Street Fighter 6

REVIEW:  Capcom has kick-started "a new era" of fighting games with a game that could potentially be their biggest hit in decades. For starters, Street Fighter 6 boasts absolutely stunning visuals courtesy of the hyper-realistic engine that powered Capcom's Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil Village and Devil May Cry 5. The explosive visual overhaul is perfectly complimented with an unprecedented level of polish in animation quality and eye-pleasing aesthetics in every corner of the game. From the insanely fleshed out character personalities, to the menu aesthetic and art style taking inspiration from graffiti and street culture, to the diverse modes and features aiming to please every kind of fighting game player... everything about Street Fighter 6 is immaculate and oozing with confidence.
 
A familiar but fresh-sounding bangin' soundtrack, with inspirations from a variety of music styles, immediately gives Street Fighter 6 its own distinct identity and place in the series. But Street Fighter 6 is much more than just a "sequel"... and that's clear from the moment you start playing the game and are greeted with THREE main menus. This is more than a typical arcade fighting game. These 3 main modes will branch out into countless sub-menus (which you will become familiar with and feel more comfortable over time), all of which clearly explain literally every part of the game from learning every character to navigating modes. I could honestly talk about the trippy menu designs (and supremely good music that accompanies them) for another three paragraphs straight, but there's so much more to talk about...

 

Street Fighter 6 launch character selection screen.

 
Inspired by Street Fighter Alpha 3's single-player mode of the same name, World Tour mode is a completely new experience that might make you forget you're playing a fighting game. The mode's aesthetic and gameplay exists somewhere between the worlds of a modern JRPG like Persona 5, Grand Theft Auto, and Final Fight (a timeless classic Capcom thankfully still takes inspiration from, giving old school Capcom fans buckets full of fan-service). In Capcom's words, "World Tour is a single-player immersive story mode that pushes the boundaries of what a fighting game is and allows you to leave your own legacy within SF6 with your player avatar". While not "necessary" for a competition-level fighting game, this innovative mode brings so much to the overall package and presentation.
 
The full-on Avatar Creation experience rivals that of modern WWE wrestling games (or past SoulCalibur installments), being a deep mode you can spend hours in (and very fulfilling when you can achieve your desired look or character "cosplay"). While a bit goofy at times, your character will learn from Street Fighter's own icons and adapt their moves while exploring Metro City's streets in World Tour (which carry over to Battle Hub). It's clear from the beginning that World Tour isn't to be taken too seriously. Why we're beating up random people in the streets isn't always clear (if ever)... but hey, the game is called Street Fighter. I GET IT NOW. It finally makes sense!
 
In World Tour, there are many colorful characters to meet, back alleys to explore, items to unlock, Mini Games to discover and play (many based on series classics), and more secrets and throwbacks to discover. The "story" content within the mode is a mixed bag and seems to lose track of itself at times, but at the very least, World Tour helps introduce the new main characters and even helps teach newcomers how to play them, all while running through Street Fighter "basics" as well. (*I'm still playing through World Tour, so please stay tuned as I will update this review). 

  

Blanka's classic Street Fighter 2 stage reimagined.

  

Battle Hub is Street Fighter 6's online lobby system... a bold and compelling new way to experience fighting games. Your avatar can express themselves in a variety of ways in the presence of other players, as you'll roam the Battle Hub's arcade area in search of opponents and other things to do. Player Avatars can even battle each other using the classic Street Fighter techniques they learned in World Tour. In addition to matchmaking for normal matches and Extreme Battle, you can even play classic games like Final Fight, Captain Commando, Magic Sword, and Street Fighter II within Battle Hub. Seeing Capcom paying respects to their humble beginnings nearly brings a tear to my eye. In so many ways and on so many different levels, Street Fighter 6 remains closely in touch with its roots.
 
Most importantly... the
Rollback Netcode and Crossplay implementation is as revolutionary as the Battle Hub design and concept itself. Thankfully, the game feels and performs great online even against players far away! For nearly a decade now, I was hoping a fighting game would eventually adapt a "3D open world" as part of an online lobby system to make things more interesting and appealing to a wider audience. Battle Hub and World Tour certainly have imperfections, but they are unquestionably innovative and impressive all on their own. If Battle Hub lobbies aren't your thing, you can still select Ranked / Casual matches from the Fighting Ground main menu and wait for matches while Training or in other modes. It's safe to say Street Fighter 6 has revolutionized fighting games online... and I have a feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg.
 

Paint splashes and particle effects taken to another level.

 
The classic Arcade / Story mode is still present in Street Fighter 6, with players able to choose either 5-stage or 12-stage playthough and various difficulty settings. There aren't any special cinematics, but unique voiceovers for this mode are heard during story battles. Arcade also includes a badass Semi-Truck Bonus stage reminiscent of SF2's iconic beat-up-a-car mini game! It looks awesome and it's fun, nuff said. Every character playthough in Arcade / Story has beautifully-drawn prologue artwork as well as a (non-animated) ending. Playing through Arcade will also unlock a plethora of high-quality character illustrations for viewing in Gallery mode.
 
