Street Fighter 6 has taken eight years to arrive on our doorsteps, but it is more than a worthy addition that pushes the boundaries of the genre while staying true to its roots. This highly anticipated release takes almost everything that made its predecessors great and elevates them to new heights. Featuring a bolder art style, extra mechanics, netcode improvements and a brand new single-player experience which shifts the action to the streets—quite literally—this latest entry in the series has taken a big uppercut forward.
One of the standout features of Street Fighter 6 is its refined gameplay mechanics. The developers have struck an extremely delicate balance between accessibility and depth, making the game immensely enjoyable for newcomers and veterans alike. The controls are responsive and intuitive, allowing for precise inputs and easy peasy execution of moves, while the new EX System adds an extra layer of strategy, enabling players to unleash devastating combos and special abilities. In addition, the introduction of the V-Shift mechanic adds an additional defensive option, adding more depth to the I’m-gonna-psych-you-out competitive mind games that occur during matches. That all being said, the balancing can seem a little off for certain matchups and a lack of proper tutorialisation for high-level bouts could turn off potential players.
In terms of characters, they all feel very unique, with distinct movesets and fighting disciplines catering to all sorts of different play styles. For those who prefer zoning with projectiles, grappling opponents into submission or dishing out lightning-fast combos, there’s an appropriate character for every person here. Regardless of whether you’re a first-time fighter or Chun-Li cheerleader, the three accessible control schemes feel mighty smooth and intuitive too.
They also act as great entry points into trying out new characters, especially for gamers who mostly stick to one or two max. On top of this, the Modern (easy) and Dynamic (even easier!) schemes segue perfectly into the Classic controls. Since the automatic combos can quickly become easy to anticipate in Modern and Dynamic, this encourages players to switch to Classic once they become more familiar with the mechanics.
Punch, Punch and Punch Some More!
One of Street Fighter 6’s three main offerings is Fighting Ground, providing players with a variety of traditional game modes, plus optional stage hazards and quirky gimmicks to keep them engaged. Arcade offers conventional one-on-one battles against a series of opponents, each with their own unique ending. Whereas Story Mode provides a fairly interesting narrative that delves deeper into each character’s background and motivations, even if it’s a bit limited in scope.
Battle Hub, the online multiplayer mode provides a robust and competitive environment for players (and their custom avatars) to test their skills against opponents from around the world in a social lobby type of platform, as well as spectate active contests and purchase cosmetics for their avatar. The server quality—thanks to the quality rollback netcode—is pretty top-notch and hardly ever feels like precious frames are being skipped. If you’re concerned that the Battle Hub arena feels a little too overwhelming, don’t worry. There are still plenty of private matchmaking options in Fighting Ground for those who aren’t into the whole ‘sociability’ thing.
World Tour is the expansive single-player feature that has players hustle and bustle their avatars through the streets: seamlessly battling citizens, levelling up and unlocking new moves which can be pretty fun. It’s also cool to meet and greet with your favourite Street Fighter characters along the way and see how they operate outside the flashing of fisticuffs. However, the accompanying storyline and lore aren’t particularly engaging enough to hold your attention for long. The gameplay also mostly consists of moving from point A to B without much variance in between. Even though World Tour includes some lite platforming, RPG-like item buffs and minigames to check out, it all feels rather shallow.
Standing Out… in More Ways Than One
Visually, Street Fighter 6 is a feast for the eyes. The game boasts gorgeous graphics with highly detailed character models, vibrant backgrounds, and striking visual effects which pop with highly saturated bursts of colour. Whereas each stage has its own distinct atmosphere and interactive elements, adding extra depth and immersion to the overall experience. The animations are also very fluid and lifelike, making every punch, kick, and special move feel eminently impactful and satisfying.
On the other side of the coin, the initial character roster and costume/colour selection feel limited, as it would have been great to see several more fighters available at launch. However, Capcom has a solid track record of supporting their games with post-launch content, so the roster is likely to expand over time. Hopefully not with microtransactions though, because that would definitely feel like a blatant cash grab.
One thing you’ve got to commend Capcom for is the outstanding PC port they’ve delivered here. The general gameplay runs as smooth as butter, even on the highest of settings, and I also never experienced any crashes or faulty audio issues plaguing my existence. Considering that 2023 has been a truly terrible year for PC ports, Street Fighter 6 has decisively shown the scene how it’s done. That same swagger continues over to the game’s soundtrack. With an exciting mix of electro and hip-hop, alongside several remixes of classic tunes from the series’ history, it won’t be long till you’re shouting “YEAH!… YEAH!” whenever two fighters enter the fray.
Street Fighter 6 is a worthy successor to this legendary franchise. The refined gameplay mechanics, diverse character roster, stunning visuals and engaging game modes help set a new standard for the fighting game genre. It does contain some balancing flaws, a relatively small roster and a World Tour single-player experience that does start to fall off. Although, whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the series, Street Fighter 6 offers a thrilling and unforgettable experience that will keep you hooked for hours on end.
By Anthony Culinas – Reviewed on PC
Ask Ken and he’ll say that Street Fighter 6 is just as satisfying as a Shoryuken straight to the face. With enhanced mechanics, a diverse roster, stunning visuals and engaging gameplay, this sixth entry in the series offers a fresh and exhilarating experience for both casuals and dedicated fighting game enthusiasts alike.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Capcom. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.