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Street Fighter V Review

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Replay Value:



Online Gameplay:



Overall Rating:       7.8







Number Of Players:




Release Date:

February 16, 2016

Street Fighter is an extremely long-running franchise. Publishers and developers that produce such iconic IPs often face an impossible task at the behest of demanding fans: Continue to upgrade and improve the experience we love without actually losing the original feel and style. This becomes a complex balancing act where the designers have to try to embrace innovation and freshness without abandoning that which made the title so popular in the first place. Ironically, while Capcom appears to have struck a fantastic balance between old and new with Street Fighter V, a somewhat rocky launch and frustrating lack of content results in a great but occasionally bittersweet production.

But before we dive into the intricacies and nitty-gritty, let’s discuss the impressive visual presentation. You may recall those vibrant water-colored graphics on display in Street Fighter IV; well, if you take that concept and combine it with a brilliantly drawn art style, you get SFV. The effects leap off the screen with palpitating grace, each character is lovingly crafted and given a personality all his or her own, and even the backgrounds shimmer with remarkable, eye-catching color and general appeal. I’m actually not a huge fan of a few of the new characters in terms of design but that’s merely subjective; I imagine some fans will love the look of new faces like Necalli, Rashid and Karin. The only other downside is when the game doesn’t perform quite as it should, which does impact the visual excellence.

The sound is another big highlight with unbelievable effects that assault the ear with relentless power and precision, and a wickedly effective, hard-hitting soundtrack. Music is often overlooked when it comes to fighters, but I never understood why. You can’t tell me that you aren’t more engaged, more excited, and potentially perform better when you’ve got music you like thumping in the background. These games are very often about capturing a rhythm, are they not? I think SFV’s soundtrack might actually be the best the series has ever had, as it features a blend of classic tunes (like character-specific ditties from classic Street Fighter installments) and new beats that are fast and slick. I’m not sure the balance between sound and music is quite right, though, but it’s a minor drawback and you can always adjust the intensity of such features. Great stuff in the audio department overall, that’s for damn sure.

As I said in the intro, SFV retains the polished and expected mechanics and amps them up with several hefty new gameplay features. This offers both established franchise followers and newcomers an attractive foundation, and should stop even the most dedicated lovers from opining about the past. Really, if you break it down from top to bottom, it’s almost exactly what the dedicated fan would want in terms of gameplay progression and innovation. For instance, the new V-Skill feature is a focal point that greatly increases the strategy of the game, and also encourages players to fully master their favorite fighters, as V-Skill is character-specific. And V-Skill feeds into another huge new feature, the V-Trigger, which is a single, devastating attack that is once again tied to individual characters.

Personally, the best aspect about these new features is that they lend more individuality to the fighters. Even though each of the characters have wildly different fighting styles and you definitely approach combat differently depending on your roster choice, the V-Skills and V-Triggers really make each character shine. Plus, considering the sheer importance of these features, you might find yourself playing with a fighter you never liked before, but now has bad-ass V-Skills and V-Triggers that make you feel uber-powerful. Some might miss Street Fighter IV’s Ultra meter but frankly, I don’t. I think this is a better system because it encourages diligence and patience, and it gives each character a little more definition. When it comes to fighters, any sort of added character definition is a good thing.While I’m no fighting expert, even I know that the roster is critical.

The good news is that this particular roster of fighters is pretty damn solid: Not only do we have eight returning icons in the Street Fighter universe, but we also have quite a few new faces. As I said above, I’m not the biggest fan of their designs – nor do I like all their fighting styles and skill sets – but new is new, and they certainly add more flair and variety to the game. On top of which, the V-Skills and V-Triggers give even mainstays like Ken, Chun-Li and Dhalsim an infusion of freshness that is much appreciated. And don’t forget that some long-time fighters like Vega have received quite the overhaul, as they’ve got new moves and even physics alterations. At first, I didn’t think Vega should be without his claws (sacrilege!) but hey, he’s faster without ‘em…

I do believe the balancing is pretty decent, as none of the characters I sampled felt especially overpowered or underpowered. And given the size of the roster and the huge differences between the characters, that’s no mean feat. Of course, there are times when you’re convinced the fighter you’re facing is overpowered but the more you play, the more you realize that…nah, it’s just you. You just weren’t good enough that time around. I do know that many complained about the back-dash in SFIV being a problem, in that it could make certain characters borderline invincible (or at least a serious pain in the ass). But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore and the focus mechanic is gone, too. The bottom line is that nothing is really stopping you from ripping off nearly flawless rounds once you’ve gone to the trouble of mastering a favorite character, which definitely speaks to the overall balancing of the game.

