Street Fighter 6 Review | What a Knock Out

Street Fighter 6 breaks down the barriers that have deterred newcomers from fighting games without compromising on depth and complexity.

Street Fighter 6 rises from the ashes of its predecessor, revitalizing the legendary fighting franchise with a much-needed punch of innovation. After the underwhelming stumble that was Street Fighter 5, fans were cautiously hopeful for a revival that would reignite the series. Street Fighter 6 not only rectifies the missteps of its predecessor but also triumphantly unleashes a tidal wave of content that really brings players into the world of Street Fighter like never before. Bringing in more than just a new coat of paint, 6 is what a Street Fighter game should be.

Whether you want to just kick back and have a few rounds against a CPU opponent or bash it out with other real players, both Arcade and Battle Hub modes feature extensive features to play around with. But, if you want to quite literally take it to the streets and experience what it’s like to truly be a street fighter, the surprisingly fantastic World Tour is here for you to sink in dozens of hours into. Street Fighter 6 is more than just a modern 2D fighting game. It’s Capcom’s resounding response to the barren wasteland that was the launch content of Street Fighter 5. The sixth mainline entry into the iconic fighting game franchise is alive and kicking and it is not going down without a darn good fight. 

A new challenger enters

Gone are the days of feeling like an overwhelmed novice in the world of fighting games, as Street Fighter 6 paves the way for newcomers with open arms. The game’s accessibility features are fantastic, gracefully guiding players through the fundamentals while seamlessly integrating them into the unique content features. 

There’s a comprehensive tutorial system that holds your hand without ever feeling condescending. From basic movement and attacks to more advanced techniques, each lesson is presented in a clear and concise manner, building upon previous knowledge at a pace that suits your learning style. With interactive exercises and practical challenges, Street Fighter 6 transforms the daunting process of acquiring mechanical skills into an enjoyable journey. This meticulous attention to new players’ needs creates a welcoming environment that encourages growth and mastery, making it the perfect entry point for anyone curious about the genre.

Beyond the tutorial, Street Fighter 6 continues to prioritize accessibility through its intuitive control options. The game supports a variety of input methods, catering to players of all preferences and abilities. Whether you’re a seasoned arcade stick aficionado, a controller enthusiast, or even someone who prefers using simplified input shortcuts, the game accommodates your playstyle effortlessly. This versatility allows players to focus on the core experience of strategic combat, rather than struggling with complicated inputs or clunky controls.

Fights are fast, challenging, and chaotic, and yet, they’re also very clear and telegraphed. You know when you have an opening, you’ll know where you messed up, and you’ll know what moves your opponents are making. This is because Street Fighter 6 takes the extra steps to make sure that the player experience is as simple or as in-depth as you want it to be. This comes in the form of the 2 main control options you can use.

The first is Classic Controls. As you might have expected, this is the usual control style veterans or existing players of the franchise are used to. It has that signature loose but very responsive feel that Street Fighter has always been good at. The only restriction this control option has is in your individual ability and creativity. Classic controls give you a sense of freedom and expression to experiment and create your own combos to chain together. 

The second is Modern Controls. The simplest way you can look at it is that it’s a bit like an assisted mode that works really well for introducing players to certain combos. Special attacks are now directional single-output-based outputs. There’s also a dedicated assist button where you can hold down for a preset combo. Each of the characters in the 18-man roster has their own specific combos and special moves. What I loved about this option is that it enabled me to get more used to characters I don’t usually pick in previous Street Fighter games. With Modern Controls, I feel like I’m able to use any character.

Getting a good grasp on each character is all the more important with the brand-new drive system. This is indicated by the smaller bar that’s located underneath your health. This enables you to perform drive parry, impact, rushes, and overdrives. Good use of the drive system can either allow you to disregard incoming damage or dish out massive amounts of pain to the enemy. Overdrive in particular is special since it enhances special moves to make them extremely powerful (and cool to look at). Managing how you use your drive is key since if it runs out, your character will be burnt out. This can cause you to get easily stunned. In a fighting game, a split second of a mistake can cause catastrophic domino effects. What the drive system does is add another layer of decision-making that raises the stakes. 

Street Fighter 6 breaks down the barriers that have historically deterred newcomers from the fighting game genre. With its meticulous tutorial system and flexible control options, the game proves that anyone, regardless of their prior experience, can find enjoyment and success. Capcom has redefined what it means to be beginner-friendly without compromising the depth and complexity that longtime fans crave, solidifying Street Fighter 6 as a true champion in the fighting game landscape.

Take it to the streets

World Tour is Street Fighter 6’s story-driven open-world career mode. When I first heard about this, I thought it was just going to be some tacked-on feature just so Capcom can say that Street Fighter 6 has some single-player features. Story modes in fighting games aren’t usually the main hook of the package for me unless you’re made by NetheRealm Studios. Street Fighter 6 is about to break that mold. 

You first start with creating your own fighter with the fairly extensive character customization system. Yes, you can make either the best-looking fighter or the most ungodly abominations you can think of and see them being featured in story cutscenes. It’s great and it bodes well leading into the experience the mode is about to give you. 