DRIVE SYSTEM
The Drive Gauge performs five different techniques that can easily enhance your offense or defense. Here's a run-through of each of the Drive techniques: A Drive Impact is a powerful strike (similar to SF4's Focus Attack) that can absorb an opponent's incoming attack and leads to a "wall splat" in the corner. Drive Parry can repel your opponent's attack and refill your Drive Gauge. Cancel out of a Drive Parry or normal attack into a Drive Rush to quickly close in on your opponent. Drive Reversal is used to perform a counterattack to get you out of tight situations.
 
Finally, Overdrive Arts are similar to EX Moves from prequels that power up your Special Moves. In SF6, EX Moves are typically easy to connect with specific Super Arts, so they are very useful for setting up damaging combos as well as applying pressure. With one gauge, players have these five techniques to utilize and balance. In addition to the Drive Gauge, players also have access to the classic 3-tier Super Meter, which controls Super Arts. Every character has a Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Super Art appropriately ranging in intensity, epic-ness, and damage respective of their level. Meter management is HUGE in Street Fighter 6 and feels more and more natural and intuitive the more you play.

 

Street Fighter 6 ushers in a new generation in 2023.

 
CONTROLS:  The "Classic" standard 6-button control type for the series remains intact. However, Capcom also introduced a new setting called "Modern" which enables simple button presses for special moves and basic auto-combos by holding down the assigned "Assist" button. This is a helpful control setting for newcomers and those who don't play fighting games often, but it also limits the overall number of moves that a character can perform. Lastly, the "Dynamic" control scheme offers an AI-assisted experience where players can simply mash buttons and the AI will chose what moves are best at the moment. It's effective too... and will perform advanced combos (with EX moves and into Super Arts) with repeated presses of single buttons + directional inputs. Dynamic mode is only available offline.
 
Speaking of controls... Street Fighter 6 feels absolutely great to play. Snappy movement, intuitive moveset and combo designs (with nothing too frustratingly difficult), and simply one of the best modern iterations of the tried-and-true traditional 2D gameplay that has been going strong for decades. Capcom has refined their engine brilliantly, smartly balancing meter management and strong fundamentals for the ultimate Street Fighter experience. Street Fighter 6 is a game that we'll be talking about for a very long time. Congratulations on your masterpiece, Capcom... this is a wonderfully polished fighting game that all types of gamers can enjoy for years to come.
 

There's a whole world and community to explore...

  

Page Updated: August 31st, 2023
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Shuhei Matsumoto         Producer
Kazuhiro Tsuchiya            Producer
Takayuki Nakayama
        Director
Yusuke Hashimoto           Designer
Kaname Fujioka                 Art Director
Artwork By: Bengus, Tamio, Hiroaki
Platform(s): PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Steam
Release Date(s): June 2nd, 2023
Characters Ryu, Chun-Li, Luke, Jamie, Guile, Juri Han, Kimberly, Ken Masters, Blanka, Dhalsim, Edmond Honda, Cammy White, Dee Jay, Zangief, Marisa, Manon, JP, Lily, Rashid, Ed, Akuma, A.K.I.
News Links Aug. 2023: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x SF6 Costumes, A.K.I. Teaser
Aug. 2023: New "Outfit 3" Costumes for Juri, Guile, Marisa & Dee Jay

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Street Fighter V, SFV: Arcade Edition, SFV: Champion Edition, Ultra SF4, Super SF4: AE, Super SF4, Street Fighter 4, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, SF2: CE, SF2 Turbo, Super SF2, SSF2 Turbo, SSF2T Revival, SSF2T HD Remix, SFIII: New Generation, SFIII: 2nd Impact, SFIII: 3rd Strike, Street Fighter Alpha, SFA2, SFA3, SFA3 Upper, SFA3 Max, SFA Anthology, SF Anniversary Collection, SFEX, SFEX2, SFEX3, Street Fighter: The Movie, Final Fight Revenge, Samurai Shodown (2019), Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, The King of Fighters XV, DNF Duel, TEKKEN 8, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, Mortal Kombat 1
 

Gameplay Engine  9.5 / 10
Story / Theme  9.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  10 / 10
Animation  10 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  10 / 10
Innovation  10 / 10
Art Direction  9.5 / 10
Customization  10 / 10
Options / Extras  10 / 10
Intro / Presentation  10 / 10
Replayability / Fun  9.5 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  10 / 10
Characters  10 / 10

BOTTOM LINE

 10 / 10

 Review based on PC version (4K) 

 

Final Words: Street Fighter 6 is stellar... an absolute Masterpiece... a fighting game for the ages. A fighting game for everyone! Capcom redefined, yet again, what we think a "2D Fighting Game" can be. Capcom has been making quality sequels for years now, but their absolute craftsmanship and planning has never been more clearly visible. The "modern twist" in overall aesthetics, options, and playability are simply revolutionary. Street Fighter 6 is on another level.

