When Street Fighter V was announced, I thought I’d wait for a while. I got the most fun out of IV by selling it and buying the arcade edition with more characters and modes than I did when I played the base game, and despite saying they wouldn’t re-release it, here we are! I brought SFV Arcade Edition for less than £30 new and sealed, and had a great time playing it over the summer (alongside Zelda: BOTW, which admittedly ate up far more of my time…) so let’s take a look at it, bearing in mind I’m no professional fighting game player or anything…
It’s a shame this is old-school Ken, I actually like the redesign he got for this game…
The base Street Fighter V was released on the PS4 and Steam on February 16th 2016 worldwide, and was met with good, but not great reviews. It was barebones in terms of content, practically no single player mode and a roster of 16 characters, with only four being new creations. Thanks to two “seasons” of new characters, stages and a big single player story mode (that latter of which was free, surprisingly…) the game began to bulk up, leading to the announcement of Arcade Edition.
Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition was released worldwide on January 16th 2018 and featured all the DLC characters up to that point for free, plus they added a bunch more single player content (including an extensive Arcade mode, as you’d expect). A third “season” of DLC characters were announced to be released across 2018, and thanks to the in-game currency system, it’s possible to buy all the season 3 character with that rather than actual money, making SFV: AE the proper complete package, so long as you play it enough! (and so long as they don’t announce a Season 4….)
The roster of fighters features your classics like Ryu, Ken, M. Bison, Chun-Li, Guile, Dhalsim, Zangief, Cammy, Vega, Balrog and Akuma, as well as returning characters Nash/Charlie, Birdie (who’s now fat, for some reason), Karin, R. Mika, Alex, Ibuki, Juri, and Urien. New characters are Necalli (savage Aztec-like demon… thing, with crazy hair), Rashid (Controls wind and comes from the Middle East), Laura (Brazilian girl with big jugs), F.A.N.G. (incredibly lanky new member of Shadaloo), Ed (Balrog’s fast-aging Psycho-powered protégé), Kolin (ice-powered lady who ends up serving Gill in Street Fighter III), Menat (student of Rose), Zeku (master of Guy and seemingly the founder of the Striders from Strider?), and Abigail (ridiculously large member of Mad Gear from Final Fight!).
I though Andore was massive, Abigail’s head touches the health bar!
After all these years, it’s still easy to describe how Street Fighter plays, because despite fancy graphics and 3D models, it’s still the 2D versus beat ‘em up with the same half-rotations, holding back and the pushing forward and a button, light-medium-heavy punches and kicks system that’s been in place since (roughly) the start. So let’s ignore the basics, the super meters, the generic attacks, and look at what’s new under the hood this time:
The main new addition is the “V-Gauge” system. It builds up like your Super Meter, but instead of unleashing a powerful attack, it instead varies from fighter to fighter. They come in three flavours, V-Skills, which include parrying attacks and of reflecting projectiles, V-Reversals, which as you’d image allows you to counter attack your opponent when you get hit, and V-Triggers, which is only available if you have a full V-Gauge and uses the whole bar. V-Triggers are the main one, and they could be an extra offensive move, or it could also be a stats buff, or give you more projectiles to use. Each character has two V-Triggers in Arcade Edition, so mastering a character now not only takes learning their moves and reach, but also which V Trigger helps you best in combat.
In terms of modes you have a whole hell of a lot to get through! Arcade mode has a different arcade route for each game in the franchise, locked to only being able to select characters that appeared in them, or were around at the time (so SF, SF Alpha, SFII, SFIV, SFV, SFIII, if we’re going in timeline order…) Along with the full Story Mode (that you have to download from the PS Store, for some reason) you have mini-stories for each fighter, normally two or three fights with frankly often badly drawn cutscenes either side, and you also have all the training modes, mission modes, survival mode and a full online suite. Going back to Arcade, each fighter has a piece of unlockable ending artwork for each route they appear in, so it’s not just a case of running through each path once, if you really want to unlock everything.
