your initial thoughts of Street Fighter V were when the game was first
revealed in December of 2014, it's likely that your opinion has since changed...
for better or worse. This is why I waited 4 months after SFV's release
before posting my review. SFV is the definition of an evolving game. For
those of us who started playing the SFV beta back in July 2015, we've
seen SFV grow and evolve, as we all knew it would. Having a worldwide
online beta of SFV was actually pretty great, and revolutionary in the fighting genre. It was exciting to experiment with the
latest returning fighter, and see what crazy combos the forever-engaged
community came up with... when the servers were online, that is.
The essence of Street Fighter hasn't really changed. Colorful characters
(some old, some new, some odd), bringing their distinctive brand of ass-kickery
to the global stage. If you're Capcom, you have a tough job... because you want
to please fans from the old days, please fans who jumped on the
bandwagon in 2009 with SFIV... and, of course, you want to attract an
even younger fanbase to the series with SFV. Everyone has their
opinion on what Street Fighter should be in this current gen, and SFV
seems like it tries to cater to every taste. I can respect that. I
might not like every decision for every gameplay/character design choice,
but there are many that I love in SFV. With icons from all major installments of
the series (SFA, SF2, SF3) making their returns, there's a
character (or two) in SFV for every type of Street Fighter player.
Street Fighter is like Coke... (Coca-cola, that is).
If you're the owner of Coke, it's wise not to mess with the core product
"too much" when releasing something new. However, it can also prove
successful to be gutsy and experiment with new ideas. Inevitably, some ideas
will succeed and some will fail. This seems to be the theme of SFV in a
nutshell. A collection of "ideas"... taken from several different
designers and inspirations... all culminating into one game. (And then there's
Yoshinori Ono, who seemingly still puts his "stamp of super-happy"
on everything Street Fighter
since 2004-ish). To me, past Street Fighter installments (like the
SFA and SF3 series) seemed to have more "direct and
focused" game design & art direction, whereas Street Fighter
V's overall direction seems to be all over the place.
seeing SFV's character selection screen grow... Who's next!?
There's A LOT to
talk about when it comes to Street Fighter V... Capcom did that
right, at least. Thanks to the dedicated community and player base, it's common
knowledge that Street
Fighter is still the most popular and widely-played fighting game of all
time. An evolving product with years of planned support by the developer?
Promising fans that they only need to purchase 1 disc to enjoy all future
content? A storyline said to bridge the gap between SF2, SF4
and SF3?! An epic character roster made up of some of the most
Fighters of all time, some who we haven't seen in a new game in over 15
years? This is the stuff of dreams for a 90's fighting game fan. It all sounds
great on paper. However, Capcom's delivery of the product is... another
After four (arguably) successful beta phases... there's no denying Street Fighter V
officially launched as "BETA #5".
And it didn't take long for some fans to start dubbing the game "Street
Beta V"... (Ohh wait, I see what you did there Capcom! ...5 betas! SF5!
For giving players early
access to the game and keeping the community excited for new content, Good Capcom.
Good. For releasing the "sorta-but-clearly-not-finished" game as beta #5,
which essentially only added F.A.N.G. (one of the most awkward and annoying Street
Fighter characters ever created) to the game, Bad Capcom. Bad. From a business and community management standpoint, I understand why they chose
to launch the game in such a raw, unfinished state. Firstly, Killer
Instinct (2013) got away with a similar practice 3 years ago and they seem
to be doing just fine.
Secondly, getting the game out in the wild means crazy exposure at major
fighting game tournaments and gaming events, including the biggest of all: EVO
2016. Remember "we eSports
Having the game out with top
players going to town using the latest roster (in tournaments and online) is better than not having anyone
playing it until it's fully polished... right?
