Upon its release it became apparent very quickly that everyone who threw done for $59.99 for Street Fighter V paid their entry fee into the public access beta testing, so I decided to wait until Capcom released their first major update before reviewing the game. The game, while in a lot of ways is very well done does not feel like a finished product.
To start off, I will discuss the positives of this game before getting into all the areas that it failed to deliver on. The initial 16 character roster is a well balanced mix of old favorites and new fighters. None of these characters feel to be over or under powered, and while each has their own unique fighting style, no style makes any character feel utterly useless.
The soundtrack is the same high quality we have come to expect from Street Fighter games which features some cool remixes of classic character themes. The graphics and design are stylistically similar to Street Fighter IV but obviously improved for the current generation of gaming machines.
The controls are smooth, the V Trigger system is intuitive, and the online matches run fairly smooth, provided the network is not having any issues. Basically, if you are a fan of the franchise, this has the potential to be the best Street Fighter since my favorite, Street Fighter II.
The problem with this game is after you purchase it you are aware of the potential that is here if it wasn’t rushed onto the shelves. There is no arcade mode, the story mode is ridiculously short and unsatisfying, and they had a non functioning menu button for Challenge Mode, which was added in the first update roughly a month and a half after its release.
Single player options for this game are generally lacking. Without the arcade mode, the options are Survival and Story mode. Story consists of one round fights, one character has four fights and the rest have either two or three. The stories feel like an intro an actual story. There is rumor that in the June update this will be fleshed out, but if it was going to take until June to release a proper story mode perhaps releasing this gamer later would have been better.
Survival has four difficulty levels, each level has a different amount of fights which the tiers are 10, 30, 50, 100. Most of these fights are easy enough you can win blindfolded with your thumbs chopped off up until the final two or three matches. With the exception of the easy tier, the difficulty spikes exponentially in the these final matches. As this is survival, there are no checkpoints or continues so trying to complete survival on medium or higher difficulty quickly becomes tedious and frustrating.
If the sole purpose of this game is play against people online, get the game now and you’ll be set since the online fights are the only part that really felt complete. One of the biggest things I was excited about with this game was the claim that unlike past Street Fighters which seemed to have an upgraded edition come out every year, this one promised to be able to purchase all additional characters with your choice of either real money or in game currency earned by playing the game.
Theoretically, this is possible. In actuality, maybe. Each new costume for a character costs 40,000, and a new character costs 100,000. The season pass, which includes six additional characters, will set you back $29.99. You gain Fight Money (FM) by completing Story and Survival modes, the catch is you can only gain money once per character per difficulty level. With the Challenge mode included in the update, you also gain FM by completing challenges and watching the tutorial videos, again this is a one time deal. FM can be earned by completing ranked online matches, but the result is miniscule if you win and even less if you lose.
Prior to the update, I completed everyone’s story mode, everyone’s survival on easy, one survival on medium, plus competing in a lot of online matches and even won a few. My FM account was around 266,000, so out of the six projected characters I could buy two of them and one new outfit. Capcom currently is offering a free trial for Alex and people who have been playing were given Ryu and Chun Li’s story costumes for free, which is a 80,000 FM value. Earning additional FM on the free trial for Alex helps, and Capcom does not really owe us anything so the new costumes were a nice gesture from Capcom.
The problem is the single player experience is still lacking. If you only want this for online matches or playing against friends on the couch, if you like fighting games I can almost guarantee this game is a worthwhile purchase. If you want a good single player experience, wait for a few updates or a price drop. My overall score for this review is a composite. As far as a fighting game to only play with friends online or offline, this is a solid 4.5. Single player mode, I would put at 2.5.