Ah, this game is so controversial. Capcom basically made headlines with this game in every way possible. I was unsure about pre ordering this title since there are always remasters and such so I could potentially wait a year and get the game for the same price, but with more characters. That being said, I wanted to get into the hype right away and see the game as the meta was evolving like with Super Smash. I’ll never get into this game professionally and I’m content with being a casual, but getting it day 1 was fun. Especially since I don’t get games day 1 all that often. This was due to winning a Football Fantasy League (Along with Pre Orders for Pokken and Star Fox Zero. If I win again next year, it may go towards Kingdom Hearts III and FF VII depending on when they come out and if something else that’s even bigger isn’t on the way)
This is Street Fighter so I don’t really need to explain the gameplay right? It’s about as iconic as Mario or Sonic at this point and dare I say even more than Sonic? Next to Pac Man and Mario, I’d say that Street Fighter is the most popular game of all time. You can quote me on that one. If you want to get more technical, this Street Fighter game is different from the previous ones in the sense that it’s more about mind games. The health bars are more like Tekken in the sense that each hit deals massive amounts of damage so you’ll want to be very careful about attacking. You have to take risks in this addition and that’s part of what makes the game fun. It’s the kind of game where you can definitely picture yourself beating a pro and I have to admit that the balance is spot on. A relatively new thing is the introduction of the V Gauge. I only say that it’s sorta new since the idea of a final smash gauge isn’t new, but you can do reversals with this. Either way, you get the point about the gameplay.
Let’s go to some of the controversies. First is the censorship one. That’s easy since I definitely agree with the move. Cammy’s win celebration was toned down and likewise with R. Mika. I heard that Zangief’s was as well, although nobody ever mentions it so it’s possible that this isn’t the case or that nobody cared. It was a good move because these things weren’t necessary to the game. In fact, it’s a little disappointing to see how over the top the females were designed in this game. It almost goes to Dead Or Alive (Not the spinoffs, now that’s terrible!) levels here at times. Laura is very over the top and her introduction is really unnecessarily bad. This has never really been an issue with Street Fighter before so hopefully this isn’t a trend that sticks around for long. I doubt that I would have mained Laura anyway, but it definitely assures that I’ll stick with Ken and Chun-Li for the long haul. Either way, everyone has combos in this game so aside from a character like Zangief or F.A.N.G. they’re all good.
The next controversy is the fact that Capcom basically shipped out a 60$ beta. I made a topic on it over on Street Fighter Faqs and it was so inflammatory that it was taken down. You need to have PS+ to play online so let’s ignore that for now. Without that mode, you really only have 2 options. Survival Mode and Story Mode. Let that sink in for a little bit, there is nothing else to really do in the game. I know people like to spend time in Training Mode, but I find that boring to be honest and would rather train against a computer or play someone. Story Mode consists of 2-4 fights per character and you can beat all of the stories within 90-120 minutes. After that, it’s just Survival Mode and that’s not the kind of mode that you usually want to play for very long.
Survival Mode on Easy is very doable. It’s only 10 matches long and you should be able to beat it with everyone without any kind of struggle. Normal Mode gets very difficult as the first 25 matches are super easy, but then the difficulty ramps up to Hard Mode for the final 2 fights. It’s always very annoying to make it to the very end only to lose. Hard Mode is 50 fights and once again it’s easy until the very end where you’ll lose at the final level. I’ve only beaten this difficulty with Ken so far. After that is Hell Mode, which is an incredible 100 levels. I made it to the 70’s I believe, but it’s so time consuming that I’m definitely not tempted to give it another whirl anytime soon.
So, when you keep that in mind, you’re paying 60 dollars for what will amount to around 4 hours of fun gameplay and then you’re stuck unless you really like Survival Mode. Survival Mode is unique in the sense that you can spend your score to buy things like extra health or power, but it also makes the mode a lot longer as it needs to load between every match and it’s why the longer difficulties can be over an hour long. This game is really meant to be played for local versus mode and online. I can’t fault the gameplay so it succeeds there, but there is no excuse to not have other modes like Arcade or Trials.
A disclaimer is the fact that they are all coming for free soon. It’s just obvious that the game was released way before it was ready. What would probably get an easy 9 is definitely bumped down to an 8 for me. I may update the score with a brief update post at the end of this once more updates are here, but the question is…was it worth it to release the game this early? I’m going to say yes to be honest since I’m still glad that I got to play the game right away, but I can definitely see both sides. Some things are inexcusable like the long loading times and the fact that there is no penalty for rage quitting. That’s really bad and has been hurting a lot of people in the higher ranks.
The soundtrack is great and an easy 5/5. All of the themes are inspirational and they get you in the mood for some good fights. I have no qualms there. The stage selection is really small and I would have liked some more maps. I barely even notice them to be honest, but some are clearly better than others and more variety is never a bad thing. I don’t see why the game has no more maps unless….it’s going to be for DLC! The graphics are also very solid. I’m definitely not a fan of the character designs and the illustrations in Story Mode can be comically bad at times, but you can tell that a lot of effort went into the game as a whole. The graphics are certainly top notch, but it’s not as visually striking as Super Smash Bros.