The negative consequences of Capcom's decision to rush out the game was leaving
out the casual "non-frame-studying" audience almost entirely. Needless
to say, SFV's launch modes were shallow and unimpressive. The
main 1-player mode at launch? Not Arcade mode with character endings, or anything like
that. Instead, a time-consuming, frustrating, and poorly designed
Survival Mode (mandatory to play in order to unlock new character colors and
other content). A part of me likes that character colors are, in a way, "trophies" to show other players that you
actually beat Survival
on various difficulty levels, but frustrating AI and boring power-ups make
Survival mode an unsatisfying chore. (But thankfully, the AI difficulty was
fixed in the July 2016 update). Additionally, the quick and not-at-all-challenging character
stories are hit-or-miss, but mostly didn't hit the mark either. It's definitely
cool to see story artwork done by legendary Capcom artist Bengus, but even Bengus
himself seemed a bit rushed and uninspired. While some are entertaining, those character
stories cut off way too soon before accomplishing anything.
The all-important online mode is straight-forward and thankfully offers decent
netcode. The star features of SFV's network options are the Network Match Fight
Request settings (players can be challenged by opponents during any 1-player
mode) and the groundbreaking PS4/PC cross-play feature. The CFN options / community hub is
also pretty spiffy and has some cool options. On the downside, Capcom still
can't figure out how to deal with "rage quitters"... (something that TTT2
online handled very well since day one in 2012). While SFV online is
playable, the lack of single-player content at launch still caused serious backlash,
spawning understandably negative early reviews of SFV. So was it really
a smart move to release the game early and garner such negative hype? Probably
not. The good news is, we are officially "post July
2016"... and SFV now has some actual 1-player
In its current form, SFV is already a more complete fighting game package than
"Doujin / indie" fighting games released over the past few years
(which don't usually get updated at all). So that's an improvement.
Falls... what does it all mean?
Let's talk about the entree of SFV's
single-player content, "A Shadow Falls". The cinematic story expansion has the monumental opportunity to bring the
Street Fighter characters to life in a way never seen before, and tie up decade-long loose ends in the
storyline. While most of the cinematics are vibrant and entertaining; unfortunately,
the storyline itself doesn't answer any questions, nor does it tell much of a
real story at all. I
didn't expect much, but thankfully, I was at least entertained (which honestly
isn't an easy feat, because I'm not an easily-entertained person).
are actual laugh-out-loud moments, even some badass moments, and the camerawork
in particular is excellent. The smooth motion-capture animation mixed with
pleasantly moving camera angles mesh beautifully together.
Unfortunately, graphical issues like glitchy hair and clipping take away from
the presentation quality at times.
Gone are the days of a "group of fighters from around the world entering a
martial arts tournament". (Although, I think that cliche may've been a
better starting point than Nash dreaming of a sheep talking to him. And spoiler
alert (not really), that sheep actually transforms into Necalli and attacks him.)
WTF. (Capcom still loves their WTF moments.)
After that, the bulk of the story unfolds as if it's being orchestrated by a 8-year-old playing
with action figures (or just Yoshinori Ono playing with action figures, like he
does on Tuesday mornings). A lot of the writing is pretty sloppy and juvenile, but
it isn't filled with the 30-year old Hollywood cliches which littered MKX's
SFV's story took some risks, at least, and put some effort into being
original. Some of these risks are questionable however, such as
giving so much damn screen-time to Rashid and F.A.N.G. Considering the
Street Fighter series never had a story mode anywhere close to this, it's
beyond surprising that Capcom decided to focus so much on these "untested"
newcomers. While I pretty much
despise everything F.A.N.G. stands for, and don't really like Rashid too much as
a design, in fairness, the two actually managed to start being mildly-halfway
entertaining midway through the story. I LOL'd a few times... I'll give them
Surely, most veteran Street Fighter fans who are actually interested in
the story would want to see more emphasis given to classic
characters and storylines. Sadly, there were some missteps in that regard as
well. (Really Capcom? Rashid is present (and cracking jokes) while Guile and Charlie have their
long-awaited epic reunion after all these damn years? No,
Capcom. Just NO.
BAD Capcom... Again.
Nonetheless, A Shadow Falls still managed to keep me interested throughout. I wanted to see what was going to happen next. I wanted more. I wanted
to see some awesome twist, and how they might bring Gill into the storyline to
finally tie in SF3. I
even wanted to see if certain characters were going to DIE. Without
spoiling anything, I have to say I was a bit disappointed in that regard. Capcom
played the "safe card" and left things to the imagination. Other
character storylines went unanswered.... Necalli had the potential to be a
prominent and highly-engaging character in the story, but he's still just a mystery.
