At one point, no other fighting game series could compete with Street Fighter. The success of SF4 dragged the entire genre out of a slump, but with the release of Street Fighter 5 in 2016, the bond between the two broke down.
Not only did it have flaws in its rewind netcode that were never entirely fixed, but it also lacked traditional arcade and story modes at launch. Top-tier rivals surpassed Street Fighter in popularity among casual gamers, and SF5’s incremental upgrades weren’t enough to catch up. After an entire generation of gaming consoles had passed, Street Fighter 6 had to do more than show itself as a worthy fighting game sequel.
Trying to reclaim the top spot may seem hopeless, but Street Fighter wouldn’t be worthy of its name if it gave up without a fight. Street Fighter 6 is a comeback, unlike any other fighting game, has seen since Mortal Kombat 9 ended the 3D era of the series.
That game is especially timely because Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode, which takes players worldwide, may represent the first significant change to the single-player mode of a fighting game since MK9’s acclaimed cinematic tale. Street Fighter 6 has the potential to not only recapture its crown but also to establish a new benchmark for AAA fighting games.
The opening of Street Fighter 6 directs players to the online Battle Hub, but everyone should jump straight into the World Tour. This mode directly responds to complaints about Street Fighter 5’s story and represents a potential departure from the standard cinematic mode found in most AAA fighting games. This is where people new to Street Fighter, or fighting games in general, should start, with the built-in tutorial.
Players begin their adventure in the detailed character builder, the end outcome of which can be used as an avatar in the Battle Hub. Following an initial introduction to Luke, the player’s mentor, and Bosch, the player’s competitor, the player is released into the world of Street Fighter to train with Masters, challenge random bystanders, and eventually become entangled in a greater conspiracy.
Players can keep making headway thanks to mid-battle items, assists, and even extra lives, and their avatars can keep pace with them through skill trees and equipment. It’s pure fan service wrapped in a Yakuza-like action RPG highlighting the fighting franchise’s history, with cameos from the expanded universes of Street Fighter and Final Fight and even special skills repurposed as mobility aids.
In addition to its friendly presentation, Street Fighter 6: World Tour makes a concerted effort to accommodate the new Modern control scheme introduced in the game. This mode and the Modern controls will benefit SF6’s long-term health highly because they eliminate most of the stress associated with learning combos, performing motion inputs, and battling actual people.
Because of this, World Tour Street Fighter 6 is the most excellent way to learn the ropes, with its varied foes, minigames centred on combat, and the opportunity to test one’s mettle against strangers. Players can do whatever they want with their newfound abilities, but World Tour excels independently as a supplement to Street Fighter 6.
That’s very clear when a player uses a World Tour character in a PvP arena. The Battle Hub is the primary online option in Street Fighter 6, allowing users to enter 3D lobbies and compete against other humans.
Battle Hub is the most beginner-friendly online fighting suite with features like cross-play, tournaments, player profiles, and signposting. Although the absence of a Wi-Fi indicator is noticeable, SF6 addresses issues, including choppy matches and rage quits. Players needing a break from the action can do things like pose, watch, or DJ in the Hub or engage in custom avatar fights, simulated classic games, or wild Extreme Battles.
The Battle Hub also ushers in Street Fighter 6’s biggest problem. Everything from a fully integrated search system for the Capcom Fighters Network to complete customization of the player’s public online profile, titles, greetings, and more is available in SF6.
As a result of all that’s gone into the Battle Hub, there are now three pause menus, each with its button. Even worse, almost every menu in SF6 branches off from the primary menus, some of which have peculiar formatting or load into separate areas like the Gallery. It may have been inevitable due to Street Fighter 6’s ambitious scope, but the UI bloat should have been managed better.
Fighting Ground, the game’s third and final primary mode, will be familiar to everyone who has played a fighting game before. Traditional game modes such as Arcade, Training, and Versus are included, but it hardly does justice to everything you’ll find here.
If you’re new to Street Fighter, Fighting Ground has some of the best educational materials available, including Character Guides and Combo Trials and straightforward Training setups and Tutorials on fundamental strategies. Players can even begin matchmaking online, bypassing the need for a crowded lobby.
