Published on February 19th, 2016 | by Sean Warhurst
Street Fighter V PS4 Review
Summary: A technically marvellous fighting experience marred by lack of launch content.
It’s been an eight year wait for the latest instalment in the highly revered Street Fighter series and, although mechanically the game is as technically stunning as ever, the curious decision to release what is, in essence, a teaser for the main game may serve to deter many fans from picking it up in its current state.
Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room – Street Fighter V is incredibly barebones. At the moment there’s no proper story mode, no arcade mode, no Challenge mode… There’s just really not all that much on offer to entice fighting fans away from titles such as Mortal Kombat X.
There is a rudimentary story mode available where players take control of one of the sixteen available characters and play through two to four single player rounds intercut with static images and comically overwrought dialogue. This will take an hour at most to burn through and the rewards offered for completion, alternate costumes, are currently unable to be retrieved until the online store launches next month.
That kind of highlights Street Fighter V’s biggest problem –It’s more of an I.O.U than a game, with promises of modes that are generally considered vital to the genre to be incrementally added in later months just reeks of Capcom wanting to rush out the game whilst it’s clearly in an unfinished state in order to capitalise on EVO and other professional gaming tournaments.
The bare minimum of a game that’s included here is sufficient enough to allow pro gamers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the characters and new combat mechanics in preparation for 1V1 combat, so that’s that key demographic taken care of while the rest of us kind of meander about the skeletal modes on offer whilst waiting for the actual game to finally catch up to what is now considered to be the standard.
There’s also a straightforward survival mode and training mode and that’s basically it when it comes to single player options. The multiplayer only supports 1V1 at the moment and finding a lobby is quite the struggle as Capcom struggles to contend with launch server issues; on the rare occasion I could find a game the combat was smooth and lag-free but, more often than not, I usually spent most of my time with the game simply trying to find an opponent.
Players can choose from either casual or ranked matches but, strangely, there’s no option to select your character. Instead you must set someone as your “favourite” and then they’ll be selected for your online bouts – an unnecessarily convoluted process that means that each time you want to switch characters you’ll have to exit out of the lobby and trawl through the menu.
You can earn “Fight Money” through winning bouts and completing the slender story modes and survival rounds, a currency system which can be used to unlock additional characters as they’re added to the game. There’s also a secondary form of currency dubbed “Zennys” which will be available for purchase with real world cash if you’re not feeling up to accumulating enough Fight Money points through normal play.
Whilst I commend Capcom for offering an alternative to paid DLC, in its current state the Fight Money system is pretty buggy, with large swatches of my cash disappearing between sessions and, as they’re only able to be earned whilst logged into the Capcom server, two-thirds of the time I played I didn’t earn a solitary point due to my inability to get online.
But enough with the negatives, as many of my issues with the amount of content on offer is due to be rectified in the coming months with the inclusion of additional modes and a fully-fledged story mode; the question is, what does Street Fighter V get right?
Unsurprisingly, quite a lot. The tightly honed fighting mechanics have been refined over the years and countless iterations of the franchise and Capcom’s expertise when it comes to the Beat-Em-Up genre is clearly evident here. Players can choose from a roster of 16 fighters, featuring a nice mixture of newcomers and familiar faces. Some veterans may bemoan their favourite character not making an appearance amongst this initial handful of characters but, as above, this issue will be rectified in the coming months and, honestly, what’s on offer here offers enough of a diverse selection of combat styles to appease even the most vocal detractor.
A major new feature is the V-trigger, which replaces Focus Attacks from SFIV; when triggered players are granted access to a slightly varied move set and gain a boost of heightened perception. Each player utilises their V-Trigger moves differently – For example, Ryu’s Denjin Renki attack grants players a powerful move that can break guards, whereas Chun-Li’s Renkiki ups the number of hits landed with each attack. Ultras have been similarly replaced by Critical Arts, which afford players a massively overpowered attack that can wipe off over half of your opponent’s health.
Graphics and Audio
The music is actually pretty dang catchy, featuring new tunes mixed up with reinterpretations of classic themes. The voice acting is as endearingly hammy as ever and combat sounds come off appropriately meaty. One minor niggle is the limited repertoire of catchphrases for each character, meaning that you’ll be forced to sit through the same corny victory speech time and time again.
Graphically Street Fighter V continues with Street Fighter IV’s visual style, making for noticeably sharper graphics and smoother animation but isn’t anywhere near the visual leap that SFIV was over its predecessors. I did encounter moments where the framerate dropped when things got particularly hectic but thankfully these were few and far between.
Capcom have committed to ensuring that Street Fighter V is the only version of the game that will be released this generation, meaning there won’t be a slew of the traditional Super Turbo Hyper Mega Street Fighter V – Street Harder versions following in its wake; this bodes well for the game’s future but, as it currently stands, it’s hard to recommend Street Fighter V to any but the most ardent of Beat-Em-Up fans.
Technically Street Fighter V is probably the most accomplished fighting title to date, with the gameplay mechanics standing second to none. The characters are all unique and there’s little overlap of abilities and the content that’s available out of the box, what little that there is, is a solid and thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience… It just currently stands as little more than an impressive demonstration of what’s to come in the following months, which is a little disappointing.
Primary Format – Games – Playstation 4
Game Genre – Fighting
Rating – M
Game Developer – Capcom
Game Publisher – Capcom
Reviewer – Sean Warhurst