Street Fighter 6 Review
Street Fighter 6 is the latest mainline entry in the long-running series from Capcom. Coming from a relatively lackluster 5th entry back in 2016, the company took its time, and with all its learnings over the years, we now have a title that has improved by leaps and bounds.
Just getting it out of the way – Street Fighter 6 looks absolutely amazing. Its vibrant theme and graffiti-laden artwork do wonders for how matches play out, and with the inclusion of rollback netcode, online matches are smoother than ever.
That said, did Capcom knock it out of the park with Street Fighter 6 to claim the title of best fighting game of 2023?
Street Fighter 6 has the basics down pat, but that doesn’t stop it from introducing new features that really elevate the experience for fans and newcomers. Mainly, the game introduces the new Drive system, giving players six refillable bars that can be used for various means.
For starters, here are some of the ways that the Drive System can be used:
- Drive Impact: This can be likened to SF4’s focus attack, and is a powerful strike that can absorb an opponent’s attack by using one bar of your Drive Gauge.
- Drive Parry: Doing a Drive Parry to deflect an attack uses up half a bar of your Drive Gauge, but can be extended as long as you have enough on your gauge.
- Drive Rush: This is a quick dash that helps closes the gap between you and your opponent. This
uses up at least one or up to three bars of your Drive Gauge.
- Drive Reversal: You can use up two bars of your Drive Gauge to perform a counter technique
called Drive Reversal which is effectively used to block or hinder an ongoing combo.
- Overdrive: This uses up two bars of your Drive Gauge to power up your character’s special
While the system mainly incorporates many moves of previous installments, the clincher here is that players start out with a full gauge every round, giving players the opportunity to start off strong or go full defense depending on the situation. This tweak is such a game-changer and it really affects the complexion of matches from the opening bell.
Street Fighter 6 also introduces a number of game modes that players can choose to engage with, the biggest of which is World Tour, essentially the single-player mode. In this mode, players can create their own avatar to roam a world where anybody and everybody can be challenged to a fight. Starting off in Metro City, you’ll get the chance to travel to other countries for story progression, along with meeting up with new Street Fighter 6 characters who can be your master and teach you some moves.
In Street Fighter 6 World Tour, players can engage in some mini-games that will net cash, but this mode really serves as onboarding for players before jumping into the highly-competitive online matches against other players. Despite some small issues like having to return to your hideout just to switch the time of day and a draggy middle act that felt like a chore to get done, this is a pretty fun mode to engage in when you’re not sweating it out.
Battle Hub is another mode in Street Fighter 6 that serves as an online multiplayer space for people to gather, fight, interact, and take part in special events. Competing with other players is always a highlight of fighting games in general, and was almost flawless thanks to the rollback netcode, allowing for matches with almost zero hitches whether it be in the North American or Asian server. It takes mere seconds to get back into a match, and with only one disconnection issue during my time with it, the Street Fighter 6 online experience was practically flawless.
Battle Hub also plays host to some playable arcade cabinets that allow players to play games like Super Puzzle Fighter II and much more. Pretty neat!
One more thing Street Fighter 6 does is introduce a control scheme that lets newcomers enjoy the game without spending hours in training mode. Split between Classic, Modern, and Dynamic-type controls, there’s a scheme for everyone, which might be a bit of a controversial decision for some players.
Classic type which uses the original 6-button layout and commands, Modern type which lets you perform special attacks easier but has fewer attack buttons, limiting you to a more simplified four-button control scheme. And lastly, the Dynamic type, which is the simplest control method, gives players the ability to use auto attacks that adjusts to the current situation. This control method is only usable in some parts of the Fighting Ground mode, but not in online battles.
This flexibility really gives players the option to choose whether to make things easier or harder for themselves. It’s nice to be given the choice, and more advanced players will surely still love the full control that the classic scheme provides, but the other control schemes effectively let newcomers become a bit competitive albeit at the cost of a low skill ceiling that can be predictable.
The game also has a real-time commentary system where you can have English and/or Japanese commentators give you a play-by-play commentary or color commentary, making you feel like you are playing in a tournament. Some of these commentators are from the official Capcom Pro Tour, and some are well-known personalities that really add to the flavor and hype of matches, something that cannot be stressed enough.
At launch, Street Fighter 6 plays host to a base roster of 18 characters, 6 of which are new to the series. The spread of these character types is pretty nice, and there’s bound to be a character for everyone. While Cammy and Juri are personal favorites for reasons I won’t need to explain, the new characters are equally as competitive and I can imagine players will be using Manon for a fair amount!
As of this writing, there are four additional fighters scheduled to be released as DLC – A.K.I, Akuma, Ed, and Rashid. Keeping my fingers crossed for Sakura and Dan to return, but I’m also hoping for some cool crossover characters to make the cut. Maybe some Rival Schools and/or Darkstalkers characters?
What we liked:
- A ton of modes and content that all players will enjoy.
- New control schemes allow players of all skill levels to enjoy the game
- Visuals and art style look absolutely stellar
- Rollback netcode implementation is flawless
What we didn’t like:
- World Tour can be a bit dragging at some point
- The appearance of a Battle Pass
Verdict: Buy it!
Overall, Street Fighter 6 is a triumphant return for Capcom. Coming from the lackluster showing of Street Fighter 5, this latest installment ticks all of the right boxes and then some. There are a ton of modes for players to sink hours into, and with the inclusion of rollback netcode, online matches are pure bliss.
While the addition of “easier” control schemes may be a controversial decision, this allows budding world warriors the chance to jump in and quickly be competitive right off the bat. Higher levels of play will want to stick to the classic controls for full access to any and all moves, but it is always nice to have a choice.
If it’s anything like Street Fighter 5, this latest installment will be supported for years to come, adding new characters and tweaks that will further improve the gameplay experience. It’s quite easy to say that Street Fighter 6 definitely blows its predecessor out of the water and is one of the best games, and one of the best fighting games, of the year.
*Street Fighter 6 was reviewed on a PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.