Another big issue with the game is naturally the fact that it’s going to be very DLC heavy. There are already 6 DLC characters planned this year along with Premium costumes. The game is expected to be supported for many years to come so it’s actually very likely that we will get at least 20 DLC characters or more by the time this is through. Supposedly there will be no other versions and this original one will always be relevant. Whether that is fully true or not, it is good to know since I wouldn’t buy any new versions. They’ll probably have some updates, but it’ll be in place of buying them separately. I definitely won’t spend any money on SF V, but the good news is that I won’t have too. There’s a new feature here called Fight Money. Every 100,000 that you collect is enough to buy 1 character. I currently have 300000 so I can buy the first 3 and the upcoming modes should be enough for me to earn some more. There’s already enough in Survival Mode to get over 1 Million I believe, but good luck beating Hell Mode with everyone. I’m sure that some people will manage to do it and I’ll be thoroughly impressed, but it’s too time consuming to be worth it to me. Still, the concept of fight money is very progressive and an awesome move on Capcom’s part. This is something that I can get behind.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the online component is very good. It’s heavily sophisticated and I’ll admit that it makes Nintendo’s look bad by comparison. You can look up any player by their tag and then watch every battle that they’ve ever had. So, you want to learn some Ryu combos? No problem, look up the highest ranking Ryu players in the world and just sit back as you take in the matches. I can’t emphasize enough how incredible this feature is. Everything’s out in the open now and there are no restrictions. Naturally, this means that all of you matches can be viewed as well, but it’s a good accountability features. Now if someone claims that you didn’t actually beat them, you can just point to the profile. It’s quite possibly the best new online feature that I’ve ever seen. While waiting for a ranked match, you can also chill out in Survival Mode or Train a little. Everything is connected and the game even tells you if you’re an offensive or defensive player. There are full ranks and tiers as well unlike Super Smash where there sadly isn’t a system like that. I deeply wish that there was and you could bet that I’d be playing a ton of For Glory every day if that was ever implemented. Ah well, it’s how it goes.
As for each individual character, Chun Li’s style is my favorite so far. Unlike Ryu and Ken, I don’t really know most of her specials at the moment, but she gave me the most success online where it counts so that’s definitely a good sign. I also heard that she was one of the better fighters in the game so that helped. In a game like this one, they’re all “One of the better fighters” so it may not be saying a whole lot, but she’s officially my main. My secondary is Ken. He’s just so easy and intuitive to play. I also gained a lot of respect for him in this game as he’s portrayed as a really cool character. I also like the redesign that he got as well as the emphasis on all of his fire moves.
Ryu is a close third and his attacks are tried and true. It’s cool how just about all of his attacks and combos have endured since the original Street Fighter. I don’t care for his personality and how it was depicted here though. Look at SF IV and Super Smash for how he should be acting. I suppose Cammy would be my 4th best character. Like Chun Li she’s really quick and has a lot of good offensive tools to work with. Not to mention that she seems more heroic than most of the fighters in her game and I can get behind her goal of trying to save everyone. 5th place would be Laura. It’s safe to say that I won’t be playing her very much, but her combos and command grabs are really good. If you land the hit, you’re almost guaranteed a grab and that’s a blast against opponents who like to block a lot.
6th is Bison. He’s a little slow for me, which is what hurts him, but he’s very cool. Since Akuma is not in the game, he’s the best villain by far and all of his attacks remind me of Bass EXE, which is really neat. I’m going with Nash next although it’s really close. He’s similar to Ryu, but maybe a little stronger while sacrificing some of Ryu’s safer moves. His final smash is definitely really cool and the teleporting gimmick never gets old. After that would be Karin. She’s a little slower than the other heroines, but her combos are very long and powerful. You can basically link two special attacks into a Critical Art and the laugh at the end of it is certainly classic. I have very little experience with her as most of what I’ve seen is from visual experience rather than hands on.
As a character I can’t stand Birdie, but sadly his controls are actually pretty good. His command grabs are great and they come out of nowhere so your opponent needs to have very fast reflexes to keep up or he’ll be completely overwhelmed. Now we’re getting to the characters that I’m not a big fan of. Mika has a lot of the tools that the others possess, but I just find her hard to use. Likewise, Necalli is strong, but he feels so slow and I haven’t been able to get a hang of his combos. Rashid is the most perplexing character as he feels like he should be very fast and easy to use, but he just isn’t. Dhalsim’s great since you can spam his long range, but he’s incredibly slow and even worse..he’s boring to play as. I don’t care if he becomes top tier, I just can’t play as this guy. Zangief has no projectile which is a huge no no plus he’s a slow character. That’s a lose-lose situation if you ask me. Vega’s just incredibly weak and jumps around too much. F.A.N.G.’s another slow/boring character who I wanted to stop playing immediately. Trust me, he’s not someone that you want to play and I haven’t seen anyone use him yet so I’m guessing that a lot of people feel the same way.
Overall, Street Fighter V is a phenomenal game. I can see why some people already call it the greatest fighting game of all time. I will never say that as Super Smash Bros wins by a long shot, but aside from that?….Yeah, I think this may earn the title. It’s amazing just how well balanced and diverse the characters and their gameplay are considering that there are only 16 at the moment. I could easily play this for hours on end (When the free PS+ weekends are around) and I’m still partially a button masher at this point. It’s just such a fun game and everything about it just reeks of high quality. It’s definitely a very incomplete game at the moment, but if you have PS+ then you’ll barely notice. If you don’t…just play Survival Mode until you can’t take it anymore and then put the game down until March hits with the first new character and a lot of new features.