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  • Hamish Hart

Street Fighter 6: One Season Later

RATING: 9/10

CAPCOM has been at the forefront of fighting-games for over a decade, solidifying themselves as the "poster child" for the genre thanks to their continued desire to innovate on a series that has, unfortunately, been dwindling since 2008's Street Fighter 4. While the fourth instalment brought Street Fighter back into the mainstream, the same cannot be said for Street Fighter V, which received criticism for its disappointing online mode, lacklustre story, and scarce single-player content that failed to keep casuals - and veterans - coming back for one more round. Street Fighter 6 attempts to rectify these mistakes by introducing modes which never fail to boost the player's adrenaline. All of this, packed alongside new, innovative fighting mechanics, combine to make possibly the greatest Street Fighter to date.

Upon loading up the game, players are given the choice of three distinct modes: World Tour, Battle Hub, and Fighting Ground.

World Tour offers those new to Street Fighter the chance to explore Metro City; an open-world setting brimming with personality, unique NPCs, and a wealth of customization options which the player can purchase and swap-out on a whim to adjust their character's fighting stats and abilities. Players are given plenty of tasks to achieve from their teacher and title character, Luke, most notably seeking out the world's most experienced fighters and learning their moves and fighting styles such as Ryu's iconic Hadouken or E. Honda's gravity-defying Flying Headbutt. No matter which character you meet, each come included with fully-fledged cutscenes when first meeting them which highlight their distinct personalities, ranging from secret-operative Cammy shying herself from view on the corner of London's Queen Street, or the legendary Chun-Li teaching children kung-fu in the centre of Metro City's Chinatown. These cutscenes help the player develop a relationship with their master as you continue to learn more about their past and future goals the further your training progresses, shaping the feeling you and your master are transitioning from teacher-and-student, to friend-and-friend.

Part-time jobs and minigames are also available for those wishing to pass the time or gain currency to update their fashion, all of which are addictively fun at their peak, or good enough for a momentary distraction at their worst. A 25-30 hour RPG-like campaign had no right being included in a game like Street Fighter 6, but Capcom went above and beyond for their fanbase, providing an engaging and addictive experience for those uninterested with the online world of fighting games. And even still, those solely wanting a competitive experience will have no problems finding it in the Battle Hub or Fighting Ground.

If you're looking to show your strength, the Battle Hub is the place for you. Here players from across the world can fight in a casual or competitive setting, as well as socialise using their World Tour-created avatars in a mode that has seen numerous collaborations since the game's launch. Whether it be Capcom IPs Mega-Man and Monster Hunter, or worldwide phenomenon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, these partnerships have seen players keep coming back to the Battle Hub to check out what's new in store.

However, this has also created a double-edged discourse amongst the community which has seen many arguments arise due to Capcom's controversial inclusion of a battle pass, as well as the prices for costumes, stages, music and artwork being labelled "too high". While criticism is certainly valid for the prices, particularly Costume 3 pack costing over $100 for those wanting to purchase all of them, its also important to note that prices such as these have become the industry standard. A terrible thing for sure, but not nearly as bad when compared to other multiplayer games such as Apex Legends or League of Legends; it's a lesser of two evils situation Capcom have found themselves in.

Finally, we have Fighting Ground - a landscape where players can hone their skills in a myriad of modes including the classic Arcade, Online, Training and Versus, as well as the introduction of Extreme and Team Battles. The DLC inclusion of returning characters Rashid, Ed, Akuma, and newcomer A.K.I., has seen Fighting Ground flourish as the game's most popular area. But despite its continued popularity, Street Fighter 6's online has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the past season.

Balance issues plagued the game on-launch due to characters such as Luke, Ken and JP being incredibly powerful, causing monotony in ranked and casual matches. However, players were willing to give Capcom the benefit of the doubt as the game was still fresh and the inclusion of DLC 1 was on the horizon. But sadly, Rashid, while a fun inclusion, did very little to shift the shoto-fueled meta of the game. Two months later was A.K.I. - a newcomer whose introduction shocked the community by being a mixed-blessing due to her possessing a uniquely-captivating personality, but lacked the moveset and buttons capable of keeping up with the dominant top-tiers. Next was Ed - a character fans were less than enthusiastic about after making a lacklustre impact in his Street Fighter V debut, but much like A.K.I., Ed made a shock impact through his quick, sharp boxing style and psycho-power specials. Unfortunately for Capcom, his inclusion was severely hampered by the release of Tekken 8 less than a month prior, and with the community having to wait five months for only its third DLC, many had long made the switch. And lastly, we have the fan-favourite veteran Akuma - a character competitive and casuals were eagerly anticipating and fearing due to his infamous history of dominating tournaments and tier lists since his debut in Super Street Fighter II Turbo. And as expected, Akuma is what he had always been: a pressure demon capable of insane damage.

So Season One has officially wrapped up, and as we approach the game's one-year anniversary, what have we learned? Many have criticised the game for its "pandering" and "simplified" gameplay mechanics, but at the end of the day, Street Fighter 6 provides veterans and newcomers with exactly what they want: fun.

A unique, well-designed roster makes sure that each player have a fighter catered to their specific fighting-style (Manon and Lily main right here!). Those wanting an intricate single-player experience are given exactly that in World Tour, and with updates to the world being given with each new DLC character, Metro City will always offer something worth hitting the streets for. The most recent update has introduced an abundant of new features fans have been clamouring for such as character-specific BGM and much-needed balance changes. And if Capcom continues to listen to their fanbase in this regard going into Season Two, Street Fighter 6 will have a long-lasting legacy, and solidify itself as a front-runner to why fighting games have been on the up-turn among casual audiences in recent years.


About Me

Hamish newsheadshot_edited.jpg

Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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