The fact that Street Fighter 6 has a Training mode for tracking frame data shows that it doesn’t care if its players are dedicated veterans or newcomers. While Street Fighter 6 lacks the depth of options found in recent first-party Sony titles, it does set a new standard for the fighting game genre.
The third mode of control, “Dynamic,” requires an internet connection to access but uses each click to perform an action based on the current situation. Audio cues for distance, attack height, and more can be activated at the user’s discretion, and automated camera and movement can aid with navigating 3D scenes.
Though they’re mostly there for comic relief, the game’s real-time commentators may be an excellent resource for picking up new information and keeping your bearings as the action unfolds. It’s unfair that certain people get to play Street Fighter 6 and others don’t. High-powered, high-tension environments have replaced Street Fighter 5’s frame traps and countdowns with V-Trigger activation, ensuring that every fight is compelling.
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It’s as if every character had a “best of” version, combining their most potent abilities throughout the series with some new ones. All of Street Fighter 6’s new playable characters are noteworthy in their ways, and the core cast features no glaring misfits. The Drive System elevates SF6 to a new level, making movement and gameplay smooth and responsive even on current-gen computers using the lowest latency option.
EX specials, parries from SF3, Focus Attack from SF4, and V-Reversal from SF5 are all available immediately. Drive Rush can be cancelled by parries and specific attacks, giving SF6 even more impressive bursts of speed. The Drive Gauge in SF6 is fun, but if you deplete it, you’ll enter the game-ending Burnout state.
Burnout disables the victim’s Drive System, lowers their overall stats, makes them vulnerable to chip damage, and can even stun them if they are cornered. Despite this, the Drive System is so beneficial that gamers will strive to use it constantly, eventually mastering how to control it and its outcomes. Pros should continue developing innovative uses for it even after seeing everything it can do.
Capcom appears to aim for a long lifespan with Street Fighter 6, including several live service additions. You can earn Drive Tickets by taking on regular tasks and buying Fighter Coins at the Battle Hub. In addition to the Premium Courses, SF6’s initial release will include a free, revolving battle pass called a Fighting Pass. Rental Tickets have also been spotted, which players may use to try out the DLC characters in SF6 after earning them. The many modes and download layout of Street Fighter 6 suggest that a free game version is viable, despite Capcom’s silence on the subject.
Everything in Street Fighter 6 is polished to perfection, and there is more than enough content to ignore monetization worries. The attention to detail is not limited to the game’s playable characters and locations.
The player is actively involved here, able to customize Street Fighter’s “challenger approaching” card, express themselves with facial emotes between loading screens, and look for specific replays down to the order in which characters are used at the beginning of rounds. Excellent voice acting and an extensive, dramatic soundtrack featuring many vocal tracks round out the package and attest to the game’s meticulous attention to detail.
There aren’t many issues with Street Fighter 6’s visuals. Because of this, a void, such as the ability to choose any song in Versus mode, stands out. Another fail is the Resolution Mode option, which does not provide the locked frame rate required for optimal performance.
The worst of Street Fighter 6’s aesthetic missteps are concentrated in the World Tour mode, making the going difficult there. Even though there are levels and characters to choose from, this mode pales compared to the rest. The game’s shoddy player equipment, NPCs, and occasional camera problems during loading fights stand out in the grand scheme.
However, Street Fighter 6 took this chance by combining three different gameplay styles. World Tour is the single-player attraction the genre has been waiting for, making learning a fighting game fun and accessible for players of all skill levels. Battle Hub is one of the most desirable waiting areas for a combat game, thanks to its emphasis on novelty and entertainment.
Fighting Ground focuses on classic gameplay and SF6’s new concepts, like the Drive System, while addressing any shortcomings of the previous modes. With these features, Street Fighter 6 appears to have recovered its position as the best fighting game on the market.
On June 2, you can purchase Street Fighter 6 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox One S. For this review, a PlayStation 5 code was issued to Game Rant.