Streetfighter, an institution in fighting games, ever present in arcades in some form and having touch damn near every console platform. There has always been something about this party of World Warriors that has hit the mark, the game has consistently offered deep strategy while maintaining its on identity and while others have come and gone the original cast is still as easy to pick up as ever.
Once I had a thing with Streetfigher, actually it was Streetfighter 2 Turbo on the SNES, I’d even wrapped a trip to Florida up as the excuse to buy a copy and import it myself. Every day I would smash through the game with at least 3 of the characters, Ryu, Guile and Chun Li being the obvious favourites. While everybody was raving about the new and sexy Virtual Fighters, Tekkens or even Dead or Alive this game stuck to its familiar 2d presentation and never over-complicated. The Streetfighter brand was and is something that has remained firmly in the minds of its fans new or old.
It’s 2016 and Streetfigther V has arrived, lifting the console generation to an always online instance of the game that encourages competitive online play. Where Streetfighter was born in the arcades and the true worth of the game came from versus matches, this generation is driving that edge back in. For solo play the game doesn’t offer much aside from training, short 3-bout character arcs and a survival mode where you need to last a fixed sequence of matches to earn bonus items like alternate costumes.
At the face of it these options could be a bit ho-hum, but they will be added to over time with DLC and let’s hope they fix the hand drawn art that acts as an intro to the character fights. Mainly because it is so out of keeping with the rest of the game.
Switch on the always open Battle Mode and the game will play matchmaker for you while you carry on with some survival action, it’s always a pleasure to avoid the wait for a connection, however with the game dropping you out of what you are doing it’s easy to lose a game on the rematch when you were a blow or two away from reaching your goal.
That said the online games have all been pretty smooth and responsive, the net code is good, good enough to handle my flaky NAT problems. There is also a pleasure sure to be had turning a match around against some unknown stranger, fists are pumped and match results are joyfully shared. Of course there are plenty of times when you basically get your ass handed to you too, especially being a purist and forgetting the new counters and V-Trigger moves.
Graphically the game is really well crafted, beautiful cel-shaded animations that make the original cast standouts, the newer additions do seem a touch stiff in comparison. Ryu is still the poster boy and still my ‘go to’, where as Chun Li has certainly been doing enough legwork in the gym to have Steven Segal play her in a movie, it would be a tough call on whose thighs are the biggest.
Overall StreetfighterV has a way to go in new updates for the store and DLC, not forgetting the inevitable Season Pass to add more fighters to the roster. However it does exactly what it says on the tin and delivers a fast, engaging and true to its roots playable fighter. While not offering enough to draw the solo only players, the game game will do its best to convince them to go online.
Now I’m off to fight Ken with a thick Yorkshire accent. “Ow do? Ken”.