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Street Fighter 5 review: pros and cons

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Capcom’s Street Fighter series, the inventor of the fighting game genre, has hosted near-perfect games with iconic characters simply punching one another continuously. Street Fighter 5, however, holds up differently than any other installment of the series, for better or worse.

“So is this a game review?” Yeah, but not exactly. Street Fighter V has been making a lot of changes recently and is still in the process of implementing these changes. This is simply a review of what has come out so far in a massive project with no signs of stopping. Welcome to a review about Capcom and their obsession with Downloadable content, or DLC for short.

DLC is not necessarily good or bad, just like everything else in the world. However, Capcom’s prior use of DLC has made them infamous in several video game communities, especially during the PS3-era. All of Street Fighter x Tekken‘s characters were on the disk from the very beginning, yet half of the characters were kept locked away until months later where they were made unlockable through a $20 DLC package. Asura’s Wrath had interesting DLC crossovers with Street Fighter‘s Akuma and Ryu for cheap, yet the actual, canonical ending of the game was only unlockable through a DLC released, again, months later.

Finally, the entirety of Super Street Fighter 4 had a combined DLC with costumes and characters that rivaled the price of each game’s release, meanwhile, Capcom was planning to release all DLC later for the same price as the first game. Oh, but don’t worry, this didn’t do this once, but twice (releasing Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition in 2012 and Ultra Street Fighter IV in 2014, tons of DLC released in-between).

This intentional delay of releasing what the consumer wants has resulted in a bad habit that Capcom cannot seem to break. The main problem lies not in the DLC, but in the reliance of DLC and content itself. For some time, Capcom has learned from its mistakes of the past: not including future characters on-disk and having in-game money to unlock each character, making pay-to-play an option and not a downright requirement.

In fact, Capcom seems to be using DLC as a hype incentive, giving players what they’ve always dreamed of, such as the return of much-desired Alex and Rainbow Mika.

The time period from the end of season 1 to the beginning of season 2, in fact, was incredible. The release previously mentioned fan favorites as well as Urien, Juri, Ibuki, Balrog, and Guile grabbed the interest of all Street Fighter fans. The recently released stages rivaled the style of the released costumes, the music and beauty of the beach, plane, and Christmas stages are all memorable and unique. The reveal of Akuma psyched fans as well (as it always does, just look at Tekken 7; it’s not even the same franchise and people screamed over it).

This being said, season 1 was defined by the fact that story mode was released containing all of the characters at the time, a story that was just a pile of hot garbage. Showing a true waste of resources and time, Street Fighter has officially forgotten what makes a story interesting in the first place. As compared to the interesting endings in Street Fighter 3‘s arcade mode, the story mode for 5 has nothing going for it, not even characterisation.

Speaking of arcade mode, that’s never been released and doesn’t seem to be planned, leaving players with nothing to do unless they pay for a Playstation Plus equivalent. What has been planned and released after Akuma would be Ed and Kolin, two characters from the story. The problem with the release of these characters is that, at least in Kolin’s case, there’s little to no hype behind them. It defeats the redeemable quality of the reasons behind DLC besides patch notes, debuffs, and other game changing/breaking crap.

To be quite honest, Street Fighter V carries on the Street Fighter legacy, yet it doesn’t expand upon it. From the graphics to the playstyle, it all stays within the guidelines set by Street Fighter IV. It’s all very similar, and while things should not be changed entirely in any faithful sequel, more diversity would be nice, even if it means implementing the same changes SF4 did; more than one Ultra move for each character.

Street Fighter is a massive, historical series, yet the heavy reliance on DLC and lack of content in comparison to other games leaves the most recent entry to the series comparatively dull compared to the implementation of its predecessors.

Sean Fahey