Graphics and Sound:
Check out both the great lighting effects on the Hadoken and Ryu’s expression. The game has a top notch engine hidden beneath its distant, 2D perspective.
The graphics are actually really good. At first glance they don’t seem that different from IV, but when you pause the action and look, the detail is amazing and the facial animations and lighting are top notch. In fact the lighting effects, especially when you do some sort of energy projection move, really pops on a HD TV. The backgrounds are alright, blatantly lower-rez than the characters themselves, but are still nice to look at, well lit and have amusing little Easter eggs in them.
The soundtrack is one of the only weak things about the game, I feel. None of the new stage / character themes stood out at all and just blended into one, uninteresting block of sound, the only time I took notice is when a remix of one of the classic themes kicked in. Sound effects are fine, and you get to pick between English and Japanese voice work, in some modes you can even do the now-classic individual voice language for each character thing, which is handy when English Ryu or M. Bison just sounds weird, but American Ken and Guile makes perfect sense.
Hey, look up there! …. Ha! Made them look.
First things first, and as I mentioned once already, Street Fighter V is set in between Street Fighter IV and III, so yeah… III is still the later entry in the series of games. Ignoring all the playable prologues, the main jist of the story (titled “Darkness Falls”) is that a now grey-haired M. Bison and his Shadaloo conspirators (including new member F.A.N.G.) plan to increase Bison’s Psycho Power by spreading fear and despair by using large satellites called “Black Moons” and have them destroy cities and such. It’s… loose, to say the least. Included in the overall arc are sub-stories involving how and why Charlie was resurrected from the dead as a half-Frankenstein’s Monster man, Rashid looking for his old friend, and Ryu still struggling with the Satsui no Hado, a dark and corrupting power that lead Akuma down the path of darkness.
All the original 16 characters have storylines, and the six characters from “Season 1” are also present. It ends with Ryu finding the state of nothingness that allows him to create a good counter-energy to the Satsui and eventually help in destroying Bison and Shadaloo once and for all (both of which were mentioned as happening before Street Fighter III, so even though the numbering is all wrong, it does make sense to fill the gap). The actual mode is cut-scenes and single-round fights, as you’d imagine, and they’re incredibly easy or extremely difficult if it’s Bison you’re facing. At least until I realised that the Bison A.I. kept fooling for a simple jumping heavy kick, sweeping heavy kick combination…
It’s worth noting that with the Arcade Edition the story mode no long nets you any Fight Money to buy new characters / stages with, and with no Trophy for doing it either, some will find little reason to sit through it.
“POWAH TO ZE ARSE!”
As I mentioned, ignoring the former DLC you get with the game (note that you get a code to download the Season 1 and 2 characters, they’re not on the disc to begin with) there is a Season 3 which features Sagat and Blanka from SFII, Sakura and Cody from Alpha (well, Cody was from Final Fight originally, but you know what I mean…) and two new characters in Falke, a German lady who is part of a group Ed is building sometime after the main storyline, and the man only known as “G”, who… wears a top hat and points like the old Uncle Sam poster, and talks about being President of the Earth… When you activate his super with Japanese voice acting it sounds like he shouts “POWAH TO ZE ARSE!” rather than Earth, it’s hilarious! Just a little tip.
Wow, this camera shot shows between Cammy’s legs! I’m sure that was an accident on the animator’s part…
Street Fighter V is an extremely polished fighter, it feels really responsive and the moves feel like they hit with proper force. Add on top of that groundwork the Arcade Edition’s bunch of modes, characters and a decent story mode and you have a really enjoyable complete package. I may not have the skills or the want to take it online, but even as a casual fighting game fan I found hours and hours of content. Highly recommended, unless you don’t like 1 on 1 fighters, but if that’s the case… well, yeah. Obviously not for you… Goes without saying really… Anyway, good game!