World Tour initially places you into Luke’s gym where he’ll be showing you the basics of what to expect. It won’t be long until you’re released onto the open world where you’ll be exploring to meet different prominent personalities from the Street Fighter franchise as they take you under their wing and learn their fighting styles and special attacks. I absolutely love how you can mix and match different special abilities of different people. You’ll have a lot of fun with this one I promise. 

Immersing yourself in the vibrant world of Street Fighter 6 is an absolute delight, as it offers a unique opportunity to connect with your beloved characters like never before. Not only can you give them gifts, but you can also engage in text conversations with them. Through these interactions, you gain valuable insights into the characters’ journeys and witness their growth and evolution, taking a glimpse into their lives and the impact of their experiences. Each character embarks on their own mini-arc, offering a narrative experience that adds an extra layer of depth and appreciation to the game.

Ultimately, it is still your character’s story. While interactions with the well-known Street Fighter icons are fun to have, I still felt like their presence could’ve been a much more active one. They’re mostly relegated to the areas you find them in and nothing else. 

But of course, what is literally the biggest part of the World Tour mode is the open world. It’s a massive space that’s filled with so much personality and charm as you’d expect from Capcom. You can challenge nearly any random pedestrian to a 1 on 1 fight which will then instantly transition the space into a 2D fighting arena. You can shop for clothes that will change your stats, eat food that will either heal you or give you active buffs and also fight through thugs and different factions scattered around the streets. You really have to suspend any sense of disbelief with the fact that nearly every other citizen knows how to kung fu and is just so willing to fight a random stranger that comes up to them. 

Do you see a walking businessman that’s minding his own business? Square up. There’s a mime performing on the street? Mess him up. I even got curious and thought to myself what if they allow you to challenge the street vendor that sells you pizzas for health? Sure enough, they do. I bought a pizza, healed up, and proceeded to beat the sh*t out of the vendor. Moments later, he’s just as happy to sell me more food. Absolutely amazing. 

The environments aren’t exactly the best-looking in the industry but the visuals of Street Fighter 6 in general have a nice blend of realism and the stylized look the franchise has always had. I didn’t really like Street Fighter 5’s clay-like aesthetic which resulted in a lot of goofy-looking character models and faces. Capcom found a nice balance in Street Fighter 6 which makes the open world look vibrant, exciting, and fun to explore. 

There’s also a leveling system where you can gain skill points to progress through a skill tree. There’s a nice pace to the progression which incentivizes you to keep challenging people along the streets, even the ones that are at a higher level than you. While you’re still under-leveled, street thugs will just come up to you and force you into a fight. Get to a high enough level and they will visibly shake in fear if you go near any of them. It’s hilarious but at the same time, a great way for the world to dynamically change as you get better. 

World Tour not only excels in its core open-world experience but also shines in its side content, showcasing Capcom’s creativity for delivering enjoyable extras. At a surface view, they’re just harmless entertaining mini-games like basketball and pizza making. But if you lok closely, there’s a clever incorporation of control inputs that teach specific moves or techniques such as parrying. Nearly every aspect of the side content is thoughtfully designed, seamlessly blending fun and skill-building. While some might dismiss these activities as mere filler, it is truly impressive how well-crafted and diverse they are. 

Whether you’re exploring new areas, indulging in shopping sprees, partaking in thrilling mini-games, or, of course, engaging in intense fights, Street Fighter 6 offers an expansive and fantastic time to be had.

I really didn’t expect to like World Tour the way I have. This is where the majority of my time in Street Fighter 6 was spent. It reminds me of a bunch of other open-world games such as Sleeping Dogs and Yakuza. There’s just so much here for you to further fall in love with the Street Fighter universe. This alone makes the entire package worth getting. 

You against the world

My time in the online features of Street Fighter 6 was a little short-lived mostly due to how much people from the other side of the world keep on beating me. On the first day of release, I did notice that there was a bit of lag in online matches but not to the point that it was aggressive rubber banding. It was mostly causing slightly delayed inputs. 

What I like best about the online mode is the Battle Hub. This is a public social space where you can run around with your avatar and interact with others as well. You can purchase cosmetics, challenge people in the in-game arcade machines for a 1 on 1 with a chosen fighter or even go to the middle and fight other avatars with your own avatar. It’s a lot of fun to burn a couple of hours in and see just how skilled you are against other real players. Or if you’re anything like me, get easily humbled and reminded that I can’t always be an expert in every game I play. 

Final Verdict – 9/10

Street Fighter 6 is one of the most approachable fighting games you can find on the market. It has fantastic visuals, really well-thought-out teaching tools, an excellent single-player career mode, and engaging online social mechanics. 

At launch, there are 18 characters in the roster and 15 stunning stages to choose from. For sure, there are more to come in the coming months. We all know just how infamous Capcom is for re-releasing Street Fighter games in the form of special, ultra, mega, etc. editions. That’s something to watch out for and be careful of. However, the launch of Street Fighter 6 is already so rich in content that I hope Capcom will just stick to it and continue giving it updates for years to come. 

This is a great fighting game but more importantly, this is an amazing and worthwhile entry into the Street Fighter franchise. 

This review was made via a PS5 game code provided by the publisher.