Street Fighter 6

Street Fighter 6 Review – What is Strength?

Capcom delivered widely celebrated titles and franchises over the years. Street Fighter stands as one of the most well-known among Capcom and fighting game fans alike. Subsequently, Street Fighter 6 is the latest entry. It brings new artistic expression and familiarity to veterans. Additionally, this entry proves to be the most accessible to newcomers alike and holds promise for long-standing single-player content. Capcom appears to be back in full force as they capture the heart of the fighting game community.

Developer & Publisher // Capcom
Platforms // PlayStation 4|5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
MSRP & Release Date //$59.99, Jun 2, 2023
Reviewed On // Xbox Series X

Hit the Streets

“World Tour” is the premiere single-player experience of Street Fighter 6. Furthermore, the mode features all fighters of the base roster. Here, players create a unique fighter. You are tasked to seek strength in any way you see fit. Consequently, this results in mastering differing fighting styles from the roster of the game.

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The mode is stylized as an RPG. Players can further customize their fighter avatars through custom moves, fighting styles, and even gear. Previously, Mortal Kombat established itself as the premiere venue of single-player modes in the fighting game genre. However, the World Tour mode creates an enjoyable and memorable experience synonymous with Capcom games.

I found the versatility of a created character to be refreshing. The campaign brings the right amount of fun and whacky content usually reserved to side games or arcade modes. Meanwhile, World Tour mode teaches you fighting basics and the new mechanics of Street Fighter 6. Thus, you are learning and improving along the way just like your avatar. However, the campaign is not a complete cakewalk.

Grind Your Adventure

World Tour behaves as an RGP. Meaning, your character levels through gameplay with each foe defeated and side quest completed. Subsequently, a skill tree gives you the opportunity to improve things such as stats, currency gains, and special attack slots.

The story is told through chapters. These chapters lead you around the world meeting new masters and discovering a nefarious plot hatched by Neo-Shadaloo. However, getting to that point might take longer than expected.

Online versus is the main appeal and drive for most enjoyers of fighting games. As a result, it is a pleasant surprise when one has a strong campaign experience. Many will seek to complete World Tour before diving online, especially with the backing of Capcom as a great place to start for newcomers.

Yet, I found my time in the mode lasting longer than I would have liked. This gripe is due to the scaling of enemies when approaching chapters ten and beyond. Enemies you face along your journey also become progressively stronger. However, fighting them is a tall order if you try to streamline World Tour.

World Tour

I traversed my way through the story while completing the occasional side quest and random street fights. Yet, I quickly ran into a wall in terms of fighting power. Yes, I have enough prior fighting game experience to output more damage and combos against most CPU opponents. However, that hardly matters when the opponent has double your health, attack, and defense power.

The game gives you access to items that boost your stats or restore health. These can be used at any time including mid-battle. Sadly, I burned through many of these items within a short amount of time between fights. This led me to seek out even more strength by grinding levels against random CPUs in the street.

The Weight of Time

It is quite comical to punch almost anyone you come across in the face to start a fight. However, performing this repeatedly just to gain arbitrary power became tiring rather quickly. I found myself turning on a Spotify podcast and tuning out Street Fighter 6 during this grind. Yes, this is very much in line with an RGP experience but not a good one.

Merging genres between a fighting game and an RPG weirdly works for Street Fighter 6. This is only possible through World Tour and the narrative driving you. Increasing your experience is a direct metaphor for finding strength. As a result, I found these added elements felt natural and not a hindrance to gameplay. Furthermore, picking a master’s fighting style is akin to picking a class. This creates a unique feel, one I appreciate for its out-of-the-box ideas. Yet, the balance of power felt uneven toward the latter half of World Tour.

One of the worst power checks comes during the tournament chapters with each subsequent tournament proving more difficult. The main pain point that makes these tedious is the structure. You have a gauntlet of four opponents to fight to win the tourney.

Should you lose a match, you can retry like any other. However, giving up requires you to start from the very beginning of the bracket regardless of your progress. Ultimately, you should only allocate your time and resources when you can confidently defeat each fighter. Fortunately, the rest of World Tour remains fun when looking for aimless fun to pass the time.

Alice world tour

Most people can be engaged in random fights as previously mentioned. Additionally, classic Street Fighter mini-games play a role as Side Gigs. These earn you money with each completion and are a great way to get cash fast for items and gear. Lastly, the spirit of Capcom’s whacky storytelling is present in many sidequests. Your time is well spent here when removed from the ill-mentioned grind.

Fighting Grounds

Street Fighter 6

Fighting Grounds houses more offline adventures (you can also access direct online matchmaking here to avoid the lobby). Here, players will find a traditional Arcade mode. Each character has their own short story told by voiced art panels. The story here is brief. However, it is a nice update to each character in regard to their role in the narrative of Street Fighter 6. 

Additionally, the practice mode has combo trials to improve your execution with certain characters. Capcom takes it a step further and even offers specific character guides. These guides range from an overview of the character to special moves, and combos.

The traditional training mode also sees improvements including the major addition of frame data. Each move in a fighting game is bound by its frame data. This knowledge is important to know especially at higher tiers of play. This meter offers a digestible and clear way to learn for newcomers and veterans. Lastly, you can fight against CPUs or friends through Versus mode. Options allow traditional one-versus-one or team battles. A separate Special Match option serves as a party mode cranking up the craziness of gameplay.

