The past few years of Street Fighter can best be described with one word: disappointment. Street Fighter 5 never fully recovered from its disastrous launch; even after so many updates, it never won back the casual audience. In its mediocrity, Street Fighter more or less faded while other fighting games, like Tekken and Guilty Gear, stepped into the spotlight.
But the winds are changing. Street Fighter 5 is finally over. Now, Capcom is showing off the next entry in the iconic fighting game series: SF6.
And it. Looks. Amazing!
From what we’ve seen thus far, it’s clear that Capcom wants to address every single issue SF5 had in SF6. It was a mess with an artstyle that didn’t work and core gameplay features that focused too hard on the competitive E-sports scene rather than the casual players. SF5 was a stripped-down, overly-simplified version of the Street Fighters that came before it.
SF6 looks to be taking all the right steps in the right directions. It oozes style out of every pore, with its vibrant use of color and lighting in gameplay. When combined with the urban hip-hop style soundtrack, you get a game that feels… well, like a street fight. It’s like a more modern, updated version of the style Street Fighter 3 went with. It’s a far more interesting style than the cartoony action figure look of 5.
The gameplay looks to have plenty more depth than 5, as well. You’ve got quick-dashes, parries, extra powerful attacks, and more, all powered by the new Drive gauge system. Now it isn’t just about good fundamentals and building up your Super meter. You’ve got to carefully balance your Drive gauge, lest you use it all up and leave yourself weakened and vulnerable.
There are even gameplay modes built entirely for casual players! There’s a mode where Megaman enemies fill the screen as a hazard! You can fight in the middle of a bull stampede where the bulls will actually hit you! You can even change the HP system to vary up a more regular battle! These party modes may seem silly, but they’re important; they open the doors to a casual audience, to people who may not want to learn difficult combos or the every in and out of the character they play.
Whether these modes will be any actual fun is yet to be seen. The game is still a long way from release, after all. But the simple fact that they’re there at all gives me hope. It shows that Street Fighter is no longer focusing purely on the E-sports scene and is now going back to what’s most important: making a fun video game.
I sincerely hope that Street Fighter 6 succeeds. The series desperately needs a renaissance to help return it to its former glory. Hopefully, it will help wash away the bitter taste 5 left most of us with.
And if it doesn’t… oh well. I’ll just go back to playing 3rd Strike.
I’m probably gonna do that either way, if I’m being honest.