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No generation would be complete without its own entry in the venerable Street Fighter series, and right on cue, Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li and the rest of the motley crew are back to Shoryuken each other into hamburger. This time around, Capcom is promising a more accessible fighting system and varied roster, but is Street Fighter V really as welcoming as it claims? Does the game pull off the tricky balancing act of being inviting to new and lapsed players, while still satisfying devoted Hadoken addicts?
Is Street Fighter V the best around? Is anything ever gonna keep it down? Let’s find out…
Street Fighter V (PC & PS4)
Street Fighter V is more crazy, colorful and, well, more Street Fighter than ever. The male characters have muscles growing out of their muscles, and the ladies are all buxom butt-kicking bombshells. I’m sure Street Fighter V will receive its share of blowback for its gleeful cheesecake-iness, but honestly, the game’s whole aesthetic is so exaggerated it almost doesn’t register that 80 percent of the game’s female characters have at least one costume that exposes their bare backside. At least Street Fighter V‘s female fighters are all confident, distinctive characters. Criticize their outfits, and prepare to be pummeled into oblivion. Almost every Street Fighter V character is packed with personality, brought to life by fantastic, expressive animation, but sadly the game doesn’t do much with these fun personalities.
Street Fighter V‘s underbaked story mode serves up a series of short vignettes illustrated by static art that looks like it was dashed off during somebody’s lunch break. Most of the characters’ stories consist of maybe three or four single-round fights, interspersed with plots that never get more complicated than “I want to FIGHT to GET STRONGER! Oh hey, look, there Ryu! LET’S FIGHT!” Capcom has promised to deliver a more involved story mode in June, which feels a long way off given the scraps we’re expected to subsist on.
The story mode’s art is lacking in polish…and subtlety.
Street Fighter V‘s music is about what you’d expect – lots of wailing ’80s guitars, and not much else. As for the game’s voice work, it’s surprisingly mediocre considering a) there’s really not that much of it, and b) Street Fighter is at least supposed to be a major triple-A franchise. If you were to close your eyes, you’d think you were listening to some random, low-budget JRPG.
Street Fighter V comes with the regular handful of mechanical tweaks, and not much else. The game does add some new online options, and some of the new characters require some unique strategies, but aside from that, this is pretty much just a very nice-looking version of the game you were pumping quarters into back in the ’90s.