The magic of Street Fighter 6 appreciated from the eyes of a veteran fighting game player is something special... but EVERYONE who sets their eyes on this beautiful game will be amazed. (Additionally, the game's visual fidelity must be experienced in 4K / 144hz to fully appreciate the depth of the graphical fidelity! Capcom did a brilliant job with the visuals.)

This game has everything... and it has much more than what most fighting game players would need to be happy. Capcom knocked character movesets out of the park, transforming tried-and-true play-styles to new heights with reimagined levels of shine and well-rounded polish. It's difficult to summarize with words all of the insane details (and fan service) Capcom packed into this shining gem of a game. The "shake" of fleshy muscles, the crazily-smooth camera work, the battle damage on skin and clothing, the new "TEKKEN-like" attention to realism, mechanics, and animation, the defining and unique Burnout and Parry animations for every single character... and so on and so forth.

Clearly, Capcom has learned many things over the years making fighting games... and I'm proud of them. In June 2023, Capcom delivered much more than just another 2.5D fighter. Every attention to detail, every note of music, every facial expression (100s of them), and everything that has ever made Street Fighter great in the past has been brought back and "magnified". There's literally an element or two from every single Street Fighter prequel that has returned in SF6 in some way, enriching the final product from the roots up. Congrats, Capcom. And congrats to all of us in the FGC who've been around long enough to experience and appreciate just how grounded and polished Street Fighter 6 is.

The icing on the cake... is the fact that we extremely "well-fed" fighting game fans, who eat so well, get to sit back and enjoy this game knowing full well that every future returning Street Fighter (or Capcom) character who joins the fun in Street Fighter 6 will be treated with the same love, respect, and attention to detail. Holy shit... I've never been so excited for future DLC characters.

The 18 beautiful and confident world warriors of Street Fighter 6's launch roster deliver on so many levels. The pre-fight animations and throwbacks on the Versus Screen alone is captivating enough to remain on the screen for way longer than intended. In addition to how great characters look and animate on the Versus Screen, the following character "walk out" animations are simply stunning. Breathtaking! We've never felt so "close" to these iconic martial artists and wrestlers. It's like they're walking right by us... shoulder to shoulder. THIS GAME LOOKS PHENOMENAL.

As a returning player, I had healthy skepticism about the gameplay early on. After grasping SF6's Drive System and new mechanics, it didn't take long to intuitively feel the game's "flow". To put it as simple as possible... the game feels great. The combo system feels great. Returning fan-favorites perform the type of combos you'd want and expect them to, and by adding in Drive Rush, you'll be able to discover new combo routes and ways to inflict damage stylishly. Did I mention combos are FUN in SF6? They are.

Parrying as a universal mechanic? So glad to have it back! 3rd Strike is one of my TOP favorite games in the entire series, so this is obvious. Parrying feels slower, more intentional, and is easier to use in SF6, allowing more players to enjoy what the mechanic has to offer! (Not to mention, the vast number of intricate martial arts-inspired Parry animations per character is simply jaw-dropping!) Parrying in SF6 looks sick and is still very functional in competitive gameplay, as Parrying will refill your all-important Drive Gauge. The overall Drive system mechanics are compelling and promote all levels of players to perform cool and powerful things with your character.

Everything about SF6 feels "new" and shooting for the stars! It seems like Capcom really wanted to hit it out of the park this time... and possibly even go for a Grand Slam a few years from now. After the rocky launch of SFV, who would've thought Capcom would answer fan criticisms with such a mic drop. However, I'll be the first to say that SFV taking eSports as seriously as it did at the time was a prescient move and 100% set SF6 up for this success. The customizability, character / online training options, and tutorials in SF6 are next-level impressive and super helpful at improving your game.

Capcom finally giving single players an entertaining and charming solo experience with World Tour was a long time coming. Interestingly, the rewards you receive in the World Tour 1-player experience will follow you to the Battle Hub social environment. This is great game design. You get to play the game at your own pace! On that note, all fighting games should be experienced at your own pace... not someone else's. I'm loving SF6 so far, for way too many reasons. I'm not as serious a competitor as I used to be and don't travel to tournaments anymore, but that's okay... and that's the point! There are certain things about Street Fighter 6 that make me feel like Capcom "made this game for me". And for many reasons, I could see how other players might say the exact same thing! Capcom really tried to please EVERYONE. What an effort... and what a delivery.

The competitive scene is only getting started. There's no doubt SF6 will fill arenas with passionate players for years to come. I'll mostly be watching at home, competing online, and enjoying SF6 music through my headphones. And there's nothing wrong with that! Enjoy the game how you want to. That's the great thing about SF6. Is this the greatest time ever to be a Street Fighter player? Yes, my friends... yes it is. Capcom has ushered in a new "Golden Era" of fighting games. Capcom's brilliant execution in nearly every aspect has not only raised the bar of production value for fighting games, but Street Fighter 6 on its own is likely to elevate the entire genre and fighting game community.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
  
  
  
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