RISE UP! : Street Fighter V First Impressions
"What strength! But don't forget there are many guys like you all over the world"
Street Fighter hit the arcades in 1987, following the exploits of martial artist Ryu as he travels the world fighting different opponents and completing various tests of strength. After a couple of poorly received attempts at sequels, in the form of “Human Killing Machine” and “Final Fight”, the wildly popular Street Fighter II debuted in 1991. After this the franchise took off like a rocket, with each major title within the series spawning several different iterations with mechanic improvements or new characters.
Sequentially they were developed and released in this order:
SF (1987) > SF II (1991) > SF Alpha (1995) > SF EX (1996) > SF III (1997) > SF IV (2008) > SF V (2016)
But canonically, they occur in this order:
SF > SF Alpha > SF II >SF IV > SF III
Being a long running series, there have been numerous changes over the years. This is just a review of some of the changes made throughout the series
- SF: Introduced Ken, Ryu and theme of global fighting
- SF II: Introduced roster of varied fighters to choose from, combos and super arts
- SF Alpha: Improved combo system. Introduced use of super energy to empower or create combos. Provided backstory for Final Fight and Street Fighter characters.
- SF III: Introduced parrying and selection of different super arts for each character.
- SF IV: Replaced parry with focus attacks (power through an opponent's attack and counter with your own) and adds ultra combos fueled by revenge gauge.
- SF V: Drops focus attacks and revenge gauge. Adds a V-gauge, V-skills, V-triggers, V-reversals and crush counters.
Street Fighter V is a bit of a weird cookie to examine due to its present content release schedule. That being the case, we won’t (nor CAN we) delve into all Street Fighter V has to offer. As such, we’ll explore the new mechanics and the elephant in the room.
V-Gauge: V-Skills, V-Triggers and V-Reversals all center around the V-Gauge. This gauge, much like the revenge gauge in SF IV, fills as you take damage. It also fills if you successfully connect with your V-Skill.
V-Skill: This is a character specific skill. They may be reprisals of previous moves or concepts such as Cammy’s Spin knuckle or Ryu’s, which allows him to parry.
V-Triggers: V-Triggers are unique actions or buffs that utilize all of the V-Gauge. Single actions will instantly consume the entire gauge at once. Buffs will slowly drain the gauge with a penalty for each relevant use. Cammy’s V-Trigger prolongs her kicking special moves, adding more hits. R. Mika’s V-Trigger calls in her tag team partner, Nadeshiko, for either a body slam or dropkick
V-Reversals: These are character specific reversals launched while blocking an attack. These utilize one segment of the V-Gauge.
Crush Counter: An extrapolation upon the hit priority system present in SF III. If opposing hits connect at the same time, hard normals take priority over medium normals and medium ones over light ones. SF V applies the same idea to counters. Instead of trading hits, if you interrupt an opponent's attack with a higher priority attack of your own, they suffer a Crush Counter - a special counter state with longer hit stun that leaves them defenseless.
"Sean, you didn't train hard enough!"
How do you like your burgers? It doesn’t have to be a burger - it can be whatever your favorite dish is. What do you like on it? What can it do without? I like my burgers well done with lettuce, ketchup and mustard. Onions and bacon optional. NO MAYO.
I apologize if I’m making you hungry, but I can’t think of a better analogy for Street Fighter V presently. As it stands, Street Fighter V can be compared to a burger meal without condiments, or perhaps fries. What’s there is satisfying on its own, but what’s missing isn’t quite negligible either.
Arcade mode, challenge mode, the money shop, story mode, spectator mode and other features aren’t going to save a bad game the same way ketchup likely won’t save a poorly cooked meal, but not having it on an otherwise decent meal you expect it on can leave you a little underwhelmed.
Make no bones about it, despite the complaints of “INCOMPLETE! CAPCOM, HOW COULD YOU!?”, the main goods are all there. The fighting system is solid and fun to play with. Mostly. Usually if you’re online, or playing local multiplayer. If you want single player content, you’ve got a heavily abbreviated teaser story mode. Or the grueling survival mode for fight money and a couple colors per person, per difficulty. And you don’t even get the money if you aren’t logged into the server. So those complaints are somewhat justified. You DID ask for $60 upfront, Capcom.
The good stuff - SF V’s core gameplay is fun and highly polished. They obviously put their heart into it. I expect no less considering Capcom's history and the amount of practice they’ve gotten.
Aesthetics - Character models and environments are lush and vibrant. The little details that they improved upon with things such as the accents on Cammy’s suit, Ken’s flashy new athletic wear/GI combo or the wear you can see on Ryu’s GI (default color scheme is a dingy beige, yay!) are all welcome tweaks.
Online focus-This isn’t inherently bad but, in this case, you don’t get fight money unless you are logged in and ONLY if you’re logged in. Did you just blow through story mode while downloading the necessary update to get online in the first place? TOO BAD, Do it again.
Survival mode - Once again, not inherently bad. But the color swaps are locked behind it and each level raises the total rounds by 20. "Easy" is 10 rounds, "Normal" is 30 rounds, "Hard" is 50. "Hell" jumps up to 100, but grants a title instead of color swaps.
What's Up To You
Lack of content - Said content is stated to be coming, and for free, if you wait. Whether its absence presently is big enough of a deal breaker to keep you from getting it is, well, up to you.
We are, by no means, done with Street Fight V. With planned content releases stretching out to the summer, we'll be revisiting Street Fighter as it updates with new characters and modes. The important question, right now, is whether you should get Street Fighter and/or when.
Are you thoroughly hyped? Don’t fight it. Just get it.
Online play what you’re interested in? Go for it
Offline play what you’re interested in? Probably not, give it a few weeks at least.