Street Fighter 6 Impressions
Although it originated in 1987, it was the 1991 sequel that changed the landscape of beat ’em ups. While there have been countless re-releases and updated versions over the course of 35 years, there have only been 5 mainline iterations. Due to this, the excitement and expectation for Street Fighter 6 are massive. After SF5’s rocky start to life, will the latest release in the famed franchise manage to learn from its previous miss-steps to land the perfect strike?
Before you enter the Battle hub, you get to create a character. The options for this are surprisingly deep as they allow you to make a unique fighter. You can alter a number of elements to make your character feel part of the roster or construct an abomination that can be hilarious and terrifying.
The Battle Hub itself is a wonderful, interactive way for the community to mingle and compete. Rather than hang at the menu, you can wander through an arena packed with arcade cabinets and enjoy the company of others. To get into a match, you simply sit at a machine occupied by someone else to challenge them. It’s a little annoying that you can’t switch your character at the cab, which means you’ll have to stick with your choice until you leave the machine. In addition to this, you can also take part in tournaments, ranked matches and gimmick fights. The latter often has strange mechanics, such as items that can hinder your opponent and a back-and-forth health bar. Finally, you’ll even encounter some classic Capcom cabs so you can take a break from intense 1v1 battles and hit the streets in Final Fight and many other retro titles.
A Driving Force
Every entry in the series includes distinct features that differentiate it from previous versions. The central aspect of Street Fighter 6 which does that is the Drive System. You start with a full gauge and certain moves will use up portions of it. Larger specials can take up a couple of chunks of your meter whereas smaller ones will only knock off a little. Over time, you will replenish your gauge, adding an additional layer of strategy to fights.
The Drive Impact allows you to strike through your opponent’s attack. Similar to the Focus Attacks in Street Fighter 4, these are flashy and include a unique aesthetic that adds style to battles. Rather than the watercolor brush strokes, SF6 goes for a more contemporary color splash which is vibrant and beautiful. You can also quickly zone in on your opponent with the Drive Rush, perform over-the-top supers, and making a return is the ability to parry! Although its implementation differs from SF3, you are able to parry attacks to open up a lethal counter and feel like an absolute boss in fights.
Capcom has gone out of its way to make this the most accessible game in the series. In addition to the traditional control method, there is a modern control scheme. This allows you to hit specials without complex button combinations but restricts you from being able to do more complex maneuvers. Due to this, anyone can jump on and engage, however, it stops those who use this from being overpowered.
Even though the beta only gives access to the Battle Hub, it’s clear to see the amount of content available. While the full release will include single-player, arcade and local options, the online aspect is also packed with content. You can earn currency from daily and weekly objectives which allow you to purchase items from the shop. I was unable to access the store during my time, however, as long as Capcom avoids locking characters behind this and keeps it focused on aesthetics, then this will give you more reason to complete the missions.
Street Fighter 6 has the potential to be the greatest release in the franchise. The Drive System is incredible and helps to make fights more cinematic and tense. So get ready for the summer of Shoryuken as the game is set to be released in June 2023.
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