Street Fighter 6 Review - Reclaiming the Title
Image via Capcom

Street Fighter 6 Review – Taking Back the Title

Hitting the streets running.

Street Fighter 6 on PS5

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About halfway through the time I spent with Street Fighter 6 for review, it became apparent I would be playing the game for the foreseeable future.

No matter how many hours I spent fighting others in matchmaking or how well I started to grasp a given character’s move set, it always felt like I had only scratched the surface. There was always a new combo to learn, or a new way to utilize different mechanics to create traps and strategies to deal with each character from the roster. The possibilities are only limited by the player’s imagination, and I know that won’t change even as I sink months and years into it.

Needless to say, Street Fighter 6 is a major comeback for the series, and may end up being the premiere fighting game of this generation.

Screenshot by Twinfinite via Capcom

This largely comes down to how refined the gameplay experience is. The usual suite of attacks, blocks, parries, and special moves are all present and honed to an exceptional degree. What’s more is that they don’t feel as restrictive as they could be in Street Fighter 5. Outside of their range, moves aren’t as limited by priority or by a combo locking players in until it’s been let off. Instead, they’re much more flexible, allowing players to find a string or flow that works best for them so long as they have the right timing.

One can use the standard combos mixed with special attacks to focus entirely on an offensive approach. Or, one can use carefully-timed attacks and blocks, biding their time until an opponent leaves themselves open for a specific combo and cancelling out of a combo string if it proves disadvantageous before it’s been finished.

What puts this over the top, though, is the introduction of the Drive mechanics. Influenced by a Drive Gauge, these features allow one to toss out moves which can allow them to instantly counter, block, and retaliate against attacks from opponents. Properly using these features can quickly sway a battle in one’s favor, but failing to use them – or over-relying on them – can result in penalties like a stun or recovery delay which lead to an otherwise avoidable loss.

One can make use of these mechanics across several different gameplay modes in Street Fighter 6. In terms of general online matchmaking, players can take part in and spectate matches via the Battle Hub; an online space wherein fans can duke it out with each other through interactive arcade cabinets. Choosing one’s character and applying conditions is a breeze, and it’s just as easy to jump in and out of fights after one or a hundred matches with a given player.

Screenshot by Twinfinite via Capcom

If players aren’t prepared for online matches just yet, they can also utilize the game’s Fighting Ground. Through it, they can test out the move set of each character and get a better grasp on each of the game’s new mechanics via Arcade, Practice, Versus, and Special Matches.

Finally, one have the option to dive into the game’s World Tour mode. Serving as a story-focused single player mode, it allows players to craft their own character and guide them toward becoming a legend on par with the core cast of fighters. Moves and techniques can be taken from any of the game’s fighters and combined to create the ideal move set for one’s playstyle, and their appearance can be altered through cosmetics as well as a frighteningly detailed character creation system.

Though this mode isn’t by any means revolutionary in terms of its storytelling, it is commendable in how much freedom it gives the player. I was able to spend hours grinding and experimenting with my own character, creating a Frankenstein out of all my favorite parts of other fighters.

These are all fantastic options for players to choose from, and I spent most of my time immersed in each of them without feeling like any of my time was wasted. The only time this wasn’t the case was when I was first diving into the game. The sheer amount of content on offer was somewhat overwhelming, and some additional guidance on how best to utilize certain mechanics in tandem with each other would have been much appreciated.

Even with this taken into account though, the title is still remarkably well-polished and designed. Whereas Street Fighter 5 took several years to reach a point that felt balanced and like a full package, Street Fighter 6 already feels like a fully souped-up experience. The second-to-second fighting is fast and fluid, and the roster feels balanced in a way that keeps any one character from being definitively better than the rest.

Screenshot by Twinfinite via Capcom

Past that, the game’s visual and sound design round out the package beautifully. From a visual perspective, the game’s sharp graphics mixed with splashes of color is enough to bring even the most nothing fights to life. The character models and stages look like truly realized 3D versions of the series’ aesthetic, while the splashed of color from well-timed attacks and counters ensure players’ eyes won’t be peeled away from the screen until a victor has been crowned.

Sound-wise, Street Fighter 6 is second to none. The sound effects have been honed and perfected in a way that even fighting game novices won’t be able to ignore. The oomph of a fist colliding with a character’s body, and the crash of a body making impact against a wall or the floor, help to sell the weight of attacks perfectly and draw one further into the fracas.

The soundtrack and voice work are just as impressive. The line deliveries for every character are fairly high-quality, and each track is perfectly suited to the heart-pounding contests of strength which make up the majority of the gameplay.

Street Fighter 6 is about as close as the series has been to ideal in a long time. Established fans will find plenty of mechanical depth to sink their teeth into, while newcomers will be greeted with a highly accessible entry flush with memorable characters and a striking style. It’s the epitome of what a fighting game should be, and I can’t wait to see how the series builds off of this return to form.

Street Fighter 6
Street Fighter 6 is about as close as the series has been to ideal in a long time. Established fans will find plenty of mechanical depth to sink their teeth into, while newcomers will be greeted with a highly accessible entry flush with memorable characters and a striking style.
Pros
  • Deceptively deep well of mechanics to use.
  • Great visuals.
  • Surprisingly great single-player mode.
  • Outstanding visuals and sound design.
Cons
  • Somewhat generic story mode.
  • Depth of mechanics can be somewhat overwhelming for newcomers.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, PC.

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Author
Keenan McCall
Keenan has been a nerd from an early age, watching anime and playing games for as long as I can remember. Since obtaining a bachelor's degree in journalism back in 2017, he has written thousands of articles covering gaming, animation, and entertainment topics galore.