Street Fighter 6: The Best Entry in the Legendary Fighting Series
Improvements to the Combat System
Even though Street Fighter 6 has only been on the market for a few short months since its release on June 2, 2023, Capcom’s latest entry in its legendary one-on-one fighting series feels a lot more mature than that, having already bloomed into arguably the best entry in the nearly four decade long franchise. Of course if you’re Capcom you don’t just click your fingers and then a genre effort that has the calibre of Street Fighter 6 appears, instead you have to put a tremendous amount of effort into tuning the fundamentals of one of the best fighting series on the planet, alongside implementing a wealth of meaningful improvements to boot.
If It Ain’t Broke, Continue To Improve It
At its core, Street Fighter 6 continues to hone the 2.5D combat engine that has served the series since Street Fighter IV released all the way back in July 2008 and developer Capcom have achieved this through the implementation of the new Drive Gauge system and by affecting the return of the super combos that were last seen in the Street Fighter Alpha series.
In terms of the Drive Gauge, this is perhaps the most significant of all of the changes to the erstwhile series formula that Street Fighter 6 brings to the table. Not only is the gauge able to be tailored to a number of different mechanics, including the likes of EX moves, Parries and more, but so too does it also have three different control schemes to accommodate veteran and complete newbies alike, with less complicated control inputs for the latter proving to be especially welcome.
Naturally, the return of the super combos from the Street Fighter Alpha is also welcome too, except in Street Fighter 6 the super combo system finds itself bolstered yet further still by the Critical Art system. In practice, this means that if a player finds themselves with little health remaining, unleashing a Level 3 super move will trigger a Critical Art, which not only provides an extended in-battle cinematic, but which also adds additional damage on top.
In essence while both systems provide additional depth to the design bedrock of a combat model that has maintained the series for years, much of the core combat system remains intact, with Street Fighter 6 providing almost limitless scope for mastery, while also being sufficiently accommodating enough in the way of accessibility so that newcomers need not be intimidated by the game. Simply put, Street Fighter 6’s combat provides some of the most pitch-perfect, ultra-responsive and satisfying digital fisticuffs you can have in 2023. And with a continuing slew of QoL and balancing updates, it’s only going to get even better still in the near future, so buckle up.
A New Immersive Single-Player Mode
For the longest time, the single-player aspects of Street Fighter games in the past have been fairly unambitious offerings. Often including a mixture of static exhibition matches against a CPU opponent, or a linear journey through a selection of opponents with the reward being an ending cutscene which corresponds to your character of choice, it’s fair to say that the Street Fighter franchise has not traditionally set the single-player side of things on fire up until now.
With Street Fighter 6 Capcom have upped the ante for fans of solo scraps significantly, thanks in no small part to the new World Tour mode which sets a new standard for single-player modes in all fighting games going forward.
Starting with the creation of a fully customisable unique fighter, World Tour has players adventuring through a fully three-dimensional world as they explore locations from other Capcom fighting titles (such as Final Fight’s Metro City, for example), in addition to Nayshall, a fictional Asian nation designed for the game. Certainly boasting something in common with the roaming real-time violence of the earlier Yakuza games, Street Fighter 6’s World Tour mode not only allows players to beat up different enemies, but also level their fighter, engage in dialogue with other combatants and even encounter some of the major characters from the series proper.
It’s a great mode that not only provides players with a surprisingly chunky action adventure experience, while also channelling the superb combat system of Street Fighter 6 itself, but so too does it let players immerse themselves in the lore and characters of the series like never before, finally giving the fighters of Capcom’s most famous export more exposure than just a couple of lines of dialogue and an ending cutscene.
Of course beyond the new World Tour mode, Street Fighter 6 also boasts all of the single-player trimmings one would normally expect from a Street Fighter title as well, with the Proving Ground mode encompassing all of the exhibition, arcade and linear story modes that have been staples in the series so far.
A Growing Roster Of Compelling Combatants
Though Street Fighter 6 brings back such reliable cornerstone fighters as Ryu, Ken, E-Honda, Chun-Li and more, so too has Street Fighter 6 brought a veritable raft of fresh faces to the proceedings in order to establish a generation of new iconic combatants. From the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it attacks of street ninja Kimberly, who herself is a student under Guy from the Final Fight games, to Chinese street defender Jamie, who mixes up traditional Chinese Kung-Fu with street dancing, Street Fighter 6’s roster is as varied as it ever has been.
In terms of the DLC fighters that are slowly being drip-fed to players, the most fresh of these is arguably A.K.I, an eccentric understudy of F.A.N.G (a former Shadaloo baddie), who employs a balletic fighting style together with razor sharp nails and deadly poison attacks.
Beyond A.K.I, Capcom has significant plans for expanding Street Fighter 6’s burgeoning roster too when it comes to future DLC offerings. From returning fighter Rashid to the upcoming Ed – a fighter that combines boxing with M. Bison Psycho Power attacks – and eventually the return of fan-favourite Akuma, the roster of Street Fighter 6 is going to evolve over the months and years to come.
Evolved Online Multiplayer
With the ascension of the Street Fighter franchise to the top of the eSports throne, it should probably come as little surprise that Capcom is absolutely not resting on its laurels when it comes to Street Fighter 6’s online multiplayer credentials.
Not only can players partake in the usual ranked and casual matches, but through the Battle Hub can now leverage customised avatars and take part in limited time events and – especially brilliantly – can even play emulated classic arcade titles too. Throw in a real-time commentary feature with play-by-play and color commentary types and an absolutely vibrant tournament scene, Street Fighter 6 shows Capcom’s premium fighting franchise at the very peak of its brilliance.
With more than two million copies sold so far and a seemingly never-ending stream of constant QoL improvements, balancing changes and new arenas and fresh fighters to boot, quite simply there is no better time to get into Street Fighter 6 than right now.
Street Fighter 6 is available to purchase on PS4 and PS5.