a charge character (a character that requires the joystick to be held back for 2 seconds before hitting forward and an attack button). Nash is also no longer a charge character and has many new moves to support his new undead appearance. SFV retains all the staple mechanics of the series and adds new ones with the introduction of the V‐System.
The V‐system is composed of 3 mechanics: V‐Skill, V‐Reversal, and V‐Trigger.
V‐Skill: Unique actions for each character that are done by pressing medium punch and medium kick at the same time. Ryu’s V‐skill allows him to parry incoming attacks while Birdie eats and drinks to put hazards on the screen. V‐Skills can be done at any time as they do not cost any meter to perform.
V‐Reversal: A counter attack that you can perform while guarding to push your opponent back and create some much‐needed breathing room. V‐Reversals will consume one bar from your V‐Gauge. V‐Reversals are very similar to Alpha Counters from the Street Fighter Alpha series.
V‐Trigger: A new unique power‐up mechanic for each character. V‐Trigger is performed by pressing Heavy Punch and Heavy Kick at the same time. It requires your entire V‐gauge to activate and will continue to deplete itself until your V‐gauge is empty. Characters will receive power‐ups and speed boosts, among other enhancements, after activating their V‐Trigger.
Overall, I feel the V‐System is a welcome addition that makes it easy for newcomers to activate each character’s unique abilities.
Graphics and Aesthetics:
Street Fighter V has many colorful, diverse, well‐designed characters and backgrounds. However, not everything about their presentation is perfect. My biggest complaint with V’s character models are the facial animations. The majority of the character faces in this game are either ugly (see Ken) and/or soulless (See Karin). You only need to take one look at the character select screen to understand what I’m talking about. The character’s facial expressions feel hollow, generic and a bit cartoony.
The backgrounds are nicely designed but they are definitely not pushing any boundaries. Most of the stages look like Street Fighter 4 stages with better lighting.
The game’s menus are all very nice and easy to navigate. Unfortunately, some of the content listed in the menu is not even available to select yet and can be misleading to new players that have not been previously informed. (More on this later.)
Music and Sound Effects:
The music in SFV consists almost entirely of character themes. Most of which are remixes from older games for returning characters. The newly composed themes for Rashid, F.A.N.G, Laura, and Necalli all fit the characters well (Especially Rashid’s.)
The sound effects are spot‐on. Everything sounds the way it should and it syncs up perfectly to the action on the screen.
The voice acting in this game really depends on what language you prefer. Fortunately for us, Street Fighter V offers the option to select the between English and Japanese for each individual character (a returning feature from SF4). I loooooove this feature. I can keep Ryu in Japanese and Ken in English just the way I want it. I wish more games offered this option. Most of the English cast is great though. I actually prefer the majority of the English cast for this game.
This is where the road gets rough for Street Fighter V. There are only 3 dedicated single player modes available at launch. That’s right, only 3 and one of them is unfinished…
Story Mode: This mode should be called “character introduction mode” because that’s all it really is. The character introductions are presented to the player over 3‐4 single round fights. The story for each character unfolds through still images and voice acted dialogue. However, the art and dialogue are of very poor quality. I admit Street Fighter has never been known for its story, but this mode feels very last‐minute. You can easily complete every character’s story in around 2-3 hours. If it is any consolation, Capcom has stated that a full‐fledged cinematic story mode will be released in June for free.
Survival Mode: Survival mode is separated into 4 difficulties that increase the amount of opponents you have to defeat in order to win. This can range from 10 opponents on Easy mode to 100 on Hell mode. By completing survival, you receive a new costume color for the character you completed it with. It must also be said that if at any point you are disconnected from the server you will lose all of your progress. Since being logged in to the server is the only way to receive fight money for your wins, it is preferable to be logged in. Losing connection to the server during a long 100 fight Hell Mode play through could be devastating. My prayers go out to the poor souls attempting to complete Hell survival while the servers are acting up… Godspeed, brave warriors.
Hope this doesn’t happen to you.
Training Mode: The training mode is great. I will go over this in more detail in the Competitive Review section.
Challenge Mode: This mode is listed in the menu but is currently unavailable.