But I digress. My favorite part of A Shadow Falls is
easily the inclusion of the badass Shadaloo Dolls.
It's been a long time coming... but we finally get to meet all the dolls. (P.S. They
should seriously get their own spin-off game. I'd buy it.) Fighting against
random Shadaloo baddies, the Dolls, and even a random cop was memorable...
but if anything, none of it lasted long enough. Load times between fights also
create some awkward moments, confusing the player on whether or not gameplay was
going to commence or not.
A Shadow Falls succeeds at filling the SFV experience with
"new" content of sorts. The playthrough features a ton of new & alternate stages, making it
feel immersive. Also, seeing
characters running through the cold metal walls of Shadaloo's headquarters
gave me some nostalgia from SFA3's epic ending sequences. In short, the
graphics, the smooth animation & camera work, random character
cameos, and a few clever "LOL moments" (that I won't spoil) make it
worth a full playthrough. Plus, the
price of admission is FREE.
I only hope they continue the story with additional chapters (which
Ono mentioned as a possibility), but perhaps they take it
more seriously next time.
*Spoiler Alert* (for real this time)... I could think of 20 better ways to integrate Gill into the
storyline and "tie up loose ends". He could've helped Ryu
"kill" M. Bison. How epic would that be? The last 10 minutes were
anticlimactic and didn't have to be.
The epic return
of classic stages like Guile's SF2 Airbase... More of this
12 paragraphs... and I haven't even
talked about SFV's gameplay yet.
(Ohh Capcom, you bring the drama and talking points like no other fighting
game ever). So let's get to it. SFV absolutely feels like classic Street Fighter,
mixed with many of the better elements from the series history. The pace is closer to SFIII:
3rd Strike (still arguably the best traditional 2D fighter ever made), and with much-improved animation quality, some would say SFV
actually feels closer to SF3 than SF4. However, as a whole, SFV's
gameplay experience resembles SF4 more than anything else. Even
though I was never a big fan of the 7-year SF4 saga, I can admit that it
was a smart decision to include a healthy amount of SF4 inspirations within SFV.
The V-System integrates beautifully
into the classic formula, giving each fighter an even more distinctive
play-style. Each character's "V-Skill" varies... sometimes it's an
extra special move (which can be used in a few different ways), while other
times its a unique mechanic or movement ability. "V-Triggers" really
shake up the gameplay, powering up a fighter's special moves, speed, or other
various nuances which open up the door for higher damage, bigger combos, or
additional mix-ups. Overall, V-Skills
and V-Triggers are offer some additional creative freedom, expanding each fighter's
potential (and are imperative to mastering a character). V-Reversals are another way to utilize the V-Gauge, and
can be used as an effective defensive tool to get an aggressive opponent out of
your face. I particularly love the V-Reversals that are "exclusive" moves, such as R. Mika's badass Stonecold
Stunner and Balrog's classic Rising Headbutt.
Lastly, some V-Triggers (like Nash's & R. Mika's) are a "one shot / hit
or miss" special move which makes watching SFV matches fun.
The way players implement V-Triggers can make for some interesting outcomes.
Of course, it's up to the player to develop a creative playstyle using a limited
amount of moves. Thankfully, all returning Street Fighters stay true to their earlier versions and
even succeed them in many ways.
Veterans like Dhalsim, M. Bison, Birdie, R. Mika, Vega & Balrog are
re-imagined brilliantly with new (yet still authentic) takes on their classic
movesets. SFV's group of newcomers is a harder pill to swallow, and in my opinion,
don't quite live up to the veterans. Necalli, my personal favorite of the new designs,
looks and feels like a natural next-gen Street Fighter character, whereas
& F.A.N.G. somehow feel more like "SF4 rejects" who were
late to the party.
SFV's newcomers, as a whole, don't quite bring the hype. Instead, most of
them have a "yeah, I suppose you 'work' as a Street Fighter
character," kind of vibe.
Something must be said about the "quality" of the character redesigns.
Most characters in SFV still bring a refreshing "newness" whether
they're a veteran or newcomer. Their animations are deliberate and
elaborate... much better than SF4's overall. While all of the fighters
have a "quality" vibe about them in gameplay, more
"heart" seems to have been put into certain characters, over others.