Test Your Might

It is time for the main event. “Battle Hub” is the online lobby mode of Street Fighter 6. Here is where most of a player’s time will be spent during the game’s lifespan. Furthermore, you can take your preferred fighter into the ring or join the created avatar circuit.

The Hub area is home to arcade cabinets for players to engage in battle. Subsequently, you can spectate other matches if you wish to cheer from the side. Shop kiosks are also present along with a tournament staging area.

Street Fighter 6 uses rollback netcode for its online infrastructure. This netcode is the gold standard for fighting games in terms of online. The system roughly predicts movements and behaviors between fighters through frame data. The netcode then rolls back frames when netplay is unstable. As a result, the action stays seamless and lag-free. This greatly benefits long-distance peer-to-peer play and enhances wireless connection(although you should really play wired). Matches feel responsive and smooth almost every time regardless of connection differences. The choice of fighters for these matches offers a diverse toolbox of fighting mayhem.

The roster contains many returning faces along with a few new ones. Each sports a unique fighting style, a new fashion sense, and an expressive personality. Every returning character to the roster looks different compared to previous iterations. This outfit change reflects the energy of this title along with where the characters are in their personal journey.

Street Fighter 6 promo art

The choices of graffiti-style color splashes, hip-hop music, and urban style are great. Capcom created an atmosphere that accurately reflects the feelings of a street fight. The past iterations of Street Fighter began to feel stale in terms of art direction and identity. This new entry brings the series back on track and the roster echoes that. I do have my personal favorite character along with notable standouts of course.

Juri has always been a personal favorite of mine. She is great at rush-down and feels very strong in Street Fighter 6. Manon joins the roster as one of the newcomers to the series.

She has seen great success among skilled players as a grappler. Her game plan to acquire medals amplifies her threat level as the match continues. Yet, the real star of the show is Ken (at the time of writing).

He is an easy character to pick up but has a high skill ceiling. His popularity is prevalent among low and high ranks. Additionally, his fast-paced gameplay and flashy attacks further express how cool Ken’s design became for this game. However, one new mechanic dictates many strategies while turning the traditional fighting formula on its head.

Accessible and Rewarding

Street Fighter 6

The Drive Gauge is a new meter offering new options to utilize in battle. This gauge is filled at the start. Performing certain actions will deplete the meter and end in a burnout state if fully emptied. The meter gradually refills over time. However, Drive Parries refill the meter faster. Overall, the options available to you with the Drive Gauge further flesh out the strategy and mental game of chess two opponents play.

  • Drive Impact – Perform an armored strike (stuns blocking opponents in the corner)
  • Drive Rush – Rapidly move forward from a parry or continue a combo
  • Overdrive – power up a special move (Known as EX moves in previous titles)
  • Drive Reversal – a powerful counterattack
  • Drive Parry – Block any incoming attack (susceptible to throws)

This meter offers many options for newcomers and highly skilled players. Despite the oppression one might receive from a punishing mix-up, the drive gauge gives you options. Additionally, level one Super Arts are invincible on the initial cast. Capcom raised the bar with new mechanics that offer accessibility and reward skillful players with appealing combos.

Modern vs. Classic

A new take on fighting controls also adds to the appeal for newcomers. “Modern” controls simplify special move input to a single button. Additionally, players gain access to a handful of short auto combos. This may seem broken on paper. However, Capcom did have the foresight to apply a decrease in special move damage.

Meanwhile, Classic controls are the traditional button layout of Street Fighter. You have the full nuance of your character at hand along with being free from a damage penalty. Modern controls allow players who struggle with special move inputs, such as quarter-circle fireballs or DP (Dragon Punch), to enjoy the game. They are now able to get more from their time rather than dealing with the frustration of inconsistent inputs.

On the other hand, there is a vocal audience who argue Modern controls create an unfair advantage compared to those who use Classic. I find the argument to be baseless especially when there are tradeoffs to either control scheme. Additionally, the statistics from the player base of Street Fighter VI reveal the truth of the matter.

Modern control use is scarce among Diamond ranks and higher. Players would flock in droves to use Modern if it actually granted an advantage over the competition. This is a competitive fighting game after all. Lastly, one should look at the professional scene for further examples. The first major for the game, CEO, had all top eight competitors using Classic, not Modern. I dabbled with Modern for a bit and love the ease of use. It allowed me to focus more on the neutral and strategize a path to victory. I find this to be the best inclusion inside a fighting game of all time.

What is Strength?

The Modern versus Classic argument may continue for the entire lifespan of this game. However, it hardly detracts from how great of a title Street Fighter 6 is. Capcom learned from the poor launch of Street Fighter 5 and crushed all expectations.

It has been over a month since launch and most of the player base continues to have a wonderful time, myself included. The game contains a huge factor of fun amplified by its new, modern take on hip-hop style. The music and redesign of characters echo the nature of the fighting game community (FGC) and the spirit found in tournaments whether local or professional. The FGC is a niche group. However, one that relies on the heart and the camaraderie of a chosen family. If you are looking to join that family, Street Fighter 6 is a great point of entry.