I also think it’s pretty awesome that you can recover from just about everything very quickly. For example, if you get knocked down, you actually have three options for getting back on your feet, which means your opponent can’t continue to launch a sustained attack while you remain helpless. If you get up the right way, you can actually surprise your foe. In other words, knocking someone down isn’t an automatic open door as it has been in the past, which I really like because it means a purely offensive mindset won’t always work, even when executed by an expert. Besides, it’s more difficult to achieve a hard knockdown in the first place, which means for the most part, the two fighters are going at it, toe-to-toe, mano y mano, with little break in the action. It’s a nice push-and-pull system, I think.

Unfortunately, there are obvious problems, mostly in regards to lack of content, features and various performance issues. Some of this is just plain inexplicable to me; for example, you can’t play the CPU in a regular ol’ three-round match because for some ridiculous reason, there’s no CPU Vs. mode. There’s not even a standard Arcade Mode, which is a mainstay not only for this series but for any fighting franchise. I know Capcom is talking about delivering this “free Story Mode” upgrade in June but that’s June...this is February. And to not have the in-game store available until next month is another irksome detail, and one that only reminds me that we live in an age now where incomplete games are allowed to release, thanks to this new PC-like atmosphere where even console games seem to demand patches and updates immediately.

I’ve always hated that about the PC gaming culture and I always worried that if you gave developers the chance to fix issues and add to a game after it’s released, that simply gives them the excuse to release an unfinished product. The PC world has been dealing with that for decades and now we’ve got the very same plague in the console world. All we get here is a stupidly short story prologue for each character; the “actual” Story Mode is months away. Then there’s the fact that Capcom has clearly had to make lots of adjustments and improvements the instant the game released, and this was after a host of “stress tests” and betas. I’m sorry but considering all that, there’s no reason to see a slightly wonky and under-featured product on the shelf. That’s just wrong, no matter how you try to justify, rationalize or explain it.

Okay, I’m done with my rant. As relevant and important as that is, it’s also true that SFV delivers excellent gameplay and some very useful features. Training Mode is a huge plus for me because I’m no fighting expert, and this mode actually was extremely helpful and even entertaining. The tool-set that accompanies this mode allows you to be as in-depth as you like; you can even store actions and layer them atop larger sequences, so you can see what will and won’t work on the battlefield. Once you finish this and get your feet wet with some CPU battles, you can head online where the competition is insane and once again, Capcom is facing a few issues. There were matchmaking problems, for example, and a bunch of smaller hang-ups that I suppose are common these days. Still, I didn’t experience much in the way of severe problems, like major lag, crashing and burning, freezing, etc.

Street Fighter V marries fresh concepts and upgraded gameplay with the tried-and-true mechanics the fans have always loved. This, along with the technical achievement in terms of graphics and sound, is what will sell the game. For the veteran fans, there’s enough familiarity here for them to say, “yep, this is Street Fighter,” but at the same time, they can’t complain about a lack of significant upgrades and alterations. The V-Skills and V-Triggers are just too important and impressive to ignore. It’s just too bad that we’ve got a bizarre lack of features in terms of single-player options, and not having the in-game store or this much-ballyhooed "expanded" Story Mode until later is another big problem. The performance snafus are being ironed out quickly but that doesn’t change the fact that they existed at launch. I refuse to gloss over that.

The Good: Excellent art work, special effects, and overall design. Awesome soundtrack and bad-ass audio effects. A great blend of new and old in terms of gameplay mechanics. Nicely balanced and diverse roster of fighters. The offensive experts don’t always have the edge. Great Training Mode.

The Bad: Depressing lack of features and content (no in-game store or full-fledged Story Mode yet). A few annoying performance-based problems. Online issues aren’t quite resolved yet.

The Ugly: “I can’t play the computer in a regular ol’ match. And no Arcade Mode. …you’re kidding.”

2/20/2016 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (26 posts)

Saturday, February 20, 2016 @ 9:30:06 PM

The game looks and plays well but I personally believe there are some balancing issues. The high punch and high kicks do more damage than they should.

I like the game but don't love it.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:38:59 AM

I'm sure they better balance it over time. I'm sure you're aware of all the tweaks they made to SFIV.

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Banky A
Monday, February 22, 2016 @ 1:17:47 AM

Well Karin's HP/HK do 90 vs Dudley's 100 HP.
So that's about the same as before

This game is bring back honest SF. It's friendlier for newcomers to mash jab on wakeup and anywhere else but now counter hits are easier. Extremely easy to beat mash buttons on wakeup with a counter hit.