Some characters (like R. Mika & Birdie) really have that "wow"
factor about their redesigns and new movesets, whereas Karin and Alex, for example,
seem closer to "SF4 quality" iterations. Other redesigns such as Guile, Dhalsim & M.
Bison are a perfect evolutionary step for the character. 10/10. I also love how Capcom brought in some moves
from the old school MVC series, such as Zangief's air grab, Chun-Li's air lightning kicks,
and Dhalsim's Yoga Inferno. Good Capcom!
At the end of the day, Street Fighter V is a solid fighting game at its
core. It's back to basics in some
ways, with "easier execution" for advanced combos (which I approve
of). SF4 made certain combos overly difficult and not very fun to
perform, if you ask me. SFV's mechanics manage to be innovative and
challenging, but still easy
enough for everyone to understand. This is one of the reasons why Street Fighter is still one of the
most watched competitive fighting games in the world... It's easy to follow. It
still comes down to traditional 2D fighting game fundamentals like spacing, reads,
punishes, and being an execution-master on those flashy combos and mix-ups. On that note, I will say
that there are some ultra-sexy combos in the game that don't only look
good, but are incredibly fun to pull off. Indeed, "winning with style"
is definitely a thing in Street Fighter V. On that note, the classic K.O.
splash screen when finishing with Critical Arts and EX moves is easily the
best-looking of the series.
Extra Battle? Capcom? *crickets*
It's a novel idea for Capcom to
offer so much "free" extra content in SFV, which doesn't have to be
purchased with real money. Players earn in-game Fight Money by
playing Survival, completing Challenges, Story, and winning Online battles. The only flaw: Major grinding
is required to unlock stuff (and its expensive). You'll inevitably want more than you can
possibly unlock at once (unless you're a PC asshole who uses hacks).
After you complete the main 1P modes, it takes a
while to earn that additional Fight Money with online battles. You most likely can't
"get ahead" and
will have to make decisions on what you "want the most" when unlocking
Capcom still wants you to pay real money for new content in order to have it as soon
as it's available. Aside from its faults, the heart of the scoring / unlocking system is
pleasing... and it at least makes you want to play the game more. In terms of
Online Mode, SFV's matchmaking system and ranking system is solid,
pitting you against players of a similar level. The Rage Quit Punish System also
supposedly works, but I couldn't tell you since I don't rage quit.
SFV's Challenge Mode consists of Demonstrations, Trials and Missions. Demonstrations is a surprisingly deep
"Tutorial" of sorts and very useful for beginners. There are
even character-specific tutorials which elaborate on each fighter's play-style
and unique V-System. Just like in SF4 (and SFEX), Trials
has players perform
increasingly more difficult combos for every character. As usual, Trials is good starting point on learning a new character. 7 months after
Capcom finally added "Daily Challenges" / AKA Missions - another way for players to
earn Fight Money via specific challenges. (P.S. It's a shame that Missions took so long
to come out, because that extra Fight Money earlier on would've been nice.) Sadly, Extra Battle, another special mode advertised for the
game since early 2016, still
isn't available. Extra Battle will pit players against
special in-game bosses (pictured above) and will earn players various rewards
|| Yoshinori Ono
(Story Mode Artwork)
16th, 2016 (/)
Feb. 18th, 2016 ()
M. Bison, Cammy,
Necalli, Vega, Rainbow
Mika, Rashid, Karin
Matsuda, Dhalsim, F.A.N.G., Alex, Guile
, Balrog, Juri
Han, Urien, Ibuki,
SF4, Super SF4: Arcade Edition, Super
Super SF4: 3D
Fighter 4, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street
Fighter 2, SF2: Champion Edition,
SF2: Turbo, Super SF2, Super
SF2 Turbo, Super SF2 Turbo Revival,
Super SF2T HD Remix,
SF3: New Generation,
SF3: 2nd Impact, SF3: 3rd Strike, SF3: 3rd
Strike Online Edition, Street Fighter 4, Super
SF4, Super SF4: 3D Edition, Super
SF4: Arcade Edition, Ultra Street
Fighter 4, Street Fighter 5, Street
Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street
Fighter Alpha 3, SFA3 Upper,
SFA3 Max, SFA Anthology, Street Fighter
Anniversary Collection, SFEX, SFEX2, SFEX3,
Fighter: The Movie,
Final Fight Revenge, Blazblue:
Central Fiction, Guilty
Gear Xrd -REVELATOR-, Killer Instinct
Season 3, Mortal
Kombat XL, TTT2, Tekken 7, King
of Fighters XIV
8.5 / 10
Story / Theme
6.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
9.0 / 10
Music / Sound Effects
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
Options / Extras
6.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation
7.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun
8.5 / 10
8.5 / 10
9.0 / 10
Review based on
Street Fighter is the WWE of the fighting game universe. You might not like John Cena,
but you better get used to his mug if you still watch wrestling.
