A household name in the fighting game community, the World Warriors of Street Fighter are back once again with the release of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition. Is the third time a charm for Capcom’s flagship fighter, or is this the third strike for the series?
Street Fighter V: Champion Edition Review
The 2016 release of Street Fighter V was somewhat underdeveloped, with only 16 fighters and a handful of modes at launch. However, these past four years have brought forth a cornucopia of content, with Street Fighter V: Champion Edition packing 40 fighters, 34 stages, and more than 200 costumes.
Those who have been flinging hadoukens since the heydays of Street Fighter II will know the basics here. Mainstays Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li are joined by characters from the series’ rich history, along with a number of fresh faces. Since its original launch, the addition of newcomers Menat, Abigail, Zeku, G, Lucia, and others have been a breath of fresh air, and the inclusion of Street Fighter IV’s Seth in the Champion Edition is a welcome sight. Some may be thrown for a loop with some of the move alterations done with the existing cast, but it admittedly varies things up.
The charge and quarter-circle moves that put the series on the map make their return in Champion Edition, but Street Fighter V differentiates itself with its V-Skills, V-Triggers, and V-Reversals. Unique to each character, the two different V-Skills each character has provides some variety to each moveset. The choice of two V-Triggers also provides buffs and trump cards when the going gets tough. Finally, the V-Reversal serves as a counter akin to Street Fighter Alpha’s Alpha Counter.
The engine powering Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is a sound one, but the game suffers greatly with its lack of polish and attention-to-detail. Load times run upwards of 10 seconds for a single bout, select screens hang, subtitles don’t match with what characters are saying, select demonstrations are outdated compared to the patched version of the game (the game warns you as much) and background characters suffer from a low framerate (despite us reviewing it on a PlayStation 4 Pro). It makes the whole package feel cheap, and the fact that this title has seen multiple revisions makes this inexcusable.
These faults also extend to its netcode, a cardinal sin when it comes to fighters. We used a wired connection with fast cable Internet, yet battles were borderline unplayable with choppy movements, teleporting characters, and a long time to connect. Though bouts come in Battle Lounge, Casual, and Ranked varieties, those hoping to earn League Points in the case of the latter will be at the mercy of this netcode. Previous Street Fighter entries and even the FightCade system have got this down to a science, so seeing this entry struggle with the fundamentals is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, despite featuring four years of content, there is still additional content that is locked behind paid DLC. Browsing to the stage select has four stages that cannot be played without a trip to the PlayStation Store. At $9.99 a pop, it comes across in poor taste.
There is also the problem of its Sponsored Content, which runs ads before every fight. This can be turned off, mind you, but being told to purchase an edition of the game that was already purchased shows a lack of personalization and targeting to its audience, while also coming across as excessive.
It’s a shame too, as those that can stomach these faults can find a lot to keep themselves occupied. An Arcade Mode with multiple routes, a Survival Mode with items and buffs, a robust Story Mode, Trials for each character, Extra Battles with rewards, and more await all those looking to test their mettle.
Despite having four years of updates behind it, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition is far from the definitive version of the game. Though the core fighting engine powering this title is sound, its poor netcode and lack of polish stick out like a sore thumb.
This review of Street Fighter V: Champion Edition was done on the PlayStation 4. The game was purchased digitally.
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