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Saturday, February 20, 2016 @ 11:45:41 PM

Don't agree much with the control getting only 7.7 for me it's a 9.0, but fair review a high 7 or 8.0 it's what the game deserves atm, awesome gameplay but disappointing current content, after February the game gonna upgrade and the new stuff gonna be free or unlockeable with game points (Fighting Money), wish they waited until March to release it!

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:16:39 AM

Just spent 2 hours in training with Nash....I thinks I gots a solid Nasher now! I'm in there

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:38:17 AM

So I'm confused, is Nash and Charlie the same character?

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 1:32:24 AM

Yeah his name is Charlie Nash.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 2:51:08 AM

Oh. Never new that. Thanks.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:37:09 AM

Man I want this game but it's hard to justify spending $60 on an unfinished product. 16 fighters only? That's weak. And it looks like you have to buy the DLC to play Guile? Kinda lame.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/21/2016 12:37:47 AM

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 3:24:33 AM

You can unlock dlc with game points called fight money that you earn playing the game, but Guile not gonna be released atm, on march the first dlc character gonna be Alex in total they are gonna release 6, they announced it gonna be releasing one of those characters each month since march for the first season, they later (2017) gonna release another 6 characters season with the same format.

Okay still current content doesn't justify the 60 bucks, I recommend you to wait until you get it at 40 bucks.

Last edited by Oxvial on 2/21/2016 3:28:45 AM

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:52:42 AM

Everyone must have migrated to SFV. It's been a pain in the arse finding opponents in USFIV.

Last edited by Jawknee on 2/21/2016 12:52:59 AM

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 4:22:15 AM

I shouldn't be surprised given what Capcom is these days but it's still utterly disappointing they messed this up. I agree with the review and the current lack of content justifies the 7s and 8s it's been getting but the gameplay is an easy 9/10 and I think this would be sitting somewhere around 87-91 on metacritic had Capcom made a few wiser choices.

Last edited by Gamer46 on 2/21/2016 4:25:29 AM

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 4:33:49 AM

I think the graphics score should be higher but yeah not worth $60.I bought usfiv super cheap and I only got half a day of enjoyment out of it.I'm sure kof,tekken and hopefully a new soul calibur will be complete and packed with content.

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mk ultra
Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 5:12:30 AM

I'll just wait for Ultra Street Fighter V Turbo Arcade Edition , or whatever the final version is.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 4:16:57 PM

That's never going to happen.

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mk ultra
Monday, February 22, 2016 @ 7:47:39 AM

Five more versions of SFV? I'll bet my cat on it?

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 6:46:18 AM

Bwhaha i knew this was gonna b a flop Streer Fighter needs a good long break just like assassins creed. Im glad i didnt buy into the hype.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 11:23:40 AM

Lol they're not even comparable. Only one street fighter is released each generation. Not even close to being the same as an annual release.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 11:59:56 AM

but don't they have like 6 versions of every Street Fighter?

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 3:44:27 PM

They're upgrades with new characters and balancing tweaks. They release one game then improve it over the course of the generation. Not the same as releasing a new installment each year with barely any improvements.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:23:08 PM

$60 is way too much for an a early access game like this

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 12:26:45 PM

there's no reason a game like this can't have a much more robust roster... this was an opportunity to include a lot more characters... i look at the latest wwe entry, and while i don't expect a SF game to have over 100 characters, 16 for this gen, let alone with limited features, just seems like a jip (sp?)... i bought it, it looks great, just wish it felt more feature-filled...

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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 4:24:59 PM

They really should have called this "Street Fighter V: Prologue Edition". It's clearly not finished (or at least barebones), but the reason why they released it now is because it's the centerpiece of the Capcom Pro Tour, which starts with the first tournament on Feb 26th. Capcom is going "all in" on esports with this game - it was designed with it from the ground up - as well as the notion of "Street Fighter as a service".

Not en excuse per se, but they have a plan and they're executing it. Given the apparent lack of budget and where they chose to focus their energies (online competition), this was always going to bite them up front in casual user reviews and metacritic scores, but they're willing to take the risk (not sure if they have a choice really) since they're laying the ground work for later.

So yeah: If you're not a particularly competitive player, there's no reason to play this now. Check back in six months. The game will only improve over time.

The good news, at least, is that you'll never be an edition behind. SFV is it for the current console generation. AND the most important additions are free (theoretically anyway; watchout for the grind).

Last edited by Ultima on 2/21/2016 4:25:58 PM

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Banky A
Monday, February 22, 2016 @ 4:21:42 AM


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Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 10:22:03 PM

"Great Gameplay, Incomplete Product"

Sums it up perfectly right there imo.

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Monday, February 22, 2016 @ 1:47:21 PM

I'm holding out for the Super SF V Ultimate Arcade Edition. You know it's coming.

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