Love it or hate it in its current incarnation, Street Fighter V will be
successful for years to come due to dedicated player support and Capcom's
promise to enhance the game for years to come. However, with all the backlash due to SFV's
unfinished release and Capcom struggling to stick to their original DLC
release schedule, Capcom must've learned by now that you can't shortchange fighting game
face it, SFV's rushed launch (due to Capcom wanting the game to appear at
EVO '16) left many fans disappointed and bored. Thankfully,
Capcom has "brought SFV to form" by
steadily releasing new content
throughout 2016 and into 2017. It's definitely a better game now, and it will continue
to evolve. Keep it coming Capcom!
After playing the series for over 25 years, I still enjoy Street
Fighter. Maybe it's the nostalgic, classic gameplay experience that keeps me coming back,
along with the intriguing evolutions of the series iconic characters. Even though I've evolved as a
player to loving 3D fighters a bit more
than 2D (in most cases), I still enjoy going "back
to basics" on a 2D plane and rediscovering all the fundamental nuances to pick apart
Fun Fact: When I first saw the SFV
"leaked roster" back in Autumn 2015... I thought it was too good to be true. I
actually thought someone was playing a prank on me, since that list included way too many
of my all time favorites (and naturally, characters who are rated very highly on TFG).
Honestly, this is a sort of "dream roster" that I
myself might've picked for SFV... about 5 years ago. While some
characters haven't translated "perfectly" in my opinion, most of the
returning veterans never looked better.
If you have trouble appreciating SFV, (get good... lol... or...) look at the game from "retrospective"
viewpoint. Don't be jaded. Notice details like
character moveset design, and music - all of which are excellent. Worth
soundtrack is a solid step up from SFIV's. Did you notice that all
of the returning
character theme songs have "hidden" fragments of their classic themes from 15+ years ago?
(Karin's & Birdie's for instance?) Did you notice how characters' bodies awesomely
reflect the light of incoming projectiles? Seeing projectiles approach a low-health opponent,
dynamically illuminating their features (and the background) as it passes by, adds
These details, in addition to comparing SFV to past installments
(which, by the way, didn't have much "extra content" to begin with), enables
one to value SFV as a sequel worth putting time into, and a step in the
right direction. Does every new fighting game need to break the
boundaries for "next-gen" graphics? No, not
every game will be Guilty Gear Xrd. But yes, "presentation" and
small details definitely help, and still definitely matter in video games.
On that note, I wish Capcom spent more time on a few things. The smaller details were
always my favorite part about Street Fighter games. (For one, I miss
hitting my opponent 1 or 2 more times after K.O.)
(Also, no boxes breaking in Guile's revamped SF2 stage? Really? That
1991 technology is too hard to implement in current-gen?)
Alas, Capcom is still dead-set on heavily catering to the eSports crowd because apparently it's
"best for business"... but dammit, Street Fighter used to be
in motion. Sadly, SFV falls a bit short in that department, and it's sad to
see "minimal effort" in art direction. (Really Capcom? Ibuki, Alex,
& Urien don't
get orthodox character artworks like the original roster? Just edited renders?!
Also, at launch, only 1 stage in the game had a breakable wall and
interactive stage K.O.?) Many great fighting games of the past launched with
variety of interactive stages to demonstrate the "new engine"... not just
one stage for showing off at E3. It's almost false advertising.
