Saturday, October 3, 2015

Street Fighter V

Fighters from all around the world take to the streets once more as M. Bison and Shadaloo plot more dastardly schemes in the shadow of some unknown terror

The basic way Street Fighter V plays will be immediately familiar to anyone that picked up a stick (or a pad) and went for a few rounds on Street Fighter IV. The standard six-button system remains in place – jab, strong, fierce punches and short, forward and roundhouse kicks – with low and high blocks working the same way as before. There’s no air-blocking, though, a la the Alpha series (which it seems Street Fighter V is spiritually riffing on), and the dash mechanic makes a return, too. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, though – Street Fighter V does away with the cornerstones of its predecessor’s design and introduces some new tricks of its own.

If that doesn’t get you excited, the game has also radically re-jigged its graphics, moving away from the awkward half-cartoon of Street Fighter IV into a much more stylized direction that looks stunning in motion at 60 frames per second. Some odd character redesigns aside (looking at you, Ken), the game is looking like the perfect sequel.

1) ‘Focus’ And ‘Ultra’ attacks are gone…

THE MAIN ADDITIONS to Street Fighter IV ’s system lay in the ‘Focus’ and ‘Ultra’ systems… both of these have been scrapped. And we think that’s for the best. Focus Attacks were an interesting addition, but they totally ruined the usability of some characters entirely. Vega, for example, who’s just been re-announced for Street Fighter V, was an unusable choice because his aerial combos could be easily anticipated and ruined by a well-timed ‘Focus’. Ultras, too, were more style than substance – if you’ve got a full bar of meter, just give us a Super and forget about making the whole power-attack thing so contrived. It also means the characters are more predictable for pro-level match-ups.

2) …And they're replaced with the V-System

REPLACING THE ‘FOCUS’ and ‘Ultra’ gaps in Street Fighter V’s set-up is the V-System. This new game-wide rejig is introduced in the way of three meters; the Stun Gauge, the EX-gauge and the V-Trigger. The Stun Gauge is a visual representation of how much consecutive damage a character has taken – top it off, and you’ll leave the enemy in a vulnerable ‘dizzy’ state. The EX-Gauge is the new game’s way of measuring special move juice, ending in a Critical Art (read: Super). Finally, the V-Trigger fills when you take damage and gives each character a very different ability when activated - and they all look pleasantly different, to boot.

3) Each characcter feels as individual as they should…

THERE ARE NO palette swaps here. Every character announced so far plays so differently from the one before that you’ll have to learn each fighter’s playstyle individually: you won’t just be able to apply Cammy’s specials to, say, Bison and expect them to work. Further to that, each character’s unique V-Skill means they’ll work better under certain pressures: Bison absorbs and repels projectiles, Birdie can give himself unique buffs, and Vega can toss out a rose that staggers the opponent, setting them up for one of his long-range aerial combos. Ken gets a little run that allows him to run-cancel, setting up for crazy combos.

4) …And even have their own special‘States’

IF YOU ABUSE the V-Skills enough – as well as taking the required amount of damage over a match – you’ll be able to activate the V-Trigger: an input that will put your character into a special state which varies depending on who you’ve chosen. Ryu’s trigger buffs his projectile speed and damage, for example, whilst Bison’s turns his dash into a teleport and makes him immune to projectiles. Cammy’s trigger seems to speed her entire moveset up significantly and it appears that Vega’s trigger gives him better range on his aerial moves – so he can set-up those high combos more easily. That anti-aerial game from Street Fighter IV is gone.

5) It's generally more geared towards dramatic comebacks

THE ULTRA SYSTEM in the previous game was a bit… clumsy… it let players totally reverse a game if they’d been pressured for the entire match. Street Fighter V (and the way it makes you flow from V-Skills into Critical Arts into V-Triggers) relies a lot more on subtlety and pace: you can’t win a bad game back with just a Critical Art, but it’ll be the start of a tactical campaign to start wearing your opponent down, if you trigger at the right time and pepper your moveset with V-Skills. It’s a more intricate affair that Street Fighter IV, and we’re happy with that. Considering links are easier to pull off, too, this is a more accessible game all over.


Responsible for every Street Fighter iteration so far (including the ill-fated Street Fighter X Tekken), Capcom continues to treat the series with the respect it deserves – changing enough with each iteration to keep it relevant.

Street Fighter IV, in its many iterations, proved that Capcom was keen to listen and respond to fan feedback, bringing in some expected (and some surprising!) additions to the roster.


Format: PS4, PC
Origin: Japan
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: In-house
Release: Q1 2016
Players: 1-2

By PCmatter

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