Street Fighter 5 review

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • February 15, 2016 at 8 a.m. PST

It's finally here. The latest, large-scale fighting game title from Capcom, Street Fighter 5, has arrived.


16 fighters, brand new game mechanics, stages, and much more look to usher in a new generation of competitors.

Designed with eSports in mind and geared toward bringing in newcomers -- while simultaneously giving hardcore players a deep fighting game experience -- Street Fighter 5 hits PlayStation 4 and PC running. So, how does the final build hold up after numerous beta tests and tweaks?

New style for a new generation:

Street Fighter 5 looks gorgeous. Slick animations and crisp character models stand at the forefront of beautiful backdrops with vibrant colors and effects. The ol' world warriors have never looked better.

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The game's fighters are diverse, and the launch roster is equipped with returning fan-favorites, as well as promising newcomers: Necalli, Laura, Rashid, and F.A.N.G. These characters, partnered with equally impressive backdrops and music, make for yet another amazing Street Fighter experience -- one you'd certainly expect from a new numbered title in the series.

Street Fighter 5 brings with it a set of all new game mechanics. V-Skill, V-Trigger, and V-Reversal each have unique uses for varying situations, and though the latter takes some more getting used to, both V-Skill and V-Trigger are easily accessible and grant players the ability to perform powerful maneuvers without the requirement of complex button inputs.

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It's no secret that Capcom aimed for a more honest fighting experience with Street Fighter 5, and the game's V-moves really compliment that motif. Though many of these techniques are powerful, they are far from a quick, easy comeback mechanic and require thought and skill to utilize effectively.

Story mode:

One of Street Fighter 5's key features is the all new story mode that provides insight into each character's motivation for fighting in the streets and their background. Each tale is told through art pieces created by renowned illustrator Bengus.

Before most matches throughout the story mode, players will also be treated to a quick, in-game cut-scene that includes a small bit of banter between the fighters, which is a nice touch. Additionally, you'll spot a number of familiar faces from the franchise, like Laura's brother Sean, Gouken, and quite a few more that you might not expect.

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Unfortunately, each story play-through is very short. Most arcs feature only three actual matches, all of which only last one round and are incredibly easy to beat.

Though some back stories really do a strong job of detailing the character's origin, like F.A.N.G's, many of them share little information and sometimes don't make much sense.

Survival of the fittest:

For those looking to get more single player action out of Street Fighter 5, you'll want to turn to the game’s Survival mode. Battling foe after foe while meter and health carries over to the next fight feels familiar and satisfying.

What makes Street Fighter 5's survival more interesting, though, is the implementation of the supplements system. Between matches, players are given the opportunity to spend score points on buffs such as a refill in health, more attack power, and a full V-gauge to better their chances of completing each level of difficulty.

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The main motivation behind playing survival will undoubtedly be the unlocking of character colors. Each character's default colors can be obtained by beating the easy, normal, and hard levels.

Locking such a highly sought after reward like colors behind a near 100-opponent survival challenge seems like a poor choice. In the SF4 series, players could unlock colors and taunts simply by playing matches. This time around, you'll have to clear each level of survival, which can be tedious and surprisingly difficult in the later stages.

Gameplay and functionality:

Where Street Fighter 5 shines most is in its gameplay. Squaring off against an opponent is as satisfying as ever, and this iteration retains all of the best qualities found in past Street Fighter titles, but adds a fresh feel to what we know and love.

A lot of this game's popularity is going to hinge on its online play, especially with parts of the Capcom Pro Tour being played over the internet. We'll have to wait until the flood of players join the fray on release day, but so far connections seem strong.

Playing against opponents across the US, as well as in Europe, netted positive results with an enjoyably viable lag rate. It wasn't perfect, as expected, but still felt better than Street Fighter 4. The lack of one frame links in Street Fighter 5 will surely be a plus in the online realm.

The new Battle Lounges are a welcome update to matchmaking. This fresh online experience is pleasantly customizable, allowing players to choose how many 2/3 matches they'll play, select hardware settings, add password protection, and more. Playing with friends or random online foes will be much smoother this time around.

Another of Street Fighter 5's newest features, the Capcom Fighters Network (CFN), allows you to look up rivals, replays and see your overall rank. The layout here feels very modern and easily navigable. Even controller settings have been made easier, with players being able to quickly check their buttons directly from the menu.

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Closing thoughts: Street Fighter 5 provides fun, frantic, fighting action for players of all skill levels. V-moves give newcomers an easy way to perform strong attacks, while leaving much room for exploration from hardcore fans.

The game feels fairly limited in single player features at the moment, but we will be seeing much more content next month and in the future, all of which will come free of charge.

Street Fighter 5 is a strong successor to Ultra Street Fighter 4 and one that is a very welcome addition to the franchise.

Pros

+ Amazing visuals, characters, music, and stages make this feel exactly how a brand new numbered Street Fighter game should.

+ Gameplay is fun, with the new mechanics that make Street Fighter 5 feel fresh and not like a simple USF4 extension.

+ Netcode feels strong right now. Cross-country and international connections held up nicely.

+ Free content coming soon.

Cons

- Street Fighter 5’s story mode at launch is short and lacking in several areas.

- Current game is limited in features.

Contributions to this review made by Velociraptor.

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