Street Fighter 6

REVIEW:  Capcom has kick-started "a new era" of fighting games with a 2D fighting 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 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 luxurious features aiming to please every kind of fighting game player... everything about Street Fighter 6 is immaculate and overflowing with confidence.
 
A familiar but fresh-sounding soundtrack blending inspirations from a variety of music styles immediately gives Street Fighter 6 its own distinct identity. The hard-hitting soundtrack comes together cohesively, with some tracks playing into others, and really sets the vibe for Capcom's latest sequel. 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 so much more than the typical arcade fighting game. These 3 main modes branch out into countless sub-menus, with so much to discover and play around with. It's a lot for any new player... but you'll become familiar with the excellent menu navigation the more you play. There's a mode for everything! I could honestly talk about the trippy menu design and plethora of features (and supremely good music that accompanies them) for another three paragraphs straight, but there's just 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, SF6's 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 a modern JRPG like Persona 5, an open world sandbox game like Grand Theft Auto, and... Final Fight a timeless classic that 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".
 
In World Tour, there are 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 smartly helps introduce SF6's newcomers and even teaches the player how to use them, all while running through Street Fighter "basics" as well.
 
While not "necessary" for a competition-driven fighting game, the innovative World Tour mode brings so much to the overall package and presentation (especially for the under-appreciated casual audience). As ambitious and "open" as World Tour mode is, it has its flaws... but not many worth complaining about, since this mode offers something unprecedented that no fighting game has before it. It's likely that you'll accumulate hundreds of ridiculous side missions while in the middle of trying to stick to the main quest, but running around meeting / fighting entertaining characters, playing bonus games, and leveling up your avatar is hours upon hours of discovery and fun for a single-player experience. Capcom actually nailed it. And we're not even talking about "the game" yet.

  

Blanka's classic Street Fighter 2 stage reimagined.

  

The insanely-detailed 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 the multi-player experience in Battle Hub). It's clear from the beginning that World Tour isn't to be taken " too seriously"... and that's a good thing. Why your character is beating up random people in the streets isn't always clear (if ever)... but hey, the game is actually called Street Fighter. I GET IT NOW. It finally makes sense!
 
Battle Hub is Street Fighter 6's flagship 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 in the center using Street Fighter techniques they learned in World Tour (and weekly rewards through doing so). On that note, SF6's rotating Reward system is done really well and makes you want to keep coming back for more. 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 the 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 menu and wait for matches while Training or literally in any other modes. This is super convenient and should become the standard. 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, giving players the option of either a 5-stage or 12-stage playthough and various difficulty settings. There aren't any special cinematics, but great artwork and voiceovers are heard during story battles. Arcade also includes a fun Semi-Truck Bonus stage reminiscent of SFII's iconic beat-up-a-car mini game! It looks awesome and it's actually fun and rewarding. 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. Now let's talk about the mechanics...
 
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 brilliantly smooth to play. Snappy movement, intuitive meter management, compelling moveset and combo designs (with nothing too frustratingly difficult), and simply one of the best modern iterations of the traditional 2D gameplay formula that has been going strong for decades. In my opinion, character options and meter management in particular hasn't felt this good and solid since SFIII: 3rd Strike. (The highest praise I can give!) Sure, there are certain aspects about SF6's gameplay and combo system that feel "casual friendly", as high-damage combos aren't too difficult to connect and Drive Impacts are very powerful, but overall smart play and optimal damage combos (which are more difficult) prevail in the long run. SF6 is very much a skill-based 2D fighter with plenty of room for player creativity and expression.
 
Overall, Capcom refined their tried-and-true 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. On that note, Street Fighter 6 definitely deserved to win "Best Fighting Game of 2023" at The Game Awards in December 2023... even managing to beat out the over-hyped Mortal Kombat 1.
 

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Page Updated: June 8th, 2024
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 Siu, 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., M. Bison, Elena, Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui
News Links June 2024: M. Bison Reveal Trailer, Release Date, Concept Artwork 
June 2024: Terry Bogard, Mai Shiranui, M. Bison & Elena Confirmed!

May 2024: Akuma Update Adds BGM Select, Music Player, "Giant Attack"

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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, Granblue Fantasy Versus: Rising, Mortal Kombat 1, TEKKEN 8, Fatal Fury: City of the Wolves
 

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. This really is 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 refined craftsmanship and smart planning has never been more clearly visible. The "modern twist" in 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. However, everyone who sets their eyes on this beautiful game should be amazed if their vision is 20/20. (Additionally, the game's visual fidelity must be experienced in 4K / 144hz to appreciate the full detail and depth! Not to overstate it... but Capcom really did something special with this game's visuals and presentation.) 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.

This game has everything... and it has far more than what "most" fighting game players would need to be happy and keep coming back. Capcom knocked character movesets out of the park, transforming tried-and-true play-styles to new heights with reimagined levels of shine and well-planned polish. It's difficult to summarize with words how well-rounded SF6 is... or mention every single element or fan-service Capcom packed into this shining gem of a game.

Clearly, Street Fighter developers have 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 gameplay mechanic, moveset detail, soundtrack, facial expression, option, and everything else 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 the greatness of Street Fighter 6.

The icing on the cake... is the fact that we extremely "well-fed" fighting game fans, who have been eating so well these past few years, 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, care, respect, and attention to detail. That said... I've never been so excited for future DLC characters. On the downside, Capcom's over-priced DLC costumes and content behind the pay-wall of "Fighter Coins" is a misstep. It's a somewhat expected flaw these days and doesn't ruin the experience, but being able to unlock everything with Drive Tickets would mostly fix this issue.

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 a healthy skepticism about SF6's gameplay early on. However, after grasping SF6's Drive System, mastering the new mechanics, and practicing many hours with my two mains (Juri and Ken), it didn't take very long to intuitively feel in control of the game's "flow". To put it as simply... 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? This 3rd Strike fanboy is happy to have it back! Parrying feels slower, more intentional, and is easier to use in SF6... allowing more types 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 astonishing and is still very functional in competitive gameplay, as Parrying will refill your all-important Drive Gauge and give you the advantage at times. 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, hit or miss! 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 vast options menus, customizability, online training functionality, 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 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 can see how other players might feel the exact same way.

The reinvigorated SF6 competitive scene is just getting started. There's no doubt SF6 will fill arenas with passionate players for many years to come. I'll mostly be watching at home, competing online, working on this website, 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 smart 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. Congratulations to Capcom for winning "Best Fighting Game of 2023" at The Game Awards! Well deserved.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
  
  

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