Store: The store where you can buy characters and costumes is also not available at this time. If you are a casual player, it is most definitely in your best interest to wait on Street Fighter V. The story mode is unfinished; the survival mode is ruined by server disconnects; the store isn’t available, making your fight money useless at this point. All you are really receiving at launch is the versus, online, and training modes. Think of this release as $60 extended beta access. If you are looking for a single player experience, now is not the time to buy SFV.
See, it’s all part of the plan!
SFV comes with all the normal online modes you have come to expect from any fighting game and the Netcode is great (when it’s working). SFV also has cross‐platform play, which means you will be able to play anyone on PS4 as well as PC versions with no hold‐ups.
Ranked match: Fight in ranked matches to acquire league points and raise your rank.
Battle Lobby: This mode allows you to lobby with friends and randoms. At launch, you can only make 2 person lobbies… And yes, Capcom promises that 8‐player lobbies will be available later, like everything else.
Casual match: Basically the same as ranked without the ranking system.
The Competitive Review:
If you are a competitive player, this release has everything you need to get gud.
Should you play this game competitively?
Yes, without a doubt. It has even been stated by Capcom that this game was designed with the e‐sports crowd in mind. Unlike its predecessor, Street Fighter V goes back to the series basics and fundamentals. Combos are shorter, link windows are larger, matches are quicker, and each character feels like they have all the tools they need to win.
Pad or Stick?
Either will suffice, although SF is traditionally played on stick. It is my preferred method of play due to the game’s 6 button layout. Also, the game does support legacy sticks and controllers through the options menu. However, you will need to have a standard PS4 controller available to access this mode.
SFV offers one of the best training modes in fighting games to‐date. The training mode has everything you would expect from a current gen fighter. The record option for this practice mode goes above and beyond any fighting game I’ve played to‐date, offering record options for just about every situation imaginable. There are only 2 gripes I have about the training mode: It has no memory. That is to say that it will not remember your configurations once you leave the training mode. This has become a common staple in most fighting games and is missed here. 2.) No in‐game frame data. You can use the official strategy guide or the free V‐Frames app (available on ios and android) to access the data, but most games today usually have it available in‐game. Hopefully they will add these features in one of the many promised future updates.
If we zoom in and only focus on the core gameplay for Street Fighter V, it is without a doubt an amazingly fun and interesting competitive fighting game. However, because this game is being released at full price, I will have to analyze it as a finished product. There is little‐to‐no single player content available right now, and while Capcom has promised that it is coming later in the year that just isn’t enough. As stated earlier, this game is really just $60 beta extension. For the competitive crowd, that is acceptable because we want the game to practice for tournaments. However, if Capcom’s goal was to appeal to a more casual crowd, then wouldn’t you think they’d have at least included a finished story mode, or put in a traditional arcade mode to bridge the gap from casual to competitive play? The way the game was released has me really confused. They lowered the execution barrier for casuals, made the roster size smaller for casuals, brought back characters that casual fans petitioned for (R.Mika, Karin), but they left out story and arcade mode? Come on now Capcom! Right now many casual fans are upset with the lack of content, poor online connectivity, and missing features (just take a look at Reddit or GameFAQs.) Frustrated n00bs that can’t go online and mash Shoryuken with Ken are probably already trading the game back to Gamestop as I write this.
To conclude this review, as much as I am enjoying my time with SFV, I can’t in my right mind recommend it to everyone.
However, if you are a new player looking to begin your journey into the vast world of competitive fighting games, then SFV is the best place to start. The game is fresh, new and focuses on the core fundamentals that exist in all fighting games. In addition, the online play is silky smooth (when it’s actually working.) Also, the SF community (offline and online) is large, ever expanding and ensures that you will always have someone to push you to next level. If you are looking to practice and compete then say no more; pick up the game, grab a stick, go online, get bodied, practice, repeat. See ya at Evo!
If you are looking for a casual fling then this game may not be for you. Not right now at least. You may want to come back in about 3‐6 months when the game has a full story mode, challenge mode, a store to spend your fight money in, and maybe even a price drop.
Today I give SFV 3 crunchy tacos out of 5.
Later in the year, I may change this score to reflect all of the added content. Only time will tell.
Let me know what you guys think. Also, If you guys are interested in playing matches with me, shoot me a match request. My player ID is ValeiLife. I look forward to the GGs!