But to end on a positive note... 7
months after launch, Capcom finally added to K.O. / stage transitions to
the game, and they're pretty entertaining. Worth the wait I
Now, this next bit is just a personal note. I'm not comparing SFV to
Tekken Tag Tournament 2,
because the games don't need to be compared... but I'm letting you know where my
head's at. As someone who mains TTT2 (playing it consistently for the last 4-5
years), SFV seems really... "simple" to me. Sometimes simple is good. Sometimes simple bores me.
In short, defeating opponents "the same way" repeatedly doesn't quite satisfy
my "bloodlust"... if you will.
Losing the same
way also can get boring. In TTT2, even after 5 years, I don't win or lose
"the same way" repeatedly on any given session. Maybe that's because I use 20+
characters, or maybe
it's because I usually only lose to strategies and styles I've never seen before.
doesn't have the same effect from a long-term standpoint. It also doesn't take
very long to fully learn or
even "master" most characters in SFV (which is a pro and a con, in my
opinion). In SFV,
the same combos and same results will inevitably happen with ever-so slight variations.
Yeah, maybe you know
the frames, punishes, and match-ups better than I do... but that doesn't mean SFV
is that complex of a game. Some friends of mine even call it "Simple Fighter V"...
but I personally give the game more credit than that. Be that as it may, SFV is a
foundationally-solid 2D fighter and still "more fun" (IMO) than MKXL
or Killer Instinct.
When criticizing Street Fighter V's simplicity, one must remind oneself...
Street Fighter - the fundamental starting place of every fighting game ever
made since the early 90's. When
you're Street Fighter, part of being Street Fighter is being true to your
90's roots. And perhaps, what SFV does best is just that. Along with the
solid refinements on the
classic gameplay formula, Capcom took great care in keeping the
integrity of veteran characters, all while evolving them smartly and stylishly. Perhaps not "all" returning characters turned out just the
way you would've hoped, but surely one or two did, right? In my case, the only characters I
don't quite approve of are Alex's visual redesign and F.A.N.G... Karin also should've
kept her classic counters from SFA3.
Other than that, I'm quite happy with the SFV roster, and still very excited for future character
The goofy / facetious nature of the SF4 series and many of its design quirks still
"linger" in SFV... but aren't as bad, thankfully. At times, SFV seems like a funny
Pixar movie, notably during story mode and win poses. SFV's
art direction started off on the right foot... with a darker setting,
"serious" Ryu, "serious" Chun-Li, totally badass Bison,
Franken-Charlie, fat washed-up Birdie... but then... shit happened. Birdie doesn't
need to pull out a giant f*cking donut during his win pose, and F.A.N.G. doesn't need to exist at all.
It seems someone over at Capcom just can't help themselves. Someone has to
"cross the line" and force bad slapstick humor into the game. (On-san,
is that you again?).
Birdie's win pose is actually a perfect analogy for what is
wrong with SFV. In gameplay, Birdie is a charismatic,
amazingly-details, and hard-hitting 2D fighting game character... his
"humor element" during gameplay is just enough... the perfect
amount... 10/10.... but someone decided to
(bleep) it up and give Birdie a giant stupid donut in his win pose.
*sigh* The Street Fighter III
series was beautiful, serious and honest. There were no obnoxious
no Pixar rejects, and no stupid shit like F.A.N.G and giant donuts. There used
to be more of a
focus on martial arts and actual fighting. I still miss that kind
of Street Fighter... and I know I'm not alone.
In closing, it took Killer Instinct (2013) about three years to get to where it is
game that feels mostly complete after countless individual updates. So where do
you think SFV will be in 3 years?
Capcom needs to do is continue updating the game with relevant and exciting content. It's
obvious SFV hasn't nearly reached its full potential, and it's an
exciting time to be a Street Fighter fan when realizing Capcom plans to
update the game for years to come! Back in the day, when a
fighting game was released... that was it. That was the whole game (and
if it was broken or unbalanced, tough cookies)! There
was nothing "new" until years later when you paid another $50-$70 for a sequel.
Thankfully, those days are (mostly) over. Capcom has promised that SFV will get bigger, better, and will probably last
as long as SF4, if not longer (and you'll still spend less money than you would in the 90's
for console version updates). So hopefully, the best is yet to come.
And just like SFV, my review will continue to evolve with it. Thanks for reading!