Street Fighter 6 seems to be doing just the right thing with Capcom’s recent announcement slate.
A stark contrast to the dispirited revelation of Street Fighter V, the game oozes personality and style in a way I haven’t seen since Street Fighter III over twenty years ago. Those last weeks, following its big gameplay reveal during the Summer Game FestivalI had the opportunity to get an in-depth look at the game behind closed doors to get a feel for the game and understand how the new combat system works.
I love fighting games and I play them almost every week (in fact for a few weeks now I’ve been playing them every day) so I was very keen to see how different Street Fighter 6 is from the others, and what it does to try and close the much-maligned skill gap that seems to be widening between newcomers and veterans as the genre matures.
The game wants to teach you and also does it in style
The first thing I was shown was the game’s menus and how it presents move lists to the player. Not only are they super sleek and stylish (the whole game is, after all), but they’re also super newcomer friendly. As you can see below, each move comes with a short video to show you what each move looks like.
While it lacks the elements that most dedicated experts often obsess over, like frame data, it’s simple and accessible. Even better, in the menus, I noticed that there are character-specific trials as well. The game should therefore give you some good tools to improve yourself, no matter who you play.
Modern control mode is a gateway for newcomers
Like I said before, many fighting games overwhelm players with lists of combos and abilities their character can do. It’s to the point that so many of my friends who play casually don’t even bother picking up the game to try and learn it.
So many people need instant gratification these days, and I totally get it, but the way Street Fighter 6 gives you options with commands might be able to give that gratification without ruining the balance of the game. Modern control mode could be a game-changer for gamers who want to get into fighting games but are too overwhelmed.
Essentially, this means you can perform certain moves and combination chains without complicated entries. On the one hand, this means that those who are less adept can easily keep up with those who are. On the other hand, it’s not an “easy” mode of any kind – using modern mode ultimately limits what you can do compared to standard mode as many of your normal attacks will be replaced by the entries easier specials.
So why bother? Honestly, this looks like a pretty good attempt to bring new people into the game – a hurdle that many fighting games often struggle to overcome. It feels like the perfect gateway to getting people to choose a fighter, ultimately giving people the confidence to step up to standard controls and unlock the potential for themselves and their character. And that’s not a bad thing.
Think Smash Bros controls but in Street Fighter. Truly a game changer for newcomers.
The commenting system is resourceful and elevates your matches
When I first heard about the commenting system, I honestly thought it was a bit of a gimmick and didn’t see the value in it. But watching so many games with it on, I have to admit, it’s extremely impressive. Essentially, each of the commentators can be selected for a match – so far there’s an English and a Japanese – and through the use of dynamic AI, they’ll commentate your match on the fly.
It’s a great addition. Not only does it bring hype to every one of your matches, especially the close calls, but the way it’s put together makes it feel like the commentator is actually there. There are also references to other games and characters in the commentary.
In addition to nailing the sensation, the commentators themselves are real people. Jeremy Lopez (English) and Ryutaro Noda (Japanese) provided professional commentary on the actual Street Fighter tournaments – and I have a feeling there could be more stuff included in the final game when it launches next year. .
It’s artistically the most striking Street Fighter game in a while
I’m surprised I went this far without talking about it. Again, a far cry from the relatively basic layout of Street Fighter V, Street Fighter 6 oozes style and flair. Powered by RE Engine, the same engine that powered recent Resident Evil and Devil May Cry 5 games, the characters all take on a more photorealistic approach as their base while remaining heavily stylized. It’s really exciting to see what the rest of the cast will look like in this new visual style.
But what’s even more exciting about Street Fighter 6 is how it moves. With the exception of sprite-based games of yore, Street Fighter 6 seems to be the smoothest animation in the franchise. The way everything moves and the way special attacks land with huge splashes of color smearing the ground seems a bit goofy at first. But such a bold stylistic choice paid off in motion – it’s without a doubt one of the most striking and visually fantastic fighting games I’ve ever seen.
There are more modes coming beyond what we have already seen
With the reveal trailer, we learned about the new World Tour mode which takes Street Fighter into the open world for the first time. Battle Hub appears to be a huge lobby that will show ads while allowing you to meet friends to join games. But other modes also seem to be included – and our first glance at the menu seems to indicate there’s more to Street Fighter 6 than meets the eye.
Arcade mode will include options to play against enemies as usual – like story and ladder type battles. The suite of training options will include the aforementioned character trials, but also specific combo trials to help players hone their game. Versus modes will also return, but we’ve seen a team battle mode that has made debuting in Street Fighter V updates but seems to be there from the start.
Finally, the “Extreme Battle” mode appears to be a party-style mode that adds special rules and wacky mechanics to battles. There might even be more to come, but for now there seems to be a nice wealth of options in Street Fighter 6.
Netcode and online modes will be robust and inclusive
I hang around Street Fighter V a bit, but for the time it was ahead of its time. Full cross-play between platforms wasn’t an industry standard six years ago (and still isn’t for some modern fighting games), so it’s great to see Capcom continuing this trend. with Street Fighter 6.
Released with full cross-play between all platforms at launch, there’s bound to be a way to play with random people or your friends no matter where and how they play. Even better, Street Fighter 6 will feature rollback netcode, which is less sensitive to lag, and will likely be developed by more than one person.
All in all, Street Fighter 6 is truly poised to be not only the best Street Fighter in the series, but one of the strongest fighters out there. Its willingness to adapt accessibility strategies to invite new players into the fold without compromising what appears to be a deep and robust combat system is to be commended. Hopefully, as the list fills out, this trend will only continue.
Street Fighter 6 will launch in 2023 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
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