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Street Fighter 6 Review

Street Fighter is back with a banger

It’s safe to say that Capcom needed to go back to the drawing board after Street Fighter V, a game that left a sour taste in the mouth of the series’ faithful with its content-barren launch. But like John Farnham, Capcom loves a good comeback, and Street Fighter 6 not only makes up for past mistakes, it delivers a package so robust that it could be the best Street Fighter to date.

Street Fighter 6 is split into three primary modes: World Tour, Battle Hub, and Fighting Ground. The latter is what you’d expect from any fighting experience, with Arcade, Versus, Training and other stock-standard modes included. The launch roster has a good helping of fighters, with 18 to choose from, including some new faces alongside series favourites like Ryu, Zangief, Cammy, and my man Ken. There’s a good range of fighters to play with out of the box and each character has their own mini story in Arcade, so there’s plenty of bite-sized content to enjoy.

How you doin’ Ken?

If you’ve played Street Fighter recently the mechanics will feel familiar but Street Fighter 6’s core fighting foundations are built around the new Drive System. At the beginning of a fight, you’ll start with a full Drive Gauge metre, so there’s no need to build it up. Blocking will consume a chunk of it, and if you use all of it defending you’ll enter a state called Burnout where you’re unable to block until it recovers, while landing attacks will refill it. You can use your Drive Gauge to deliver powerful attacks that will knock opponents off guard, execute parries and reversals, and increase the impact of special moves. The Drive System, coupled with the other fighting mechanics, results in extremely satisfying gameplay that rivals some of the best fighters on the market.

Fighting games in general have always had a tough entry barrier, with newcomers often used as punching bags by experienced players to the extent that some simply give up trying to play. Capcom seems to have understood this problem though and as a result, Street Fighter 6 is not only built for veterans of the series, it’s also extremely welcoming to new players.

While confident players can revert to the Classic control scheme, allowing them to master movesets by remembering complex button sequences, Street Fighter 6’s Modern control scheme allows players of all skill levels to execute special moves with one button and not feel overwhelmed or put off by the steep learning curve of combos. There’s an even simpler setting – Dynamic, which will automatically choose attacks based on the distance from your opponent.

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The Drive System is fantastic

World Tour is Street Fighter 6’s single-player mode – it’s a goofy and oft-strange RPG that sees your avatar traverse around the world of Street Fighter taking lessons from series icons and fighting almost anyone you can see. As your training and journey progress, you’ll be able to learn new fighting styles from the game’s Masters; want to craft your fighter around moves from Chun-Li, Blanka and Ryu? Go for it. You can pick and choose moves from multiple fighters at will to create a moveset entirely of your own design all while moving through the game’s strange campaign. You’ll also be able to create your own distinct fighter in the game’s robust character creation tools, giving you a further sense of ownership over your unique fighter.

Primarily set in Metro City (a location from Final Fight), you’ll start as a student of Luke’s before embarking on a globetrotting journey to become the ultimate fighter. You’ll also be completing tasks and favours for other characters, such as organising counterfeit bags for gang leaders, as well as collecting souvenirs for Luke. Much like in John Wick where everyone seems to be an assassin, everyone in Street Fighter 6 appears to be a fighter, meaning you can just about fight anyone. Don’t like the cut of that grandma’s jib? Challenge her to a fight, where winning nets you XP and increases your style rank with your chosen Master. The higher the rank, the more moves you’ll have access to. As you level up, you’ll unlock new skills, giving you the ability to increase kick and punch strength, bolster the number of special moves you can select, or make lower-level opponents less likely to attack you.

Sexy and dangerous

Street Fighter 6 is still a fighting game at heart, so don’t expect a deep narrative, and be prepared for some frustrations with how repetitive and grindy it is. Walking around the world can be a bit of a chore when gang members are trying to attack you with every step you take, and if they land a blow, you’ll automatically be engaged in a one-round fight with a handful of opponents. Until you unlock the skill that makes lower-level foes avoid you, it’s hard to go anywhere in the world without being in someone’s sights. It’s also worth noting that if you’re someone who’ll want to level up multiple fighting styles it’s going to take you a while.

On paper, it sounds like a neat time, but given that playthroughs are likely to range between 20–25 hours, becoming fairly repetitive as it wears on, it won’t be for everyone. However, what it does well is act as a thorough tutorial mode for players who want to learn the ropes in a more engaging setting than a basic training mode. What is cool though, is that you can use your avatar (or any other fighter you choose) in Battle Hub, the game’s online social mode that allows players to walk around and engage with others, purchase items and take on other fighters for ultimate supremacy. If you’re someone who just wants to fight the people you know, there are also private lobbies for you to conduct your business.

Partake in some fights then check out the sights

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Built in the RE Engine, Street Fighter 6’s visuals are beautiful, and heavily stylised in a way that befits a game of this ilk. There’s also an abundance of colour (when using the Drive System), levels are full of tons of detail and there’s just a load of good vibes littered throughout the experience. Netherrealm, this is not.

Final Thoughts

There are very few games, especially fighters, with the legacy of Street Fighter, and sometimes it’s a lot to live up to. Even though World Tour has some issues, Capcom has managed to re-establish the series as a force to be reckoned with thanks to the game’s balanced approach to familiar and fresh fighting mechanics, striking visuals and an excellent amount of content. It’s also more accessible than ever before, allowing for more players to join in on the fun.

Reviewed on PS5 // Review code supplied by publisher

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Street Fighter 6 Review
Up For The Fight
Street Fighter 6 is a remarkably satisfying, stylish and approachable fighter that not only redefines a legacy fighting series but an entire genre.
The Good
The Drive System is a fantastic inclusion
Extremely stylish
Modern control scheme makes the game more accessible
Heaps of content
The Bad
World Tour can be a little repetitive and grindy
9
BLOODY RIPPER
  • Capcom
  • Capcom
  • PS5 / PS4 / Xbox Series X|S / Xbox One / PC
  • June 2, 2023

Street Fighter 6 Review
Up For The Fight
Street Fighter 6 is a remarkably satisfying, stylish and approachable fighter that not only redefines a legacy fighting series but an entire genre.
The Good
The Drive System is a fantastic inclusion
Extremely stylish
Modern control scheme makes the game more accessible
Heaps of content
The Bad
World Tour can be a little repetitive and grindy
9
BLOODY RIPPER
Written By Zach Jackson

Despite a childhood playing survival horrors, point and clicks and beat ’em ups, these days Zach tries to convince people that Homefront: The Revolution is a good game while pining for a sequel to The Order: 1886 and a live-action Treasure Planet film. Carlton, Burnley FC & SJ Sharks fan. Get around him on Twitter @tightinthejorts

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